2. What’s the difference between knowing something and acting on it? and
3. How do we take advantage of our acquired knowledge to genuinely improve the quality of our decision-making?
Sir Francis Bacon is credited with the saying, “knowledge is power.” With all due respect to Sir Bacon I believe this statement is a bit misleading. A more careful examination reveals that knowledge is only powerful to the extent it is actually applied in the real world. Until such time knowledge is nothing more than an interesting piece of data neither effective nor ineffective but inert. It is only when knowledge is understood and then put into action that it’s true value can be tested and determined. For knowledge to be truly powerful it must complete a process I call the Triangle of Knowledge. The Triangle of Knowledge includes acquiring, understanding, and applying knowledge and it is essential if we want to leverage the power any knowledge we acquire.
To gain understanding of this knowledge we might choose to reflect on the way we have viewed our life through the lens of how much material and financial success we have achieved. Then we might reflect on the fact that regardless of the quantities we amass this situation hasn’t always created an experience of happiness, in fact in many cases it has increased our fear and insecurity, either through not getting the things we want or more frightening, that we might lose what we have already gained. Based on these reflections, and with this deeper understanding, we may become curious about how our experience would change if we were to stop focusing on external things and begin focusing on those things that have brought us genuine happiness in the past. Things like loving relationships, or the appreciation we experience when we encounter compassion, understanding, unconditional acceptance, trust, safety, meaning, and purpose in our life. Armed with this understanding we may choose to apply this knowledge by taking some time each morning and evening to consciously focus on the gifts of love and connection we actually have and observe if shifting our focus from external things to internal qualities enhances our appreciation for how genuinely blessed we are for what we already have.
The Triangle of Knowledge enables us to put what we've learned into action and this, I believe, is the real power behind the knowledge we are blessed to receive from the infinite bounty of an unconditionally loving universe.