If Knowledge Was Power

Friday, May 6, 2016 - 05:38
A pile of books next to filled bookcases.

Knowledge is not power. It is the potential for power, but it is only realized if it's expressed through action. Stated another way, I love the following quote by Derek Sivers: "If [more] information was the answer, then we'd all be billionaires with perfect abs."

Consider the following:

  • If knowledge was power, then anyone with a connection to the Internet has access to more information than every president before Ronald Reagan (maybe even George W Bush). And while a few have created empires on the Internet (Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, etc), most people have not.
  • If knowledge was power, then anyone with a copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill or The Success Principles by Jack Canfield would have a step by step instruction guide on how to achieve success in all aspects of their life. Both literally provide blueprints compiled from some of the most successful, powerful, and influential individuals on the planet.
  • If knowledge was power, then anyone on earth could visit the OCW project and create a personalized curriculum that would be equivalent to the education obtained by most MIT students.
  • If knowledge was power, then anyone with a subscription to Fitness Magazine should be able to lose whatever amount of weight they wanted and be strong and healthy.
  • If knowledge was power, anyone with a library card could be as educated as any student graduating from any university in the world.

The list goes on, but the point remains: we live in an age where we are literally drowning information (1 billion websites, millions of books, hundreds of TV channels, hundreds of magazines, dozens of newspapers). And yet despite all of that information, we as a planet still face a myriad of challenges ranging from poverty to obesity and everything in between.

Knowledge by itself is not the answer. I know this from experience because I used to confuse knowledge with know-how and experience. I would learn tons of seemingly interesting facts but then not apply what I learned in any meaningful way. It wasn't until I started to take action that I realized how much I still had to learn and do in order to make a change and achieve the result that I was after.

Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: Chief Product Officer of DRUD Tech. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.