The Importance of Knowledge

I bet you thought we were going to start this guide with the old quote, “Knowledge is Power.” Well, you’re right, we did. Why use such an overused quote? Because it’s the one saying that accurately describes the gravity of knowledge in as few words as possible.

In the right voice, you can imagine the above saying booming through an audience. No matter the audience, religion, culture, or age group. And, the same saying will incite the same reaction from all, curiosity and a state of agreeance.

Knowledge builds character, solves problems, makes great leaders, and provides tools and opportunities to those who hold it. Learning is so important that in many countries, mandatory formal education is set in place to help ensure the right of each citizen’s access to knowledge.

What’s the Difference Between Knowledge and Education?

You’ve likely often heard the terms knowledge and education used interchangeably. Though the terms are very similar and both are well correlated to one another, there are some differences between the two. The simplified version is that education leads to knowledge.

Education is given, provided, or acquired through public or private schooling or other institutions like training centers or universities. Knowledge is an informal experience where education is an informal process to obtain that experience. Knowledge is also gained through real-life experiences, not just through the process of acquiring education.

Students acquire education by learning from teachers where students or people, in general, acquire knowledge through peers, experiences, or personal reading. You might gain the knowledge of facts, theories, and ideas through the education process, but you’ll use knowledge to apply the same facts, methods, and ideas in real life.

Knowledge and education are certainly synonyms, but they do have defining characteristics. We might refer to education as the process in this guide, but we’ll use the term knowledge as it stands differentiated from schooling.

What’s the Difference Between Knowledge and Understanding?

Mastering the difference between knowledge and understanding is tough. In the simplest of words, knowledge may be the acquisition of something intellectually, but it does not always equate to the understanding, the “click,” or connection.

The human brain has many intricate parts that control different aspects of our entire ways of being. One part of the brain controls things you don’t think about, stored movements like riding a bicycle, while a separate part of the brain controls things you do think about, like which direction you want to ride the bike.

Let’s talk about anxiety, for example. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that 40 million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety each year. Many people with anxiety know, intellectually, that their fears are not logical. But that knowledge doesn’t stop their brain from reacting with concern.

The great debate of whether “anxiety is all in your head,” will go on for centuries. Some people do find that with repetition, they can learn to calm the illogical thinking in their minds. The understanding then comes with application and practice, not merely with the knowledge.

Knowledge is Power

If you ask a group of teachers why knowledge is useful for students, you might be surprised to hear their answers. Many teachers might tell you that knowledge is grist for the mill. There’s a reason that part of standardized testing challenges a students’ ability to think critically.

The goal of educators isn’t to help students accumulate a vast collection of knowledge. The goal is to help them learn to think critically and develop the skill set that they can apply throughout life. To teach a student to think critically, teachers must give them something to think about, which is where knowledge comes in.

Knowledge does more than allow students to think critically, though. In a review of scientific literature on cognitive science, knowledge was found to make learning easier to do. So, knowledge doesn’t just accumulate; it also grows.

An easy example to cite is that of parents who read to their children. Parents learn that they should start reading to their children from a young age and continue with it, daily, if possible. Reading aloud to children helps them better their knowledge of the spoken language, which in turn gives them a leg up when learning written language.

Because they are gaining the knowledge from their parents reading to them, they’re being exposed to more of the spoken word, exercising their cognitive function, making new and repetitive connections, improving their vocabulary, concentration, and imagination. So the simple act of accumulating knowledge, let’s the knowledge grows exponentially.

How Does Knowledge Help?

We just discussed how knowledge doesn’t just accumulate; it grows. Knowing makes it easier to acquire new knowledge, to deepen understanding, and makes it easier for you to learn new things. There are three stages to learning.

The first is taking in new knowledge through listening or reading, the second is thinking about the information, and the third is the storage of that information. Think about learning math.

A teacher doesn’t just jump into the equation when teaching students about the slope-intercept. To master the concept of “y = mx+b,” a student must have background information. To understand the slope-intercept, you must know what two-variable equations are. You must also interpret y-intercept, x-intercept, and slope.

When taking in the new formula, y = mx+b, the student must have the other information discussed to break down the method and understand it accurately. Imagine how hard this formula would be if you didn’t have the knowledge that slope is how steep a line is. But with that information, it gives the formula context and makes the formula more digestible.

Knowledge Creates Opportunity

This study looks at how opportunity generation relates to the knowledge base of experienced entrepreneurs. In the survey, they consider opportunity as coming across by chance (objectively) or being created (subjectively). By combining these, the study generations four types of processes – opportunity creation, opportunity discovery, opportunity occurrence, and opportunity search.

We know that the centrality of entrepreneurism is an opportunity. You cannot have entrepreneurship without opportunity. An exciting part of entrepreneurship is how, when, and why some folks create opportunities, and others do not. In the study, Shane (2000) believes that entrepreneurs can discover opportunities that relate to their prior knowledge.

So, those who are already entrepreneurs have access to opportunities that come from their previous activities. One argument often had in this community is whether opportunities come about through diligent search or serendipity.

Let’s say I know that working parents need backup childcare. If I start a business that caters to those parents, I’ll likely network with companies that are complementary to mine. My knowledge allowed me to create a fruitful opportunity for myself and will keep allowing me to create more opportunities.

My entrepreneurship opens the door for me to create more opportunities, such as offering evening and weekend care so parents can also have a date night, or for those who need childcare for non-traditional work schedules. Either way, my previous knowledge creates more opportunities along the way.

Knowledge Creates Success

Jom Rohn said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” Self-education puts your future in your hands. The proof in that statement can be found all around the world in the success of people like social media influencers, travel bloggers, and freelance workers. Many freelancers do work for which they never sought formal education.

Each of these people taught themselves a marketable skill and ran with their ideas. Some did it right off the bat, some did it because their formal education put them in a non-lucrative field of work, and others did it to make success out of their current circumstance, like stay-at-home parents.

In this study, there was a survey of software developers, and it turns out that 69.1% of them were self-taught. That means that rather than going to school for their career field, they taught themselves. Their perseverance and will to acquire the knowledge and skillset, allowed them to create success.

Knowledge can create success in other ways, too, not just a career or opportunity wise. Keep reading to find out different ways that experience is worth its weight in gold.

Knowledge Helps People Problem Solve

Each day, you face problems that you must solve, many of which you never even bring to the forefront of your mind. You simply use your knowledge to solve the problem without ever thinking about it. Other issues cause us to sit down and actively think and come up with ways to solve the problem.

For example, if you use a monthly budget, you’re problem-solving. You’re solving the problem of where your money will go at what time of the month. You’re also facing the challenge of using the amount of money you have to cover all the bills you have. Some folks set everything to autopay and don’t give it much thought, others detail every purchase in a spreadsheet, both ways are problem solving.

If you were stuck in traffic and decided to take a back road that’s less travelled, you were problem solving. If you stopped at the store this morning to grab a few items for lunch because you left yours on the counter and couldn’t go back, you were problem-solving.

In all of the above examples, you must use the knowledge you have to solve the problem at hand. And, the more knowledge you have, the easier it is to solve problems. Could you make an accurate budget if you have no idea when your bills are due? Could you take the back road to work if you didn’t know it existed?

How To Use Knowledge To Your Advantage

You might be wondering how you can use knowledge to your advantage. That question largely depends on what your goal is. You can use knowledge to your advantage across many different aspects of your life.

The first step in taking full advantage of knowledge is understanding that for most folks in developed nations, knowledge is always available at your fingertips. That means you should never let anyone stop you from acquiring the knowledge you see. You can go into any public library without a library card and read books onsite. If you can obtain a library card, you can take books home and use the internet there for free.

If you have access to books and the internet, you can acquire new knowledge in almost any subject you wish. The next step is learning to go after the knowledge you want. Just because the knowledge is available to you, doesn’t mean that it will come quickly.

You might begin to study a topic that frustrates you, that you feel like you can’t understand. But, if the knowledge is something you truly desire, you’ll have to use your problem-solving skills to figure it out.

Using Knowledge to Improve Your Health

Knowing many different categories or topics can help you improve various parts of your life. Let’s take health, for example. We often pick up our health habits along the way, the way our parents or peers taught us, our parent’s engagement or lack of commitment on health topics, and other experiences such as at school or with peers.

You might have different knowledge of health if you were on the track team in school than if you were involved with a close group of friends who loved to play board games and watch movies in your spare time. While the first would have made you more active and aware of your body and processes, the second would have made you more inactive and unaware of body processes.

If you’re curious about your health and how to use knowledge to improve your health, you can start by researching topics like proper nutrition and exercise. From there, you might find issues that you would like to explore further such as naturopathy, holistic medical care, how to eat whole foods, or how to adopt a plant-based diet.

You might also use knowledge to improve your health by simply solving a problem you’re experiencing. For example, perhaps you don’t sleep well. So, you research the causes of poor sleep and study the different ways to remedy the problem. With some trial and error, you determine that you sleep better when you get 30 minutes of physical activity before bed.

You’ve now used the acquisition of knowledge to solve problems and improve your health!

Using Knowledge to Improve Your Relationships

Relationships are a highly important aspect of the lives of humans. We have relationships with our siblings, parents, and children, and relationships with coworkers. Each day, we come into contact with people. We have all sorts and types of different relationships. You might be wondering how to use knowledge to improve those relationships.

We can use our knowledge to improve relationships by keeping up with them rather than neglecting them. When we neglect to maintain connections, our happiness and success in that relationship suffer.

To improve your relationship with someone, anyone, you should listen, learn, and love. You may not love every person you’re involved with, personally, professionally, or casually. You probably don’t love the coffee barista you see every Wednesday, but it doesn’t take love out of the equation of improving all relationships.

Listen when others speak; ask questions for clarity. Watch your nonverbal communication. Learn the cues that others are giving you, whether verbally or nonverbally. Learn who they are, learn their patterns, and seek out stories from them to help you learn essential information about them.

Finally, let’s discuss the topic of love. Love can be thought of in the traditional sense of the word. Or, it can be taken, such as in professional relationships. You might have to sacrifice some and genuinely care, lend a hand, or put their best interests above your own to take one for your team.

Using Knowledge to Improve Your Well Being

It’s no secret that knowledge improves the well-being of individuals. Knowledge helps us become better people, collectively and individually. Knowledge creates a thirst for more knowledge, opportunity, and confidence in oneself and others. Knowledge encourages people to have more positivity.

If you want to improve your well-being, you must first think about what part of your well-being is suffering. What part of you is not happy with your current state? Once you identify the problem, you can use your knowledge to solve it.

Some common issues at play when someone’s well-being is suffering are a lack of connection with others, a lack of activity, a lack of fulfillment, or a lack of health. We already talked about how you can solve problems with your health.

If it’s any of the other common issues with well-being, you need only to develop a focus on what’s bothering you and decide to change it through self-education and knowledge. Develop your connections with others, explore hobbies and activities that fulfill you, or explore activities that will help you become more active.

Using Knowledge to Improve Your Financial Health

According to this article in Forbes Magazine, 54% of Americans are having trouble with some aspect of their financial lives. Another 17% are having trouble with most or all aspects of their financial lives, and just 29% feel confident in their ability to spend, save, plan, and borrow responsibly. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.

If you’re part of the 29% that feel confident in their abilities, don’t fall for the trap that you, too, don’t have anything further to learn. If you’re part of the 71% having trouble in at least some aspect of your financial life, the first thing you need to know is that it’s best to dive in and start now.

There are so many tips, tricks, and available resources for developing your financial knowledge that really, no one has the excuse not to learn. Even the U.S. government cares about offering resources to help folks become more financially literate. This resource is also available via the U.S. government, and their goal is to teach people the basics of finances.

Using Knowledge to Help Others

This guide has focused so far on what knowledge is, how it is helpful, and how it can benefit you. Aside from using knowledge as a tool for your success, you can use your knowledge to help fund the success of others. Although some people don’t give it much thought, many people feel that it is a disservice to live in abundance when others are struggling to meet their basic needs.

I read a Facebook post recently where the original poster was asking for advice on how to deflect when people ask for her help. She believed that she worked hard to get to the position in life that she’s in now and that her knowledge and advice are invaluable, and that if people want it, they should pay for it. She was tired of people asking her opinion on things that they knew she is very knowledgeable about without offering to pay her for that knowledge.

Do people want to be hounded for free help, probably not? Should they give people the time of day when they have knowledge that they could share without it hurting their well-being? Well, that’s up for debate.

If you feel the calling to serve others; however, there are plenty of ways to do so. Here are some ideas to get you started.


Volunteering is the quickest way to serve others, using whatever knowledge you have to share. It could be serving food at the homeless shelter and making conversation that brightens someone’s day. You could volunteer your time in a specialized field, such as writing grants for a local community agency.

Offer to Teach

If you have the time and a skill set that would benefit others, offer to teach someone something. Your office mate might be struggling with his finances, and you’re great at it! Impart a little knowledge! Your mom friend from the park might be interested in learning how to cut her kid’s hair at home to save money, if you’re a stylist, why not teach her the basics?

Offer Kindness

Using your knowledge to help serve others doesn’t always involve giving someone something. It could mean that you offer kindness to someone in time of need. You could provide your compassion when they need it most or your understanding when they’re feeling misunderstood.

When All Else Fails, Just Ask

Sometimes we want to help other people, but we don’t know-how. Don’t let not knowing what will be the most help stop you from offering. If the opportunity arises, simply ask whomever is in need how you can best help them. Some folks just want someone to listen to them; others may wish to your opinion, your insight, or your advice on a topic. You’ll never know if you don’t ask, and it takes only a minute to bring light to someone else’s’ day.

How to Challenge Yourself to Acquire Knowledge

Challenging yourself adds value to your life. When you ask the old and the wise what pieces of advice they feel are most important to give young people, it’s never what you think. The information the old, wise, and successful pass on is always unconventional. Often, it’s advice that teaches people something that will last them a lifetime.

In the world of addiction, they say that complacency leads to relapse. The same can be said in our lives when we become complacent; we find that our lives suffer. We’re no longer thriving; something is missing. Challenge yourself to challenge complacency.

You can start by continually choosing to surround yourself with those who are smarter than you, more successful, more kind, more generous, or more knowledgeable. Doing this makes some people feel uncomfortable; no one wants to be the least smart person in the world, because it doesn’t feel right.

However, imagine the opportunity created when you surround yourself with people who have so much to offer you! Challenge yourself to read one new article a day, one new book per month. Challenge yourself to have one unrushed conversation with a stranger per week. Whatever you do, push yourself to keep acquiring knowledge.

Wrapping Things Up

In this guide, we’ve learned a great many things about knowledge. We discussed the differences between knowledge, education, and understanding. At this point, you should have a more firm understanding of how and why knowledge is so essential to humans as individuals and as a collective, how knowledge makes the overall standard of living better.

You’ve also learned how to use knowledge in many ways to benefit yourself and to benefit others. If there’s one thing you should remember from this guide, it’s that you should never stop challenging yourself to learn more. To fight complacency, you must always be learning, growing, and doing.

Use your acquisition of knowledge to better your life and all those surrounding you. You’ll never wake up one day and regret becoming knowledgeable or sharing that knowledge!

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