I did not issue an invitation to the pretty young woman who came to sit across from me. But conventional courtesy required I not ask her to move. We had, after all, had several back and forth private electronic conversations – some of which were a wee bit contentious. Her presence across the table afforded me the opportunity to set the record straight on a number of matters. An opportunity which brought personal satisfaction.
At the heart of the conversation was something that lends itself to this post – the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Every person mentioned was done so with the qualifier that he or she is “intelligent” and “knowledgeable” – although I can hardly believe that this year’s graduates could be considered “knowledgeable”.
After several such pronouncements, I stated what I consider the obvious. That knowledge is not the same as wisdom. In fact, wisdom is the better of the two and is something usually reserved for that period of life which follows tough lessons learned through hardship and struggle. While not always the case, it’s been my personal experience and that of most others I know – that wisdom follows such events as we seek to understand and place some meaning to them!
The British Dictionary defines wisdom as follows: “the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight“. It’s much more an internal process while knowledge most often comes from external sources. When combining all the above; we can arrive at a point in life where our judgments, decisions and behaviors come from an accumulation of all that has gone before us.
“The fear (awe, knowledge) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, and “above all, seek wisdom“. Two Old Testament statements placing wisdom in a very special context about which we are encouraged to partake. Come to the knowledge, experience, understanding, and sense of PAPA and begin the wisdom journey. And while knowledge is important; it is wisdom we are urged to pursue.
Why? And why do I bring it to this post today? What does it have to do with me as a woman in business; especially a micro-business? After all, should I not be acquiring all the knowledge I can about business in general and the business I’m pursuing specifically?
Here’s my thoughts on the questions asked:
- Why and why bring today – Because all too often we stop at acquiring knowledge without putting it into the overall context of our lives. We simply add it to the sum total of what we “know” and at some point, others will recognize our intellect and refer to us as “learned”. As an “expert” in this or that area. And that is of course, what we want – correct?
- What does it have to do with women in business – Everything! If we are a woman in a micro-business; most likely we are doing it with little to no assistance from others. While gaining all the knowledge we can from workshops, webinars, conferences and the like is important; putting same into the overall context of our accumulated life experiences is what will lead to the decisions that can (and may well) underpin the success we desire.
As I write this, I’m reminded of those who dispense knowledge vs those who dispense wisdom! The well-known guru’s mainly share what they’ve learned over the years. In other words, they share their knowledge with us (usually for a pretty penny I might add!).
Then there are those who have gained knowledge and considered it in tandem with their experiences. They’ve come to a level of human understanding and been able to apply some meaning. Such has given them a common sense about life and insight within the framework of their lives in general. We might call them poets, artists, purveyors of wisdom!
The young woman walked away from the table after a handshake and went to apply her charm to others in the room. I thought about our conversation and especially about her emphasis on education or “knowledge” and “intellect”. And mine on “wisdom”.
It occurs to me that both are necessary for life successes – regardless of what it is we are called to do with our lives. It is rare that wisdom will come before knowledge, but then one doesn’t always glean what youngsters “know” after touching a hot stove – even after being warned that it is “hot”! The warning designed to give “knowledge”; the blistered skin designed to provide some wisdom to the warning.
Let me encourage you who are reading this post, to take life in it’s totality. Learn all you can about life and that which you are called to do with yours. But never let it be without an opportunity to put it into context with your life experiences, a level of understanding and meaning, some common sense, and a great deal of acquired insight.
It may seem a matter of which comes first, much as the puzzle of whether it’s a chicken or the egg – but in reality, it’s permitting that which we experience as knowledge to rest securely in our hearts as well as our minds so that at some point, it makes for wise decisions that lead to the wildly successful life we so desire!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://affiliatedwomeninternational.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]
Image Source: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/87310047@N05/8946196432″>”I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and them spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would be really effective.” – Al McGuire</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>