In our hyper-connected world, information is abundant and easily accessible. But information alone is not enough to change your life.
Information can provide the blueprint for solving a problem, making a good decision, choosing a better option, overcoming an obstacle, or thinking better.
But you have to actively use that information to make your life better. You have to proactively improve, reinvent, upgrade or change your circumstances for the better.
It’s those experiences and that shape your life. It’s through the process of applying information that you accumulate knowledge and wisdom.
In Ideas and Opinions, Albert Einstein said, “Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it.”
He also said, “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience. You need experience to gain wisdom.”
Scientists are great at gathering knowledge through experience. They don’t just read theories. A great scientist acquires scientific understanding through experience, experiments, tests, questioning and collecting accurate data.
They do something with all knowledge they gather. That’s how they learn and discover genuinely unique things.
“The truth is — knowledge happens when information meets experience, values, contextual understanding about the specific situations, application, intuition and beliefs,” writes Tanmay Vora.
Without practical experience, you won’t be able to know what works and what doesn’t. To become a better writer, you have to write consistently. You can read about better writing from prolific writers.
But that wouldn’t make you a great writer. You have to make time to write, often. Practice builds knowledge that becomes wisdom over time.
What you do is more important than what you know
Experiential knowledge is the most significant and most valuable knowledge you can ever acquire. It’s personal and unique to your circumstances. Through experience, you can gather wisdom that can serve you for life.
“The true method of knowledge is experiment.” William Blake said.
Knowledge and wisdom are not the same, though. You can have lots of knowledge without understanding. Anyone can learn a lot and gather knowledge.
The abundance of knowledge alone cannot make you successful. Knowledge of the best habits, routines, behaviours and tools alone won’t change your life. Apply what you know in your life and witness the difference.
Without the proper use of that knowledge, you won’t become wise or lead a better life. It’s the application of knowledge that leads to wisdom.
“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living. The other helps you make a life.” Sandra Carey said.
There’s excellent knowledge out there. But if you just read about what you want to know, you will probably forget it. Put that knowledge to test. Want to learn a new language? Learn to speak it. And when you are done learning it, teach it to others. It’s also one of the best forms of learning.
Want to become a great salesperson? Start selling using the knowledge you have acquired about selling. The experience you gather whilst selling will make you a wise salesperson.
Reading great books is one of the best ways to gain knowledge. But what you should aim for is the ability to apply that knowledge right.
Reading, making notes, gathering valuable knowledge, asking better questions and doing something with knowledge are all experiences that can make you a better person. Learning to combine the different learning experiences in life makes a huge difference in life.
It’s not enough to know everything about a topic; make it valuable by applying it in your life and career. Don’t pursue knowledge for its own sake. Start with a goal in mind. The experience will make you wise in the end.
By all means, expand your knowledge, but take it a step further. Apply what you learn, gain experience in the process, and you will become wise over time.