Knowledge is power right? But can too much knowledge actually hurt you? Cliff Claven was a know-it-all character on the TV show Cheers. How powerful was he? What effect did he have on his fellow bar-mates when he recited “little known facts”? If you never watched Cheers, the answers are: he was not powerful, his bar-mates were not loving it.
Have you ever met someone who has a stack of degrees and certifications but can’t seem to advance past a low-level job? And perhaps they may not even appear to be very happy, or at least not enjoying gaining all this wisdom.
Have you ever met someone who seems to hold very little education, doesn’t read and yet has excelled in their career and seems to be having a good time enjoying life?
Don’t get me wrong, I love learning, I love reading, I love knowledge. I’m not going to tell you to abandon your brain or get a lobotomy. But I wondered if there was a trend here. Do some people, and I’ll include myself in this category, falsely think knowledge will get them move them forward? We are inside a knowledge-box and in a Promethean effort, we scale the walls collecting information, but we never get out of the box. Meanwhile, our neighbor is catapulting out of the box on a trampoline.
Here are some things I’m committed to try:
Shift confidence from my head to my body. I am 100% confident in my knowledge. But I’m not as confident in myself. Strange right? What would I do if I didn’t have my knowledge? Who would be left? So I’m practicing being confident not in knowing but in being me.
Chillax on the reading. Oh my gosh, I feel so overwhelmed by the amount of things I want to know by yesterday. I can’t go to a party without reading a book about it first. (if you think I’m kidding then clearly we haven’t met) My mother-in-law once said to me “whatever your looking for isn’t in all those books you read.” My MIL of all people! Could she have been right? I’m going to put a one book at a time limit on my library borrowing, starting….uggh so many choose from…..tomorrow. I’ll replace the reading time with, well reflecting, doing something or maybe just being.
Influence without facts. Facts how I love thee! In my work, there is a lot of mindset shifting, and facts just don’t win the day. I have relied on facts and information to drive transformational change, and too many times I’ve seen facts brushed aside. I can prove things via mathematical proofs and historical data all day long, and someone will always come back with “yeah, well I just don’t think it will work.” I’m going to try influencing without information as a primary tool. Oooh scary. It feels manipulative for a person who loves knowledge, but I’m committing to try it.
How healthy is your relationship to knowledge? Let us know!