To know a tomato is a fruit is knowledge, to not put a tomato in a fruit salad is wisdom.
I would like to use this a popular meme to highlight a source of mismanagement of our interactions with each other.
We need to distinguish between the three concepts: Information, knowledge and wisdom.
Information is random facts or figures. The world is full of it. We can search anything under the sun and we will find sites full of information.
Knowledge is when we assimilate the information into ourselves and know how it applies to us. We form opinions and assumptions by taking the information through the filtering process of our belief systems, mental models and prior knowledge.
Wisdom is when we use our knowledge appropriately. Our meme is a good example. That a tomato is a fruit is just information, the fact that I know I have tomatoes in the fridge is knowledge. Wisdom is when I put the tomato in a green salad and not a fruit salad.
Let us take this line of thought into our interpersonal interactions. I may know something about myself related to you. For example I tell you: “You look good in that jacket, it complements the color of your eyes”. When I share this with you, it is just information that you receive.
When you take this information and interpret it in the context of what to wear to the next party, it becomes knowledge. It becomes wisdom when you use this knowledge to impress your date at the restaurant.
Most interpersonal communication is just sharing information. “It will be cold today”, “Did you see the game last night?” It is only when we take the information and personalize it that it becomes knowledge. So be careful what information you make knowledge. We do not need to take every opinion of every individual personally. We can keep it in the safe zone of just information they are sharing. It is their opinion.
When we trust the source of the information, then we can personalize it. Personalized information becomes knowledge but also be wise in using it. Even from a trusted source, knowledge must be applied appropriately.
Sometimes you do not want to look lovely for a date, but professional to close a deal. You are in charge of using the knowledge you have. Be wise.
Sharing my info