We swim in a sea of information. It is so normal that we don’t even think about it.
This week alone, I Googled “When to prune an apple tree”, “Installing a kitchen faucet” and “Eliminating lower back pain”. FYI, the last search had no relationship to the previous two.
Not long ago, I would have needed to go to the library and spend hours in research to find answers to my pressing questions. In the case of my back, I would have needed to call my doctor too. Instead, I simply pulled my phone from my pocket and had countless answers in mere seconds.
Access to this level of knowledge is a beautiful thing. However, it also comes with a downside. One of the biggest pitfalls of our information age is the belief that information equals transformation. In other words, if my mind is filled with enough facts or if I can find an answer to a question quickly, it means that I am automatically growing as a human being.
According to this way of thinking, I am basically a plumber because I watched Youtube video about kitchen faucets. In actuality, I am FAR from trustworthy around sinks, drains and garbage disposals. There is a missing link in this formula for growth.
We need to move beyond simply “knowing about” things to experiencing them firsthand. To frame it another way, a more accurate formula for personal growth is “Information plus application equals transformation”.
It doesn’t matter how much I know about trimming apple trees if I never get out my saw and pruning shears. I can watch 300 videos about kitchen faucets on Youtube but if I don’t get under my sink, all that knowledge makes no difference.
The same is true in every area of my life. If my knowledge doesn’t lead to action, the only thing the information does for me is make me feel like I am a bigger deal than I actually am. In the end, that can be as destructive as ignorance.
There is a timeless piece of wisdom that says, “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up”. That contrast is interesting to me. While knowledge can be passive, true love always requires a move beyond a mental process into action.
So what is one small way you can put your knowledge into action today? Is there an area you’ve been delaying taking action? Maybe it’s the awareness that exercise keeps you healthy…so you jump on the treadmill. Perhaps it is knowing that relationships are important to your well-being…so you give your friend a call. Maybe your life is so busy that it is causing you anxiety…so you take 15 minutes to sit in silence.
Even a little step can make a huge difference.
As for me, I’m off to the chiropractor!