In Robert Heinlein’s science fiction book, Starship Troopers, the instructor, Mr. Dubois says, “One can lead a child to knowledge but one cannot make him think.” Thus, the pitfall in thinking knowledge is power shows up.
Thinking Knowledge Is Power Locks People In A Box
Often I will begin seminars by declaring, “You won’t learn anything new. Yet, if you’re like others, you’ll still find it very helpful.” How can this be? It’s because thinking knowledge is power locks us in a box. It makes us think stuffing of our minds with knowledge is good. This only produces a lot of fat heads.
Imagine people who collect a garage full of tools and don’t fix anything. Those who collect kitchen utensils and always orders out. Many treat knowledge the same way. It collects dust in the recesses of their minds. They don’t think about it. They don’t use it.
The Power Of Learning Nothing New
So, I go on in these seminars. I say, “You already know most of what I will cover. But, you might not be using it to its fullest . . . if at all.” What if we used even 20% of what we already know but don’t use? What would happen?
We would see amazing changes in our careers, lives and world. For example, consider this question. How many people collect business books and self-help books as though they were collecting stamps? Most they never read let alone put their ideas to use.
Here’s a fact from a book editor. She said only about a third of the books bought are read. Thus cynically but truthfully she said, “It’s not about getting people to read your book. It’s about getting them to buy it.”
Yet, we can’t ignore the emotional appeal of knowledge. It’s triggers people need to feel secure. They know something. People spend tons on it.
Simply, learning new stuff though shouldn’t be the hallmark of a worthwhile learning effort. What would produce the greater return? Learning something new or putting something old into action? Dusting off old knowledge and rethinking it would be better. Perhaps the process caused us to look at things differently. Perhaps the process moved us to action?
Now, that is real power.