Knowledge is not power.

7 October 2019


I'm sure you've heard the saying: "Knowledge is Power" right?

Most people have, because it's been bandied around since it was first attributed to Sir Francis Bacon in 1597.  

And I'm all for ancient wisdom, but in this case it's just NOT true any more.  

You see, in 1597 knowledge was hard to come by.  Communication was primarily verbal, contained in books, or penned by those who could read or write in letters, that took months to arrive.  So, being well informed generally meant that you were either rich or extremely well connected.

And, to educate yourself and thereby gain some advantage was also challenging and largely based on factors outside your control.

Knowing things that other people didn't could be easily used to your advantage because knowledge was hard to come by and not many people had it.  

So those who had it became powerful.

Fast forward to 2019 and knowledge is everywhere.  You have instant access to the bulk of the worlds information  everywhere you go in your smartphone.

You can literally watch Harvard University lectures on Quantum Mechanics while sitting on the toilet at 3am.

You can instantaneously find out the answer to virtually any question you have.

And of course, you achieve any goal you ever set just by downloading 'xyz' online course for three easy payments of $29.95.

In the words of Derek Sivers 'If more information was the answer we'd all be billionaires with six pack abs..."

Knowledge is no longer power.  Now the power is 'Implementation'.

Implementation is Power.  

By 'implementation' I mean taking the exact action that is required to fully utilse knowledge.

Last week I recommended a book, Profit First.  I know a bunch of people who have read the book and think it's great!

They talk about what a great idea it is and how smart to run your business like that...

BUT they never went to the trouble of actually taking the steps recommended in the book.  Guess what, they're still struggling with money and not making profit in their businesses.

This is one of the traps of consuming a lot of information in the form of business books, podcasts, online courses... there's just so much information that it can be overwhelming.  It can be difficult to prioritise.

As well as that, there's a real tendency for continuous consumption of information to feel like progress.  It actually feels like you're in pursuit of your goals!  You hear a great idea and get pumped, but then the next idea comes along and you forget the first one and on an on it goes with no action...

What's the solution?

Here is what I recommend to people who read or listen a lot:

The very next book you read, or podcast you listen to keep a pen and notepad handy.

When you hear something and think:  'Oh yeah I have to do that!  That would make all the difference!'  Stop reading.

Write it down at the top of the page then answer all these questions:

1.  What material difference will the change make?   i.e. Will it make you money instantly?  Will it make more money over the long term?  Will it create more freedom for you?  Will result in less errors?  Be realistic and clear.

2.  What do you think is the size of the impact?  i.e  Estimate the size of the impact of the change.  If it's more money - how much?  If it's more time - how much?  If it's less errors - how many?  You get the gist.

3.  Now, how much time and money will it take for you to implement this change to the point that it is 100% automatic in your business?  Think about all the preparation, training,  systems, meetings etc.  Be clear and put figures around this.

After you've done these three steps you should have a pretty clear picture of whether it's worth doing.

If you decide that it is - go do it.

Don't read any more.

Instead of reading create a plan for how you're going to implement the change.

  • What has to change?
  • Who needs to know?  
  • How will you train them?
  • How will you make sure it happens regularly or reliably?
  • How will you measure that the change was effective?

Now you have your plan - Implement!

Implementing 1 good idea a year is better than reading 100 books full of good ideas.

Once you're satisfied that your change or idea has bedded in and is now 'business as usual' you can keep reading or listening to that book and find the next great idea.

Make implementation your superpower and watch your business thrive.

Have fun.

Brett Baker :)
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