FUNCTIONAL WISDOM

How to Close the Knowledge-Action Gap

Knowledge void of practice does not make an impact

In Summary

•You positively impact your environment when you practice the knowledge of the skills that you have acquired

•We all have areas of life where our practice is yet to catch up with our knowledge

 I knew a medical doctor who enjoyed cigarettes – smoking was his lifestyle. His years of medical training and practice did not stop him from engaging in a habit that could cause health problems. He knew the facts, could excellently explain the harmful effects of cigarettes on the body, but his knowledge and practice did not match. This example is proof that knowing is different from doing.

This is a simple, yet powerful principle. Many people experience the gap between what they know and what they do in different areas of their lives. They know the facts, but do not practice. To be fair, it is rare to find someone who practices all they know. We all have areas of life where our practice is yet to catch up with our knowledge.

To attain higher levels of growth, it helps to understand and apply this principle consciously. Effective leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals are those who are conscious of their knowledge-action gaps in key areas and create systematic growth plans to close them. You increase your chances of success when you successfully close your knowledge-action gap. When what you do is in sync with what you know, you become authentic. Here, knowledge goes from mere information to functional wisdom.

In the twenty-first century, easy access to so much information creates the misconception that knowledge automatically creates change. Some people feel that knowledge equals becoming – this is not always true. Typically, knowledge initiates the process. Furthermore, knowledge plus practice deepens understanding and more practice eventually creates a professional who is an authority in their field. Knowledge void of practice does not make an impact. You positively impact your environment when you practice the knowledge of the skills that you have acquired.

So, how do you close the knowledge-action gap? One: decide on the desired impact. What positive changes do you want your knowledge to make in people’s lives? What kind of impact do you want to make with what you know? The nature of your desired impact would be your drive.

Two: take small steps. Do not wait to make a massive impact before you start. Do what you can where you are and that is enough. The idea is to do something with what you know, no matter how small.

Three: be accountable. Find ways to connect with someone or group that holds you accountable for your commitments. Do not do it alone so that you have help to stay the course – consistency is key.

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