Sheila CallahamFrom the Series: Life on Dog Hill

“Alexa, give me a quote,” I commanded my Amazon Echo. Without hesitating, she responded with this one.

Knowledge is no use unless put into practice.

by Anton Chekhov

We acquired Alexa early last year and, as I mentioned in a previous post, she can be rather entertaining. She gives me a daily news briefing in the morning, direct from NPR, tells me what the weather will be, makes funny jokes, and shares random trivia, in addition to playing all my favorite music.

I thought more about her quote and how it might apply to my life. Humph. What’s she trying to tell me? I wondered.

Not concerned by my momentary preoccupation with technological judgement, I mulled over the words. As if pulling Alexa’s implied meaning out of the clouds (pun intended), I repeated the quote to myself like a mantra.

Knowledge is no use unless put into practice. Knowledge is no use unless put into practice. Knowledge is no use unless put into practice.

What surfaced was an understanding of the temporary significance of knowledge.

FACT: knowledge is just information one learns.

Sometimes we learn because we have to — school is a good example of that. Sometimes we learn new things because it’s important for our work. For instance, I recall the time when I knew how to lay out a newspaper in picas, way before the age of digital publishing. I even knew how to apply mathematical formulas to resize a photo to fit perfectly in the space allotted. Not surprisingly, I’ve long forgotten how to accomplish that once familiar task, just like I’ve long forgotten much of what I learned in the eighteen years of schooling that concluded with a master’s degree in international studies.

We acquire knowledge to meet a need. But what happens to that knowledge when the need or the interest is no longer present? It’s often forgotten. So how important can knowledge be then, in the big scheme of things?

*Moment for rhetorical consideration.*

Alexa may have a lot of programmed knowledge but I have something she doesn’t have. Wisdom. And wisdom, I let Alexa know, is much weightier than knowledge.

Here’s a perfect example to emphasize my point.

Sheila Callaham, wisdom

Letting go of baggage, bad feelings, the piles of junk in your closets and garage is freeing. So much better than another folder of data!

Not convinced? How about this one…

Sheila Callaham, wisdom

Many a faux pas has resulted from the person who doesn’t understand the significance of wisdom in this situation.

Playing hard to convince are you?

Fine. Here you go.

Sheila Callaham, wisdom

So, there.

For Reflection

What do you think is the biggest difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Which one do you value most?

Sheila Callaham is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, and success coach. She occasionally thinks she’s funny. Click here to receive Sheila’s monthly newsletter where she shares lots of cool knowledge and wisdom. Trust her, you’ll enjoy this newsletter in your inbox.

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