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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Knowledge is NOT Power - It's Not What You Know, It's What You Do With What You Know

By Jennifer M Ryan

Just this week I finally watched Children of Men with my husband. I know, I know, I'm a little late to seeing one of the greatest movies of the year, but I wanted to give my full attention to the movie and before now it wouldn't have had my focus. (You'll know this if you've been following my blog. You'll know my twin girls just turned one and well, they do happen to be where most of my focus lies most of the time.)

It was well worth the wait! What a great story, and I promise, I'll give you a "spoiler warning" if I start talking about something that will spoil the movie for you.

The plot of the story is no secret. The movie is set in 2027, but by the looks of things on the screen, you would think it was a movie based in the Depression era. Things were run down, dismal, gray, and depressing. But here we are in the year 2027 and the world has become infertile. The youngest child in the world is 18 years old.

One character turns up miraculously pregnant after 18 full years of infertility. She is kept a secret for 8 months, goes into early labor, and so…. Is the world changed now?

The young lady and her companion trek across England trying desperately trying to make it to the shore because they've been told there's hope for them there. The trials and tribulations that ensue leave you on the edge of your seat as you feel you're part of the movie, and you wonder… what kind of hope is at the shore? Will there really be people there to save them? What will come of the little baby?

The new mom and her companion have only faith to go by, and they let NOTHING deter them along their journey.

(Spoiler warning!) And at the end of their journey, as they wait at the buoy as directed to do, there arrives a pristine clean, bright blue, ship with the letters "Tomorrow" spanning across the side. The men are dressed in white, and save the couple. From what, we don't know, but we DO know, there was hope and faith. As an audience, you get a feeling that everything is now going to be ok.

(End of spoiler)

This was a movie full of analogies of our existence on this planet. The infertility represented the habitual, passionless, mundane existence of man; it wasn't a biological problem at all. When man stopped taking risks in their lives and lived for only comfort and security, the world essentially stopped.

In a Rut

Staying in the habit of our daily routine means we continue to do what we've always done. We're not expecting, nor believing in, and definitely not achieving success. Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich said, "We call it 'getting into a rut,' which means we accept our fate because we form the habit of daily routine, a habit that finally becomes so strong we cease to try to throw it off." Just like in Children of Men.

Hill goes on to say, "The idea of starting at the bottom [of the success ladder] and working one's way up may appear sound, but the major objection to it is this – too many of those who begin at the bottom never manage to lift their heads high enough to be seen by opportunity, so they remain at the bottom. It should also be remembered that the outlook from the bottom is not so very bright or encouraging. It has a tendency to kill off ambition."

Knowledge is NOT Power

People falsely believe that the more knowledge they have and the more education they attain the higher on the ladder they will be. Not so! There are thousands of people in this country with higher education degrees who don't make the money they want to make and who don't have the success they want to have. In fact, there are MANY people who never stepped a foot into a higher education facility who make millions! We would deem "successful."

So, no, knowledge is not power. Knowledge is only POTENTIAL power. Knowledge won't attract you what you want unless it is organized and intellectually directed through practical plans.

I spoke to a nice gentleman the other day who reported he wanted to lose 80 pounds. I asked him what his plan to do that was. And he said, "Oh, I'm just going to start exercising more." And he trailed off from there, talking about some intangible what-not's. He lost me, because he didn't have a plan.

You need to know how use the knowledge you've attained. You read self-help books, attend seminars, go to workshops, and do whatever you can do to soak up more and more knowledge, but with no results. Why? Because there is no organized plan of action to meet the end results you desire.

In Children of Men, the couple had one mission, and a clear-cut plan of action to get what they wanted. They would find hope and purpose in the midst of their dreary existence. Many people along the way said, "What do you think you're going to find when you get to the shore." With unwavering faith, the couple said exactly what they thought they'd find – hope.

If you find you have desire for something, you must have a plan of action to attain it, and have unwavering faith that what you want is already there for you, you just have to be willing to accept it in your life.

With the knowledge you attain from books, seminars, workshops, coaches and counselors, what will you do with that information? How do you plan on using it? You will only get the results you want if you develop a realistic plan of action to attain it. That doesn't mean "working your way to the top" and HOPING it takes you were you want to go. It means outlining exactly what you will do to make a shift in the reality of your existence.

Many times in my job as a Coach, when I ask people what their plan is go have the money they want, the career they want, and the success they want, the first thing I get told is, "Go back to school."

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Education can be attained through many ways, but as the knowledge is acquired must be organized and put into use for a definite purpose. You must create practical plans. Hill says, "Knowledge has no value except that which can be gained from its application toward some worthy end."

Hill also says that successful people in all professions never stop acquiring specialized knowledge, and those who are not successful usually make the mistake of believing that the "knowledge-acquiring period ends when they finish school." So Now What?

Use what you know to guide you to what you want from your life. You want to lose 80 lbs? You want to have an outstanding relationship with your spouse? You want to start your own business but just not sure what the first steps are? You want to raise happy, healthy children by being the best parent you can be?

If you said yes to any of those, then get the education, but then develop a practical plan to attain the end result of your goals. Knowledge is NOT power; knowledge is only POTENTIAL power. You decide what you're going to do with it!

Jennifer Ryan, M.Ed.
Life and Business Coach

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