Knowledge vs. Wisdom

“Knowledge is something you possess. Wisdom is something you use.” – Sam Obitz

Many people make the mistake of equating knowledge with intelligence. Similarly, people often assume that if you get good grades or attend a prestigious school you must be smart.

I agree that knowledge is a good thing to have, and that if you get good grades or attend a prestigious school you likely will possess a good deal of knowledge. The disconnect comes from the belief that the amount of knowledge you have equates to being intelligent or smart. I look at knowledge as a nice to have and wisdom as a must have.

I have worked with people who are wicked smart and very successful, but do not possess a great depth of knowledge. On the other hand, I have worked with people who possess an enormous amount of knowledge, but are struggling to accomplish much of anything.

“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” -  Brian O’Driscoll

People who use the power of wisdom do not need to have a great deal of knowledge as they can use their wisdom to overcome their lack of knowledge in most situations. People with lots of knowledge do not tend to trust themselves as much as people who use wisdom do, and often get bogged down in meaningless details. People who use their wisdom tend to forge ahead until they figure out what needs to be done.

A guy named Albert Einstein summed it up this way: ” Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Have you ever had a great idea and not done anything with it, only to watch someone else capitalize on it years later? Usually this happens because you don’t feel like you have enough knowledge to act on your idea yet. Often the people who capitalize on ideas are not the most knowledgeable, but rather the wisest.

“To Attain Knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day” – Lao Tzu

This week let’s all put ourselves out there and trust we can figure out things on the fly. Give something you always wanted to do a go and see what happens?


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


Comments are closed.