Wisdom and Knowledge

It’s amazing how much the world has changed over the last 20 years. Technological advancement has changed our daily lives significantly, that it’s hard to imagine a lot of us were living without a basic mobile phone at that time. It also got me thinking how my view on wisdom and knowledge has evolved.

Wisdom and Knowledge are 2 separate things. Whilst they are generally correlated, being knowledgable does not equate to being wise. Let me define the terms from google dictionary here:

wisdom: the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.

knowledge: facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

In the past, memory cost was expensive. One had to spend time reading/experiencing new things to acquire knowledge. Knowledge was recorded in books like encyclopaedia (for the younger ones, it’s Wikipedia recorded in set of books that had to be search manually). When one learned and understood knowledge, one could acquire wisdom.

We have also all heard of the phrase “knowledge is power“. That is definitely true as depicted by the domination of companies like Google, Facebook. They have gathered massive amount of information over the years and a big part of our lives revolves around them.

With the increase availability of knowledge, I would argue that having wisdom is paramount to our survival. Not only would it helps us to discern the truth from the everyday noise, it could help us live a fulfilling life by making good decision with all the knowledge at our fingertips. Having knowledge is a double-edged sword, it could be used for the betterment of everyone or the destruction of civilisation as we know it.

As such, I am interested to hear your views and practices. Here I share my personal list of gaining wisdom and knowledge in order of priority:

  1. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7) I only started reading the bible properly the start of this year after 30+ years of procrastination and I have benefited greatly.
  2. Think before I act. One of the toughest lesson is not to react with fight/flight response especially with the amount of interaction we all face everyday. (Treating someone badly as payback which escalate and causes a toxic environment) Remember don’t win the battle but lose the war. The reverse is hard to do but I think it is the wise thing to do.
  3. Learn and apply various mental model like Charlie Munger the right hand man of Berkshire Hathaway. Having wisdom is the ability to apply contradicting but right models for different circumstances. (Great investment are made, buy when others are fearful. However beware of catching the falling knife, don’t apply the models blindly)
  4. Be humble and ask questions, I am surprised at the snippets of wisdom that people are willing to share.
  5. Read recommended books, especially old ones. These are relevant knowledge that stood through the test of time. A lot of the current news would become irrelevant over time. (What makes a successful business vs what is the stock price today)
  6. Learn from the mistakes of others by asking/reading (as per 2 and 3). It’s more efficient and less painful.
  7. Do it and learn from own mistakes. Life is a journey, I would never know if I am afraid to do it. I will be better equipped for the future with the lesson learnt.

How about you, what do you do?


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