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Knowledge Is Cheap, Wisdom Is Priceless


wisdom-of-the-ages-300x300Cheap knowledge is very rampant and widespread today.

Interestingly, going to school is seldom enough to make knowledge valuable.  In fact, schools, colleges, and universities are where knowledge has become cheapened. While getting an MBA in a prestigious school can help you find a job it doesn’t always equate to higher earnings. Many would-be MBA’s expect a salary after graduation that’s far more than what they can actually earn.

Knowledge has become a commodity. People who once thought their knowledge and experience gave them the competitive advantage are seeing a shift in the value knowledge brings to the market.

The market is ‘being spoon fed knowledge’.  By this I mean that people can find knowledge simply by using Google.  But knowledge can’t be found in a dictionary or on Google it must be learned.

But lots of ‘learning’ nowadays is nothing but repeating what you’re told or even demonstrating a skill you’ve been shown.  In effect, a lot of learning is ‘monkey see, monkey do’, so many continue to keep doing what they see others doing or what they are told to do without learning anything new about what should be done.

Because knowledge is no longer ‘earned’ it is not spoken of with any ‘heart’ or conviction.  It’s often treated like ‘another thing’, ‘another idea’, or what you learned from someone or something online for free.  In short, it’s treated like a triviality in life.  That’s why it has become so cheap.

Knowledge Transformed into Wisdom Is Priceless

Real knowledge’ is revealed when it is transformed into wisdom. It is this kind of knowledge that creates revolutionary changes both personally and professionally.

Knowledge is in abundance. Wisdom is the new rarity in the 21st century and people who embody wisdom will create the innovation that markets need in the 21st century.

We’ve been focusing on “output” – and live in a world that seems more unpredictable and yet we still try to make it measurable.  But we are operating in a world that is incomplete and prone to failure.

For the last century business leaders have managed with an incomplete picture of their “system” and the other “systems” that interact with people, processes, products and services between one system and another.

Focused on measuring the output of those systems leaders failed to recognize the value contained in the other half of the incomplete picture. Such things would be the things that drive the economy of the 21st century, those things would be the inputs to any system or the intangibles.

Wisdom would tell us we should focus on understanding the system – today we refer to as an eco-systems – and it’s not about individuals and output.  Second, we should understand that the intangible side is equally as important as the tangible.  Combining these two dimensions – a deep understanding of the power of the eco-system and a deep understanding of the power of the intangible – is what will lead us to wisdom.  It is not one or the other.  It is both.  This will make new knowledge valuable and wisdom priceless.

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  • EJ Ventura 09/09/2013, 9:56 am

    Knowledge is certainly power. But through wisdom, which is being able to have critical thinking and decide (“wisely”) how to choose the right knowledge/information, discarding the useless/erroneous one, and apply it correctly to the right needs/problem/circumstances, is the sum total of correct knowledge through wisdom.

  • Amit Ramasar 09/04/2013, 9:44 am

    How true! I cannot agree with you more. Besides my education I have been through the school of hard knocks.
    My consulting does not seek to label a problem, like it is done today. I seek to find the inherent cause, and solve those problems to get the “body” right.

  • Mary Adams 09/03/2013, 9:38 am

    Jay – I wholeheartedly agree with you about the importance of wisdom and synthesis.

    Another line of thinking is that knowledge has value when it solves a problem. That’s the definition we use in Intangible Capital. For a business, being wise is probably always a good thing. But being wise and practical–priceless. I would call it “applied wisdom.”