This I Believe

Doug - Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 22, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in the pursuit of wisdom.

As an engineer I have had the privilege to travel the earth working with many people in different countries and cultures to improve their production facilities in the aluminum industry. Three of these locations have stuck with me. Two of the facilities were new with the latest mills and technology. By comparison, the third facility had been put together with second hand equipment, some actually taken from Germany to England after the Great War. On paper, the first two had everything and the third had nothing, yet the former were struggling to make a profit and the latter was growing and profiting at a huge rate. All the facilities had access to the same technical “know-how” so why the difference?

The internet has given the world unprecedented access to knowledge for the cost of a computer. In America many people measure success by the value of their assets and, despite what the Colleges and Universities of this country would have you believe, by that measure there are huge numbers of very successful people without much education. Likewise, there are also a significant number of very well educated and knowledgeable losers out there. The difference I found, like those I worked with in the second hand plant, is their eagerness to apply their knowledge and build on it.

I can only conclude that power does not come from knowledge – it comes from how we use our knowledge – the wisdom of our decisions. The wise use of a small amount of knowledge will easily outwit any educated fool. The freedoms we all enjoy in this country are based on how we use what we know. Regardless of how much we know, it is our individual responsibility to apply it to our lives and use it wisely. With our democratic freedoms we must also accept the consequences of our actions. We are collectively responsible for our current economic crisis. We must reflect on the wisdom of some of our past actions and apply the lessons learned to our decisions – individually and collectively.

I know many people throughout the world who also work hard to make tough decisions based on what they know, to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others and, above all, to apply those lessons to current decisions. I have joined them in the activity that, for me, provides the greatest hope for making our world a better place for future generations – the application of knowledge – the pursuit of Wisdom.

This I Believe!