Knowledge is power.
Or so they say.
See, I’ve been thinking about that a little bit lately.. and I gotta say, I don’t agree. Knowledge isn’t power, knowledge is power potential; and there’s a difference. It’s a small difference, but a difference none the less.
Because knowledge is nothing without application.
We live in an age where you can access damn near any idea, concept, theory, ideology, or fact that’s ever existed in the history of forever. And that’s pretty rad.
Wanna become an expert pianist? Great, there’s tons of books about music theory and chord structure.
Wanna become an expert strategist? Awesome, read biographies of some of the greatest war generals who ever lived.
But, of course, it isn’t that easy. Because you won’t become an expert at anything if you don’t take the time to practice and hone the craft. It doesn’t matter how much information you might be exposed to.
If you just consume it, and don’t do anything with it.. it’s just gonna sit in your head and slowly waste away until you’ve forgotten anything you could have potentially done with it. Now don’t get me wrong, I know not all knowledge is necessarily practical, and sometimes knowledge is only meant to be internalized. But to really use knowledge to your benefit, to really change it into power, you must act on it.
Super great things have only ever happened because someone decided they were going to try something out, and then they decided that they we’re gonna be really awesome at it. A lot of them didn’t even know what they were doing right away, they just kept doing it over and over again until they did.
Because only two things can happen when you decide to acquire knowledge you feel will benefit your life… but choose not to act on it.
1. It’s never going to benefit your life
2. It’s going to benefit the life of someone who decided to apply it.
Now, both of those options suck. Not for the person who decided to act on it of course (yay, go them) but for you, simply because you chose not to act on it.
But I get it guys, failure is scary and something we’d like to avoid. That’s totally understandable, nobody likes to fail.
But failure is mandatory to achieve success.
I can guarantee you that nobody who is even moderately successful, whether it be mentally, spiritually, emotionally, financially, whatever. It doesn’t matter, they did not get to that point with a 100% winning streak. It just doesn’t happen.
And do you know why? Because we’re humans, we’re inherently flawed.
Sometimes we say and do stupid things, sometimes we feel like we’re lame when we’re really not as lame as we think we are. Sometimes we do or say something that was so awkward that even years later it randomly pops in our heads and we become overwhelmed with the urge to immediately stop whatever we’re doing so we can proceed to promptly curl up on the floor into the fetal position and cry.
And that’s okay, as long as you learn from your failures.
Because when you learn from your failures and mistakes, your taking that knowledge, which is potential, and turning it into power, which is you making fewer mistakes at the thing you’re doing by learning from the mistakes you’ve already made. In other words, getting better.
That’s simply how learning works guys. It’s just doing something over and over and over and over again until you progress from totally sucking, to not totally sucking, to being kind of okay, to good, to great, to potentially world changing. I mean the sky’s the limit, after all.
And sometimes you don’t totally suck right away, maybe you just got a knack for the thing and you start off as okay or even good.. which is even better! But you’re still gonna have to learn, you’re still gonna have to practice, and yes, you’re still gonna have to make mistakes.
So don’t let your knowledge just be knowledge, apply the things you learn. Go break some eggs, go fall on your face, just make sure you get back up so you can fall on your face again, just a little more gracefully next time.. until one day you’re not falling on your face at all, maybe just occasionally stumbling every once in a while.
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Originally published at medium.com