Written By Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
For centuries the phrase “knowledge is power” has been used and recycled by many well-known authors, speakers and motivators. The first documented use of the phrase goes all the way back to in the tenth-century book Nahj Al-Balagha written by Imam Ali (599-661 CE). Thomas Jefferson, Kofi Annan, Hellen Keller, John F Kennedy, have all used this thought-provoking statement. I am not one to argue with greatness and people far wiser than myself, but I find difficulty in this concept. In my opinion, knowledge is powerless unless it is put to use! I am not alone in this thought. David J Schwartz is quoted in his book The magic of thinking big, writing “Knowledge is power only when put to use – and then only when the use made of it is constructive.”
I have spent a large percentage of my adult life coaching and educating others on the skills necessary to achieve success in sales. I incorporate many of my own ideas as well as concepts and teachings from others. I have learned many of these concepts directly from the source and have spent a stockpile of hours self-educating from books or seminars where these valuable insights were shared. I have read the same books and sat next to many people at these seminars, yet why do most never achieve the success or results from the concepts they learn. Typically, we are ultra-motivated after reading or hearing these ideas, yet failure to see a result is a common occurrence. Is there something wrong with the teaching? Or something wrong with the student?
The key to success is not to acquire knowledge, rather to apply that knowledge and put it to use for yourself. This is where most people fall short. I have seen this countless times with individuals that I personally shared the secrets, skills, and tools that have helped me achieve success and top-producer status in every selling environment I have been a part of. They had the knowledge, just failed to make it actionable. I take responsibility that I did not adequately motivate each individual to put it to use, but the responsibility is ultimately on the student. You can read every book and blog from the greatest sales gurus of all time. Whether it is the originals such as Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy or the current heavy hitters like Grant Cardone, Anthony Iannarino, Jeb Blount, or Jordan Belfort, they all would tell you that knowing what to do and doing it produce very different results. Why have they all been so successful? Not because they had the knowledge. Their success is completely based in their ability to make their knowledge actionable.
There are a ton of dreamers in this world, but not too many doers. If you want to truly reach your potential, you must stop learning to learn and start learning to apply. This is the secret to success. How you will turn your dreams into reality. To apply knowledge takes practice. An elite athlete does not come into gameday and expect to apply the playbook for the first time on the field and win the game. A musician does not hit the stage and play a song for the first time expecting the audience to enjoy it or cheer for an encore. Nor can a salesperson enter a sales interaction and first apply the learned skills expecting a closed deal or success. Practice is the vehicle that takes us to the desired end point. You cannot expect success (or anything good in life) to come without hard work. Apply what you learn from the greats and other successful people through practice and preparation. When you get to game time, run the game plan as practiced, win the game.
Walt Disney is famous for saying “If you dream it, you can do it”. There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but you must remember to follow another iconic slogan, “Just do it”! Give the knowledge you acquire the power it deserves by putting that knowledge into ACTION!