Know, Understand, and Apply

I looked through some of my archives on pictures. I really thought I knew a lot back then. So misguided in my youth.
I have asked in several interviews the following question.  On a scale of 1 to 5 how would you rate your knowledge on (fill in the blank topic) and why?  A couple of key themes always stand out

  1. Most people rate themselves generously, most at least one scale higher.
  2. Most people have a hard time answering the why.

As I personally reflect on the word know, I realize how much of what I know is surface level.  Sometimes my knowledge is theory with no practice, a guess without research, or assumptions of what might be.

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.  ~ Charles Spurgeon

The person who truly knows, also understands

You have met this person.  Sometimes they are:

  • a subject matter expert
  • the common sense person in the room
  • they attract listeners like E.F. Hutton
  • they think before they speak
  • they are always learning more

The person who knows, applies their knowledge

Knowledge isn’t trivia.  I often run into a lot of “book smart” developers, who have never taken the time to write a line of code on a particular subject.  What I am learning though, is when you apply what you know to add value, people take notice.  The wisest man ever to live, was given the gift of truly knowing.  Solomon used that knowledge to build incredible wealth and prosperity in Israel.  The book of Proverbs was how he shared his knowledge throughout time.  If we just keep what we know to ourselves, we don’t benefit anyone.  So share what you know.


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