Why the View Knowledge is Power is Limiting You

Mar 22, 2020

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

“Knowledge is power”; you’ve probably heard this phrase a million times since your childhood. It is, in fact, one of the most commonly used phrases in academia and also often loved by parents and career coaches. Unfortunately, this statement has now become so deeply ingrained in the human mind that it is almost impossible to think any other way. No wonder most people are fearful of being asked something that they don’t know about!

The Reality of Why You Want to ‘Know’ More

Have you ever wondered why you have such a great need to ‘know’ everything? Do you criticise yourself for being occasionally ignorant?

Perhaps you can trace this pattern and the years of programming back to your childhood. You may recall a teacher dismissing you for asking too many questions in class; or your exhausted parents trying to get some rest or eat dinner. When you grew up, your manager, despite being knowledgeable, might have failed to guide you in your career. Here’s the cue-you probably need to reflect on these experiences and think about why exactly did you always feel the need to have all the information before you went ahead and did something.

Experts in the field of human psychology are now contending this age-old belief that says ‘knowledge is power’. There is an increasing amount of research that points towards the negative consequences of acquiring excessive knowledge. Some even say that it can lead to madness.

If you think about it, people are hungry for knowledge, and some crave it more than the average person. In fact, you will also come across those who devote their lives attempting to understand and “know” everything and may drive themselves crazy when they discover that it is impossible.

If unfamiliar environments and changes make you uncomfortable, here are some tools that you can use to feel more empowered:

Build friendships and share learning at work

When you form friendships at work and share personal interests, it is a lot easier to approach team member for help too. The information exchange is smoother when you are first able to eliminate the hurdle of unfamiliarity. A known person’ reaction is easier to predict and there is a lesser chance of feeling judged.

Don’t assume that understanding is inborn

Technology is changing on a day-to-day basis and what was relevant yesterday may not have any significance today. And while people are programmed to use specific methodologies and tools, that doesn’t always render them appropriate or updated for business on a given day. If you wish to grow, then the first step is to accept that you might be unaware of the latest way of executing a task. Only then can you push yourself to take rational steps and have valuable discussions which ultimately lead to improvements in business.

 Feeling scared about ‘not knowing’ something is natural. It is usually associated with impending changes in one’s life, unknown people and events and unpredictable situations. But this does not mean that you need to have all the answers before you take the smallest step. It is important to acknowledge the things that make you feel unsure. This acknowledgement will help you to identify solutions and make a positive change. And finally, you will feel empowered!

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