Are you gullible - do you just believe what other people tell you? Or do you appreciate the vital difference between understanding something and real knowledge?

My Brother's Shiny New Red Bicycle
Many years ago, I was just five, my older brother was given a bicycle, a deep red bicycle. I was so jealous, I wanted one myself. But I had to wait until he outgrew it before I inherited his red one. At that tender age, two years is a long time!

One early spring day, my father took us down to the park, next to the library. It was time to learn to ride.

I was so looking forward to an exciting experience. I got on the bicycle, pedaled, and immediately fell off. So I got back on, pedaled, and fell off again.

This er ... cycle ... continued for a while. Got on, fell off. Got on, fell off. Got on, wobbled and fell off. Hey, real progress! Got on, wobble, wobble and fell off.

After a long while I got on, and wobble, wobble, wobble... "Daddy, Daddy, look!" I shouted, "I know how to ride," as I rode unsteadily over the grass.

It's amazing how easily we fool ourselves. I was an accident looking for a place to happen as I wobbled toward a tree. Yet Dad simply said, "Okay, turn around."

So I turned around. And immediately fell off again. Experience showed that I didn't yet know how to ride. It seems that no matter what you say, reality knows the truth!

What did I Know About Riding?
Now the day before I went to the park to learn, did I know how to ride a bicycle?

I thought I did. I'd listened to my Dad explain how to ride, and I'd watched my brother ride. But when I got on for the first time, I promptly fell off.

I knew about riding, and I thought this meant I knew how to ride. Yet sometimes our thoughts tell us the truth, and sometimes they come from our self-sabotage mechanism and do not. This thought was untrue. I believed I could ride, but believing you can do something tells you nothing about whether you actually can or not.

Catch this crucial distinction between knowing about and authentic knowing. I believed I could ride, but had no practical experience. I thought I knew, but only understood!

But how can you know before you've gained any experience?

When do you Really Know How?
How do you get to know how to ride a bicycle?

You need to do it and keep doing it. You practice, make mistakes, and get back on.

It's not listening, nor watching, nor reading about it - then you only understand it. And understanding is not real knowledge.

If you don't do it when the time comes to do it, then you may know about it, but you don't really know. And yes, this may contradict much of what is taught today.

Experience gives you the know-how. It's actually doing it, repeating it, exercising, studying, failing, learning, and making mistakes that's so valuable. Without practical experience, the thought that you do know is pure self-sabotage. You only understand.

What is wisdom? Doing it when you know how, whenever the time is right.

The Difference between Understanding and Real Knowledge
This is all very well, I hear you ask, but what's the essential difference between understanding - just knowing about it - and real knowing?

  • When you watch someone ride a bicycle, who's putting in the energy? He/she is.
  • When you listen to someone explain how to do something, who's putting in most of the energy? She is.
  • When you're reading about something? Although you need to pay attention, most all the effort has come from the author. So he has.

Yet when you are doing it, who is putting in the energy? You are.

When you're exercising, who's putting in the energy? You are. When you're gaining experience, who puts in the energy? You are. Repeating? Failing? Studying? Learning? Making mistakes? You are.

You recognize that you don't get fit by delegating your exercise to someone else. You have to do it yourself. And developing wisdom is very similar.

Experience is the essential difference between knowing about it and real knowing. So be wise, invest the time and the energy to gain the experience needed to be effective.

No investment, no return!

© Copyright worldwide Cris Baker, All rights reserved. Republishing welcomed under Creative Commons noncommercial no derivatives license preserving all links intact, so please +1 and share this widely!

Food for Thought
"The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, American author, physician, Harvard professor (1809-1894)

Remember that all movement requires change, and change starts within!

Author's Bio: 

Cris Baker has much practice in overcoming adversity, he's been screwing things up for years! Why suffer the consequences of your own mistakes? Now you can benefit from real knowledge, crucial know-how gained from his vast experience with extensive pain and suffering!

Check out self sabotage, secret of success, and change your life at Life Strategies to overcome your self-sabotage, discover more crucial secrets of success, and learn how to change your life!