The difference between knowing and doing

I recently realised, again, what a difference there is between knowing and doing – and between what I think I am and what I actually transmit to the world. Knowledge can give one the alluring illusion that we actually can and do what we know and believe. But we can’t. Of course we do things right and live according to our principles, at times. We then tend to retain these experiences as confirmation, and filter out what contradicts our beliefs.

I don’t mean to imply that knowledge is the devil. It can make you learn to do things faster, and it can even be satisfying unto itself. But we shouldn’t that having static knowledge is the same as dynamically doing. Knowledge gives you time and unlimited abstract resources to act and react perfectly, while doing is in the moment and very concrete. It’s balancing strategy and instinctive action, improvisation and experience.

This is particularly valid for self-development. I know plenty of people that know a lot about living life, and do poorly at it. Including me, a lot of the time  Have you ever read a book about self-development and not done the exercises? Then you probably don’t really get that book. It’s the experience, living through it that transmits the message to your body and deeper being. My rule these days is that I read one book at a time, and that I do the exercises – even when I think I can already do what’s being asked.

I have cycles – phases of doing, and phases of overview, analysis, gaining new knowledge and building a strategy for the future. It can happen in a flash, or over a few months. Every phase has its merits, yet I tend to believe that the majority of our life should be spent doing, in the moment.

Another thing about learning and knowledge: I think only what you need at that time sticks. Everyone has some areas of interest at a certain moment in time; the next step in their evolution waiting for them to take it. I really believe that only what’s relevant to that next step, sticks. The rest may be stored for later, but even then the step will have to be taken, not known.

So here’s a call for simplifying the knowing: look up what you need, feed yourself with what attracts you. And don’t forget to get back into the doing!

One Response to “The difference between knowing and doing”

  1. Jon Creehan says:

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