Ancient Wisdom, Immediate Action by Jim Stovall
One of the favorite claims made by Madison Avenue experts and the advertising industry is to declare something to be “new and improved.” While there are constant improvements in some products and services, not everything that is new is truly improved.
Several thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “Knowledge without action is useless, and action without knowledge is dangerous.” If Confucius were alive and among us today, he would inevitably be baffled by 21st century technology and how we live. While his knowledge would be sorely lacking, his wisdom would remain priceless.
To be in possession of information or to know a fact only has value if you apply it in the real world. If you and I were enjoying dinner together in a restaurant and firefighters rushed in declaring that the building is on fire and we must evacuate, you and I would be in possession of a valuable piece of information. However, if we calmly sat and continued to enjoy our dinner without applying the information we had received in our current situation, we would be no better off than we would be if we had never received the warning at all.
We are the best educated and informed people that have ever inhabited the planet. We have more knowledge at our fingertips via our digital devices than a room full of geniuses would have had collectively a century ago. Success comes when we gain knowledge and apply it in a worthwhile effort.
Through the Stovall Center for Entrepreneurship, I have the privilege of working with many highly intelligent and well-educated students from around the world who are pursuing their college degrees. These students have unprecedented amounts of knowledge but, in most cases, have limited wisdom. Wisdom enables us to avoid mistakes, setbacks, and problems in our lives. Unfortunately, wisdom comes to us, in many cases, by experiencing these same mistakes, setbacks, and problems. As we grow in wisdom and maturity, we are no longer forced to only learn from our own mistakes, but we can learn from the mistakes of others.
The key to gaining knowledge and applying it in the form of wisdom is to seek and obtain the information that will get us safely from where we are to where we want to be. If you want to travel the length of the state of California, becoming familiar with a roadmap of Australia will not serve you. You will be in possession of facts, but you will be unable to bring those facts to bear in the real world. We must decide where we want to go, what we want to do, and identify the things we want to accomplish, and then we can arm ourselves with the information required to succeed.
As you go through your day today, learn and then act.
Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stovallauthor; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.