A Four Letter Word We’ve Lost The Meaning To…
There’s a great deal of information and knowledge available to us today, on demand, 24 hours a day…but are we any wiser for it?
Do we squander this access?
Do we better ourselves with it? Or merely entertain ourselves with the mundane, the crude…the lowest common denominator, the path of least resistance in an effort to avoid what we’re most afraid of…
…being something bigger than we ever thought possible.
Sorry to kick this post off sounding like Tony Robbins, but I wanted to share a four-letter word that we use each and everyday (probably hundreds of times on some days) but one that we’ve almost entirely lost the meaning to.
The forgotten meaning to this little word is potentially creating a blind spot in the lives of millions of people today.
It encourages a fictional reality where a 50% effort is considered “good enough” to succeed and contribute to society, when the reality is that couldn’t be further from the truth.
So what is this mysterious little word?
Four letters long, and it’s not a “curse” word.
It’s the word KNOW.
Not to be confused with “No” (which it sounds like) or “Understand” which is what most of us actually mean when we say it.
So what does the word “Know” actually mean and why should you care?
I think the best way to illustrate how far off the mark we are today is to compare a “know” situation from today versus biblical times; its actually quite provocative actually…
(if you’re easily offended, you might want to leave while you still can)
Situation in 2016 — You’re a male who is asked if you “know” who a girl is in your class.
Result— You state that you do, on the basis that you could pick her out from a line up or recognize who she is if you bumped into her on the street. This is the same “knowing” that could apply to a famous stranger whom you’ve only seen on TV or in the movies.
Situation in Biblical Times — Adam “knows” Eve.
Result — The couple begets children, Cain and Abel.
The difference between the first and second example is that “to know” today is considered an intellectual exercise more akin to “understanding” whereas in biblical times, “knowing” involved a visceral, tactile, physical interaction with objects, people or an environment in real time.
The problem is we use the two words interchangeably when they actually mean two different things.
In fact, I’d go so far as say that today we’re in jeopardy of understanding damn-near everything while knowing absolutely nothing at all.
Say you’ve never ridden a bicycle in your entire life, so you decide to read a book to learn how.
You find a book, then go the extra mile by reading several more on the topic. You now confidently assert that you “know” how to ride a bike.
So you find a bike to ride and hop on…
…what do you think will happen next?
I’ll tell you what I think would happen…
I’d bet my money that you have at least a 90% chance of losing your balance almost immediately…
…because no matter how much you might understand the concept of balancing, pedaling and steering your bike…you’d be hard-pressed to execute any of these tasks independently much less simultaneously without actual experience.
Meanwhile, show me someone who’s had time with the bike. Who may have fallen down repeatedly and gotten back on. Who has had the time to experience the physical object called a “bike” in real time and space…
…while never having read a book.
Not only would they be far more likely to “know” how to ride a bike, but I’d guess that if they had enough time actually riding it on a regular basis for significant periods of time that they’d be able to do something that you couldn’t ever execute from reading a book alone.
Can you guess what it is?
Riding the bike with no hands.
If you learned how to do it, it was because you acquired a “mastery” of riding a bike.
You “knew” how to ride it, you “knew” how your bike would respond to every bump and crack in the road. You “knew” how to automatically compensate or adjust your balance perfectly in real-time.
You “knew” these things from experience. From taking action and actually DOING a thing rather than simply reading about it.
To Know And Not Do…
I stumbled upon this line of thinking, perhaps inspired by Stephen Covey who once wrote:
To know and not do is to not know.
If the purest definition of “knowing” something is by doing it — interacting, using and physically manipulating said thing in real time, then it’s impossible to “know” anything from merely reading about it in a book or online.
Therefore, you can’t possibly “know” a thing until you’ve done the action associated with the thing.
You can’t know about marketing…
You can’t know about making money…
You can’t know about building a website…
You can’t know about online advertising…
You can’t know about managing people…
(You can’t know about anything really…)
…until you’ve actually experienced doing these things (ideally, more than once).
The solution to this rampant wave of intellectual understanding without true “knowing” is to simply do more.
Get your hands dirty.