Knowledge and wisdom are used interchangeably, but in reality they are much different things.

The Important Psychological Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. ― Confucius

At a first glance, knowledge and wisdom seem like seemingly identical notions and are often used interchangeably.

Upon a closer examination of what these words truly mean, their obvious differences become transparent. Let’s start by taking a look at their definitions:

Knowledge is defined as the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Using these definitions alone, it appears that one can have knowledge without wisdom- but not wisdom without knowledge. So, what does all of this mean?

Knowledge and wisdom are used interchangeably, but in reality they are much different things.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”  Fran Lebowitz

Knowledge is something we acquire on a daily basis, and often subconsciously.

Knowledge is a currency for the intellectual mind: it is something that can be attained, collected, and stored away. Literature, travel, education, and research are all methods of acquiring knowledge.  One can travel to a foreign country with no previous experience, yet navigate its cities with a confident effortlessness due to mastering the language beforehand, studying its urban geography, and learning the social customs.

One of the most universally useful tools one can have for navigating life is developing a broad range of knowledge. It breaks down barriers, makes us stronger leaders, and transforms us into better candidates for accomplishing our professional and personal goals. Without knowledge, we wouldn’t be able to go very far in life at all, and the world would remain a dangerously confusing place.

Wisdom, on the other hand, is a much different beast.

Unlike knowledge, wisdom is not so freely attainable. Many times, wisdom manifests from the deeply unpleasant realities in life such as failure, loss, and emotional defeats. Wisdom comes from all of the times the insurance of knowledge wasn’t enough to protect you, the times you did end up alone and lost in that unfamiliar city,  the times you had to pull yourself together without any clue as to what direction your next step should be.

“With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” Oscar Wilde

It’s possible to be the most well-read person since Alexander Pope, hold four PhDs, speak three languages backwards and still not be wise.

Wisdom requires the uncomfortable task of honest self-reflection, the emotional discipline of accepting defeat, and a whisper of optimism. As it stands, there are a lot of people who are limited by their stubbornness,  and consequently, repeat the same course of action over and over again, yielding the same results.

To be wise requires the exposure to a variety of life experiences, a tolerance to failure, and the willingness to adapt behavior accordingly.

The pursuit of intellectual and philosophical growth does not end at any stage of life.

Retirement offers a wonderous amount of potential for personal development. The baby boomer generation has transformed the entire concept of retirement by taking complete advantage of this new stage of their lives. Boomers are actively pursuing new interests, sharpening their creative skills, and even investing in entrepreneurial projects.

TeddyCan offers several tools for all curious and intellectually provocative individuals:

Our Re-Search engine is an extremely valuable tool for conducting research, seeking out new material, or inquiring information that is not easily found through other mainstream search engines.

For those of you who are invested in learning or strengthening their mathematical, programming, or science skills, we also have a tutoring service available.

And, as you know, our blog remains a great resource for any boomer interested in educating themselves on health and wellness, personal development, travel, and more.

We are glad to support you in your journey to becoming a wiser, happier, and more well-rounded person.