Few people are aware that it was Sir Francis Bacon who coined the Latin phrase “scientia potentia est,” which literally translates into “for also knowledge itself is power.” In time the phrase was abbreviated to the shorter version we are familiar with today: “knowledge is power.” Used widely to promote a lifestyle of ongoing education and personal growth, the phrase has earned a prominent place in our modern vernacular. But how accurate is that statement? Does knowledge really equal power?
To be fair, Sir Francis lived in an era where information was scarce. The vast majority of people were uneducated and poor. They didn’t have access to books and higher learning. These were reserved for the rich and elite. In this context, “knowledge is power” made perfect sense. Those with the knowledge had all the wealth, the influence and the power.
What is REAL power?
However, things are much different today. We live in the golden age of media. The Internet and social media have revolutionized the way we gain information. Knowledge is readily available for anyone who desires it. Today, knowledge is readily available to most people in developed countries. What was once the realm of the elite is now shared by the masses. In this age, you don’t have to be listed in Who’s Who to know what’s what.
Now if knowledge alone translated into power instantly, we would all be superheroes! In a matter of no time at all, we would be great and powerful. Teachers and educators would be the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet. But we all know this is not the case.
What is the missing link? What is that crucial step that transforms knowledge into power? The answer is quite simple: ACTION!
It’s what you do with the knowledge you acquire that defines your power. If you don’t convert knowledge into action, it will remain a source of untapped energy. Imagine sitting in your car at a gas station, and your tank is empty. The solution to your dilemma is within your grasp. All you have to do is fill up, and you can be on your way again. But until you actually get out of the car and take action, that fuel will be of no use to you whatsoever, even though it is readily available. As such, it remains untapped.
Action without knowledge = methodless enthusiasm
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Without deliberate action – fueled by enthusiasm and passion – nothing of great significance has ever been accomplished. So with all due respect to Sir Francis Bacon, the new maxim should read “knowledge plus action equals power.”
As a Business Coach, I’ve met many business owners who believe that the latest business book or seminar is the missing link to their success. They convince themselves that they simply need to gain enough information – the right information – to succeed. Learning is important. That can’t be understated. But the reality is all the knowledge and information in the world, without action, cannot help you gain what you seek.
The key to business success
It’s no ancient mystery hidden from the masses, available only to the elite few. Focusing on key business fundamentals, along with the support and encouragement to implement them systematically in your business, will lead to increased profits and a brighter future.
Ask yourself the following questions. What key principle or fundamental am I working to implement in my business right now? What am I taking action on today? Instead of attending another seminar, or buying another business book, perhaps consider taking action on the knowledge you already possess.
Let me close this post with the following quote from motivational speaker Tony Robbins:
“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.”
In your business, keep learning. But remember: action is where the money meets the road!