We are all born with the capacity and privilege of growing up to be a truly wise person. As we know, knowledge alone is not enough. We need to learn how to use and apply that knowledge. Only working closely with other wise people teaches wisdom. Wisdom is more than book knowledge. . . .
When clever is not enough
This quotation suggests a radical difference between being clever and being wise. To me, it would seem that, what he means is, that being clever may stop short at amassing information. However, information alone is not enough.
We also need wisdom, having a good idea how best to use that information. We need to move on from merely clever, and become wise.
Life’s winners and losers
Being wise provides exactly what can be missing in mere cleverness. A wise person knows that information on its own is like having a lot of money, but now knowing how to spend it. I’m sure there are many people who come into money, and then squander it on silly and selfish things.
They only wake up when they’ve spent it all, and realise too late that there were many much better ways they could, and perhaps, should have spent it. They become “wise after the event.”
Classic examples, of course, are some people who win the lottery, and suddenly have an obscene amount of money. We imagine they’re “lucky.” Often, however, they go a bit mad, and suffer a kind of temporary insanity.
They go off and engage in a crazy spending spree, throwing money around, as if it were confetti. After a few months of such extravagance, they’re back to where they started. Were they “lucky”? Perhaps that’s when the regrets begin.
Knowledge is like that, yes we can pile it up in our heads, gain more everyday, but it’s wasted if it’s not put to good use.
Who can change the world?
So, can being clever change the world? Perhaps a merely clever person might be able to change some things. They could start a business, have money savvy, and make a profit. The product they’re selling could very well help a lot of people. They do change the world in some way.
However, perhaps they can’t analyse some really important changes that need to be made, and could be made. Wisdom is surely needed for that. A wise person knows how to use their knowledge to help other people. True wisdom includes generosity, service, altruism.
One who is clever, but without wisdom, may tend to be more selfish. Then again, they may not be selfish at all. Which raises the question: how does one grow knowledge into wisdom? One way that springs to mind is to make good use of a wise mentor, a role model that can add a wise dimension to a knowledgeable but immature person.
Start by changing yourself
This ties in with the last part of the quote. First, we need to change ourselves, before we can successfully change the “world” – in other words, before we can truly “win friends and influence people.” The classic advice of Gandhi springs to mind:
“be the change yourself that you wish to see in others.”
Perhaps another way of looking at the difference, is to realise that being clever may just be book knowledge. True wisdom springs from hard-earned life skills. All the priceless learning that comes from being with other people in different situations, and taking on board the lessons learned.
It’s not always the clever guy that copes best. Often the one that shines is the ordinary man or woman with plenty of life skills. People who are wise, who know how to apply their knowledge, and work as a team
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life
Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
―Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources–because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”
―Lyndon B. Johnson
“We asked for workers. We got people instead.”
“A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out.”
Leaders Leading Leaders
“The secret of life…is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” – Paulo Coelho, from The Alchemist
The Alchemist is one of the greatest books about the entrepreneurial journey I have ever read. And how true, you are not a failure until you stop getting up again.
“Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.” -Bhagavad Gita
Perfection is the enemy of progress. It will never, ever be perfect and it’s far better to move your venture along. You must remind yourself and your team of this daily and realize you have been taught perfection throughout your life. Entrepreneurship requires that you retrain your brain and take action.
“Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams.” -Stuart Wilde
Action is tied to belief. Do you encourage yourself and others towards the outcome you envision?
“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” -Soren Kierkegaard
Feeling a little anxious about the action you are taking? Good, that means you are headed down the right path.
“It’s not about breaking the rules. It is about abandoning the concept of rules altogether” – Paul Lemberg
Rules are what keep many from taking action. In order to really change the world, a few rules must be broken. Make sure you aren’t creating rules that are getting in the way of breakout success.