Knowledge and wisdom are seen by many as the same thing but they are two entirely different things. The dictionary definition will tell you that knowledge is the accumulation of facts and information. The dictionary will also tell you that wisdom is the synthesis of knowledge and experiences into insights. I can end this article by just pointing to the definitions here and telling you that the definitions are clearly different and hence these are different concepts. But, I’m going to explain to you why knowledge is distinctly different from wisdom.
Knowledge is the accumulation of data, it refers to the understanding of something or the awareness of something. This may be about a person, object or thing. It is the data we accumulate about everything around us. We all constantly seek knowledge. We read magazines, watch TV, read articles on the web (such as this one you’re reading now), we read books, we talk to other people and we also observe. These are the mediums through which we acquire knowledge. We all strive to gain knowledge, most of us spend close to a third of our lives to gain that knowledge through the form of education. We are literally in awash in a sea of knowledge. But, having knowledge and knowing what to do with it are two entirely different things. Knowledge alone doesn’t get you anywhere.
Here is where wisdom comes in. Wisdom is the analyzing of the data that you accumulated and also thinking on how to use the data that you just accumulated. Wisdom is the application of knowledge in real day to day life. You can read about driving a car all you want but you can’t drive one unless you sit behind the wheel and take it out for a spin. A lot of us also study on how to do our jobs through our education but when we are thrust out there in the real world we see how things differ, wisdom is what helps you adapt the information that you learned in your classes or other mediums and allows you to implement your learning in real life.
A lot of us have the knowledge but lack the wisdom. Knowledge is easier to acquire than wisdom because wisdom takes effort, error, pain, time and a number of other things. Most of us have the knowledge but we never have the wisdom to turn this information into something that can get us ahead in life. We know that eating processed food or fast food is going to ruin our health but yet we do so. A lot of us hear about a novel investment opportunity but we never act on it and take that next step. A lot of us then just ascertain our failures to “bad luck” when we had the information that could have kept us away from this “bad luck”
Knowledge isn’t your enemy. In-fact knowledge and wisdom are interconnected concepts. You can’t have the necessary wisdom without the knowledge. It’s all about not getting stuck up over acquiring the information. Its about focusing on seeing what to do with the information that you have and seeing what part of that knowledge you acquired is applicable to your life. Wisdom is also about making the right choices. Analyzing all the different information that you have and choosing how you are going to act on the information you have at hand. For example, When, we know that the person we like is going to be celebrating their birthday soon, we tend to create an image on what we could do to make that day special for them and then execute our plan. You getting their birth date is the info, you analyzing that info and executing your plan is the wisdom.
So, how does one get wisdom you ask? Simple, from now, look twice at the information that you accumulate and don’t bog yourself down with trying to gain too much knowledge. Make sure that you act on the pieces of information that are valid for you. For example, if you want to start a business and you read a book on how to start a business and run it. Let’s say you come up with something interesting that might work out really well for you, it could be something you read or something the book inspired you to think of. Now don’t just sit on that finding, go out and execute it. Look at all the people who invested a few dollars in bitcoin and now are sitting on millions. They weren’t lucky, they used the information they gathered and made a conscious decision to take a calculated risk that has paid off well for them.