There is an old saying that goes something like “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad”.

A simple, yet profound, reflection on the importance of application as well as knowing.

I see this a lot with the students I work with on their CIM professional marketing studies. Most are working towards their qualification, a piece of paper that demonstrates they have passed a course of study. Very occasionally I meet one who stands out from the crowd. They aren’t only working hard on their studies but they demonstrate evidence they are seeking ways of executing the theory.

You can call this entrepreneurship, you can call this practical. Whatever you call it, this is evidence of a mindset that goes beyond simply knowing and into the practice of using, challenging, and improving.

Just because a theory is published, has existed for many years, been peer-reviewed, and mostly unchallenged, does not mean that it’s correct or couldn’t be improved. Science is the same. To accept science at face value because it ‘is science’ is missing wonderful opportunities for deeper learning, evolution and growth locally and maybe to the benefit of the planet.

In schools we teach children knowledge, but most of this passive information can be found instantly with a quick ‘Hey Siri’ or Google search. Wouldn’t it be better to teach the skills of inquisitivity, innovation, entrepreneurship. Wouldn’t it be better to reward effort and revolution than simply recall of existing knowledge? Where is the growth in that!?

And so in business. Too often we recruit and reward others for demonstrating they have the skills to fit into our organisations, to carry out roles they have already performed, in industry they already know. Why is it that companies like Facebook have a policy of recruiting people and then finding a suitable role for them, rather than recruiting a robot to fill a role they have already performed? It is because they understand that they are fostering future wisdom and not recall of knowledge.

In your life, how often do you wake in the morning, proud that you can manage your way through another day of the same routine, challenges and recall of knowledge, processes and systems? How much do you enjoy the repetitiveness of moving in the same circles, in the same location, to tread water in an attempt to meet the same aims as yesterday?

There could be open doors around the next corner if you are brave enough to look left or right rather than straight ahead. Think about how you could apply the knowledge you already have in new, exciting and innovative ways, with new people in new places for new reasons… this could be your path to wisdom…

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