Do You Apply What You Know?

I believe that success, any success, is derived from two things: knowledge and acting on that knowledge. I know quite a few people who are very knowledgeable, but never act on that knowledge. They are stuck because they don’t apply, or act, on that knowledge.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” This quote is a good beginning for anyone trying to turning their live around.

Let’s break down this quote to truly understand how it applies to us.

  1. Let’s look at the first word, knowing. If we are to continue to grow, we have to continue to learn, to know things. Only when know something can we be accountable or do something about it. We should strive to be life long learners.
  2. Now, lets take the first sentence, knowing is not enough; we must apply. As we gain knowledge, we are then accountable for that knowledge. We must apply that knowledge to our lives and act on it.
  3. Willing. That one word evokes a positive mental picture, as in “I am willing to…..”. But, like applying knowledge, being willing is just the first step.
  4. Willing is not enough; we must do. We have to act to help ourselves and others. Action, or doing, is the only way things get done.  You can be willing, but not act. Successful, happy are known for their actions, not for their willingness to act.

Now that we have broken down the quote, can you see how powerful it is? Knowledge without acting is worthless. Being willing without doing is worthless.

How many people do you know (or you may be one of them) that go to seminars, counseling, coaching or read the latest self-help books and still are no further along their journey to success than they were at the beginning? Unless you act on what you learn, you are wasting your time and money.

How many times in history has good people walked by someone in need and ignored them? The parable of The Good Samaritan comes to mind. Two very knowledgeable men came by the person in need and did nothing. However, a third man came by the person in need. He actually stopped and helped the person.

Let me ask you a few questions.

  1. So, are you applying what you know?
  2. If you are willing, do actually follow through and act?
  3. Are you continuing to learn?

Continue to learn, and then act on that knowledge. Don’t just be willing, do something.


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