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Friday, February 10, 2017

Lean Quote: Knowledge is Not Power, Only Potential Power, Until We Do

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do.— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Most people falsely believe that "knowledge is power." It is nothing of the sort! Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.

You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t do anything with it, it’s useless. It’s not what you know, it’s what you do with what you know—and doing it with a sense of urgency—that will enable you to accomplish what sometimes seems unattainable.

“Potential” has as much impact as running shoes that stay in your shoe cabinet. Or the healthy food that is not eaten. Or words of appreciation, respect and love that were never expressed. Or the time that was spent doing something else than that you said is important to you.

It’s always been, and always will be, the implementation of knowledge that empowers any human being. That was true even during the times when only few people had access to knowledge, before the time the Internet and access to it became commodity, and before the printing houses emerged. Already then, it was not the knowledge that gave power. It was the access to knowledge that gave those few individuals power due to their position in the society, as the possessors of something rare and wanted always do.

Knowledge has no value except that which can be gained from its application toward some worthy end. It’s what you do with this acquired knowledge that defines your power. If you don’t convert that knowledge into action, it will remain a source of power – untapped power.

Many in businesses fail not because of knowledge but lack of experience how to make things work. To be a success in business you do not have to know everything. What you have to know is how to get the specialized knowledge to make you successful and create a bias towards action.

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