Knowledge will fail you!

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Knowledge will fail you when you need it the most!

Have you ever blanked out in an exam? Forgotten the formula you so diligently memorized? Had a tied tongue in an interview? Froze standing in front of an audience?

In the Indian epic Mahabharata one of the greatest warriors of all time, Karna, learns from one of the greatest teachers of all time – Parashurama. In rage, Parashurama once cursed his student that he would forget the martial art he learned from him, when he most needed it. And indeed Karna forgot the knowledge in the battlefield and paid the price with his life. Just yesterday, MS Dhoni knew everything he had to win the Cricket World Cup Semi-Final match against New Zealand. But what happened?

What this beautiful story of Karna and MS Dhoni's game yesterday tells us is that mere knowledge is not enough. Knowledge is power, right? WRONG! Only if you know what to do with this knowledge, provided you even recall it when you need it. And nowhere is this point better illustrated better than in Destin Sandlin’s backward bike. This special bike turns left when you turn the handlebar right. How would you ride this bike? Easy – Just turn right when you need to go left. This knowledge we have. Now see what happens when you actually need to recall this knowledge seated on the bicycle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzDaBzBlL0

So what exactly happened? Why do we forget what we know? It is very simple – Knowledge alone is like an unsharpened knife. For it to do what it is supposed to do, it needs to be sharp. And the sharpness can only be achieved when the knife has been ground against a hard stone such that cutting becomes innate and second nature to a knife. Knowledge needs to be applied. Applied and practiced long enough such that it becomes innate to us. Innate such that it goes into our psyche and can be recalled intuitively when needed.

How do we reach there?

K – KNOW what you don’t know

N – NOW, focus on what you NEED to know and acquire NEW knowledge

I – Use your INTELLIGENCE to process this new knowledge such that you have questioned and cross-questioned with all your INTENSITY and are convinced of the authenticity of this new knowledge

F – Figure out where you can use this new knowledge in the FUTURE and in life

E – Enlighten others by teaching what you just learned. One of the best ways to learn is by teaching others

If you the above, this sharpened knowledge will cut life a knife when you need it.

Let’s look at a specific example

You are a Grade 5 student

K – KNOW what you don’t know

You know how to solve X+7=10 but DON’T KNOW how to solve X^2–X = 2

N – NOW, focus on what you NEED to know and acquire NEW knowledge

You NEED to know how to solve Quadratic equation i.e. equations of the form ax^2+bx +c = 0.

You acquire NEW knowledge and learn that the solution is

I – Use your INTELLIGENCE to process this new knowledge such that you have questioned and cross-questioned with all your INTENSITY and are convinced of the authenticity of this new knowledge

Is this solution correct?

Is this the only way to solve this?

How was this solution derived?

Does the formula always give an answer? What if the value inside the square root is negative?

Why do we have both plus and minus in the equation ±?

F – Figure out where you can use this new knowledge in the FUTURE and in life

Where can I use this new knowledge? A lot of places it turns out! A businessman uses it to calculate how much profit he will make, an athlete uses it every day for calculating distance she can jump and a building constructor uses it to find the right dimensions of tiles that fit an area.

E – Enlighten others by teaching what you just learned. One of the best ways to learn is by teaching others

Yay, I know this now! Let me explain this to my friend Robin. He seems to be struggling to understand why the equation has both plus and minus ±.

Is your knife sharp now? Is it sharper than merely memorizing the formula and hoping that you would recall it in exam? Did the KNIFE approach help?

Part 1: Knowledge will fail you

Part 2: How is knowledge created?

Part 3: Ignorance will cost you

#Gyanalogy #Gyan #Knowledge #Fail #Gyana #Wisdom

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[…] week I wrote about how Knowledge will fail you. After I wrote that, I was having a discussion with a classmate from my MBA program on what next […]