At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Knowledge is power.” But what exactly does that mean? Does knowledge give you super strength? Invisibility? Super speed? No, of course not. But then again, you knew it wasn’t any of those anyway. Well then, could you read a lot of books, take some classes, or sit at the feet of a wise guru and gain some kind of power? You’re getting warmer. It’s actually much simpler, and yet much more important than that.
Simply put, the power knowledge gives you is the power to make better choices.
So, why is that such a big deal? Well, imagine you’re planning on taking a road trip to a place you’ve never been before. How will you know how to get there? The sensible thing to do would be to gain knowledge pertaining to your journey. If you’re like most people, you’ll either buy a map, look up the directions online, or plug the destination into your GPS. Or you could also ask for directions from someone who has already made the trip. Any of these are tried and true ways of gaining knowledge. (Well, if you want to be technical about it, using the GPS isn’t actually you gaining knowledge, but it is you utilizing knowledge someone else has gained, so it’s still okay.) Of course, another option is to find your way by yourself through trial and error and hope you don’t end up on the east coast when you were planning on skiing in Denver. If you get the knowledge you need for your trip before you head out, your journey will almost certainly be smoother and less stressful than hitting the road with nothing but a hope and a prayer.
Okay. Knowledge gives you power to make better choices. But what if you never used it? What if you ignored any knowledge you may have gained and decided to just wing it? Well, who would Superman be if he never used any of his powers? He’d just be a newspaper reporter running around in tights. No leaping over tall buildings; no catching speeding bullets. Or if the Flash never used his super speed? He’d just be Barry Allen, CSI (or Wally West, or Bart Allen, or whoever your preferred Flash is). Regardless who your favorite Flash is, it would be a lot harder for him to run down the bad guys if he never used his speed.
The same is true with knowledge. If you don’t use the knowledge you’ve gained to guide you in your choices, your chances of success drop dramatically. Let’s go back to our hypothetical trip. What if this time, instead of taking the map along with you, every time you came to an intersection or a fork in the road, you just flipped a coin to see which way to go? Sure, it might make for an interesting—and definitely longer—trip, but what are the odds of you arriving successfully at your destination? Not very good, I’d wager. So, if you’ve got a map, or directions, or your GPS is telling you where to turn, why in the world would you ignore it? Why make the trip any longer or harder than it needs to be, if you really want to get to your destination as quickly as possible?
Here’s the main point: Your life is that journey. The things you want to achieve are your destinations, whether they’re career aspirations, life goals, or whatever. The more knowledge you have, the better your odds of reaching your life destination. If you have access to a computer, you have a world of knowledge at your fingertips. You can plot out a map to your goal. You can find out what supplies you need, what directions to go, and how long it might take to get there.
Or you can ask others who have already made it to where you want to be what they did to get there. That can often be even more helpful than looking up stuff on the internet. Now, no one can tell you the precise way to get to where you want to go. Every person’s journey is their own and no two journeys are exactly alike, so no one can tell you exactly what to do to get where you want to be. But you can at least get general directions from people who have already achieved the goal you’re trying to reach. They can tell you what worked for them and—maybe even more importantly—what didn’t. Maybe they can tell you this road is dirt and gravel, with a lot of potholes in it, but that road is paved and makes for a much smoother ride. Which road would you rather be on? Why ignore the advice of those who have already made the journey and risk ending up stuck in a ditch on the side of a muddy road?
So, yeah. Knowledge really is power. The power to make better choices. Knowing that, what will you choose to help make your life’s journey as smooth as possible? To give you the best shot at reaching your goals?
Do yourself a favor. Avoid the potholes. Get as much knowledge as you can before you hit the road.