Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wisdom vs. Knowledge

I was recently at a conference where one of the speakers said “Learning is more than gathering information”. That statement had a profound effect on me for many reasons. We looked at the difference between knowledge and wisdom and were asked “How many people have you met who have an immense amount of knowledge, are like walking encyclopedias but aren’t very wise? And how many people are very simple and don’t have a wealth of knowledge or information but are very, very wise?”

Take that question and add one of mine. Which person, the knowledgeable or the wise, leaves the biggest impact on you, so you remember the conversation, the context and take those words of wisdom and apply them to your life? My answer is the wise one.

In the days of vast amount of knowledge available at the tip of our fingertips, the world is fast become an even playing field when it comes to gathering knowledge. A great deal of it, through open source is available for no cost. Wisdom however is something that is priceless.

If we listen to all the knowledge that we’re bombarded with, we will close down and start ignoring it. There is way too much information to remember coming at us at the speed of light (thanks to technology). We can’t possibly retain it all. We can however look for guidance from those who have a wealth of wisdom because they see context, relevance and how it impacts us.

Do you consider yourself wise or knowledgeable? Regardless, which would you rather be?

I know many people with post graduate degrees coming out of their ears who can’t find a job. Why? Because they’re scholastically overqualified but don’t have the savvy, the perception and perspectives needed in a fast paced, competitive world. They get lost in their knowledge and get stuck on research but don’t integrate it and use it as needed to move themselves and organizations forward.

When choosing my development team I didn’t look at their degrees as much as experience, impact, awareness factor and openness to grow, learn and create. Knowledge can hold you back in the realm of what was already studied and documented. My team looks at possibility. How they live their lives, their work ethic and open-mindedness got them chosen for my team. I'm seeing the same trends more and more in the corporate world. Who do you think would serve your organization better? Perhaps it’s time to look at a culture change?

Donna Karlin


David said...

Thank you for your insight.

Anonymous said...