Information vs Knowledge

An April 2006 article in the Harvard Business Review by Laurence Prusak argues that the world may not be as flat as Thomas Friedman suggests in his book, The World is Flat. Prusak argues that what keeps the world round and Bangalore far from Boston is the difference between information and knowledge. Knowledge, he says, not information is the key to prosperity. He writes:

"What's the difference between information and knowledge?

Information is a message, one-dimensional and bounded by its form: a document, an image, a speech, a genome, a recipe, a symphony score.

Knowledge results from the assimilation and connecting of information through experience, most often through apprenticeship or mentoring.

While the cost of obtaining, storing, and moving information has plummeted, the cost of doing so with knowledge hasn't dropped much at all."

Cracking the Code on Knowledge

Prusak asks how do we crack the code on knowledge acquisition. He says it takes "about the same time today to learn French, calculus or chemistry as it did 200 years ago."

I'd like you to consider that it is possible to accelerate the acquisition of knowledge using the tools of KnowWare--your mental software.

French, calculus and chemistry are capabilities. There are beliefs and values that will allow you to acquire these capabilities more easily. I know people who believe that you can gain a basic fluency in a language (500 words) in 48 hours. But you have to value learning the language or you won't even try.

Learning how to swing a golf club is one of the behaviors of the sport, but Jack Nicholas thinks that golf shots are 90% visualization and 10% swing. This is a different breed of thought.

Cloning Genius

I have found that if I model the beliefs and values of at least three experts, extract their common beliefs, values and capabilities, and install them in my mind that I can gain a basic fluency in their domain of knowledge in a matter of hours.

I may never develop the full scale knowledge of the experts, but I can learn the essential skills that will vault me up the ladder of knowledge.

I don't plan on developing the stand up comedy skill of my Seventh Sense co-author, Karyn Ruth White, but I have learned how to think like a comedian (and she'll tell you I'm funnier than I used to be).

Beliefs and Values

Current teaching methods start with behaviors and hope that you will somehow abstract the capabilities, beliefs and values from exercises. If you install the beliefs and values first and then exercise the behaviors and capabilities, you will acquire that knowledge much more quickly.

When I go to a seminar, read a book or listen to a course, I listen for the author's or speaker's beliefs, values, and big picture insights. If I hear a sales person talk about the either-or closing technique, I know that's a behavior. But if I hear them say: selling means asking questions, I know that's a belief.

Beliefs take the form: A means B or A causes B or B because A. When I hear that syntax, I know I'm hearing a belief. Here's a belief I got from Jay Abraham's about developing marketing materials and products:

You have no right to determine what the customer wants or is willing to pay. Your job is to test different combinations to see which one works best.

I know a lot of people who get caught up in how to market and price their products or services. They're looking for the "right" answer before they've tried anything. The right answer is to test a variety of offers and see which one customers respond to.

Values are easily obtained by asking: "What's important to you about _____?" The answer to that question will give you the core values a genius carries about their expertise. For example: What's important to me about writing? Communicating ideas about how to better run our brains and our minds to live a better life. Secondly, it helps me organize my thinking.

People talk about their beliefs and values all the time. All you have to do is turn on your ears and listen. Then try them on, especially if they are better than yours. I recently realized that I have believed that healing takes time. My friend Mike believes that healing can happen in an instant. I don't know about you, but I like his belief better than mine. Cancer patients sometimes experience spontaneous remission. I've taken Echinacea and stopped a cold in its startup phase. Once you belief that healing can happen in an instant, it becomes more possible.

You Don't Have to Know Everything to Do Any Thing

You don't have to know everything to do anything, but you do have to know the essential beliefs, values and capabilities. There are people in your everyday life that have outstanding beliefs and values about how to live, work and play be

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