“Knowledge is knowing it’s a one way street. Wisdom is looking both ways anyway.”

Some people will assume that knowledge and wisdom are interchangeable. When you go to school and you bury your head in the books, you gain all sorts of knowledge. You learn all sorts of different facts about the world and its history. You learn about what is gravitational pull, where is the capital of Russia and why the sky is blue. Science is great for this purpose. These are all great things to know, but at the end of they day, they are just knowledge. They are facts.

And so, when you head out in the world and you see a “one way” sign like the one above, you have the knowledge that you are approaching a one-way street and traffic should only head in that single direction. However, wisdom is understanding that while the rule is traffic should head in that one direction, it isn’t always the case. Wisdom will tell you that there are people in this world who don’t follow those rules. Wisdom will tell you that a drunk driver might come barreling down the street in the wrong direction.

Knowledge might come from reading books or watching videos, but wisdom comes from personal observation and experience. Another great example involving traffic would be a pedestrian crosswalk. Knowledge is knowing that the pedestrian always has the right of way. Wisdom is making sure the car stops for you before you cross the street. You might be right, but I don’t have to tell you who loses when that car crashes into you. You could get seriously injured or even die, but you’d be “right.”

What’s fascinating is that wisdom might mean temporarily discarding your knowledge to explore other possibilities. After all, creativity and common sense are incompatible. If everyone tells you that it has to be a certain way, giving you that “knowledge” of convention, you may never break free of the mold to create something utterly revolutionary. Wisdom is knowing that the world is filled with infinite possibilities and everything that we “know” is little more than a best guess.

It’s a shame that the above quote is from an anonymous source, as it provides an incredible life lesson. Don’t get me wrong; you’re allowed not to know something as long as you have the motivation to learn. But you also have to recognize that simple knowledge is never really enough. Wisdom is far superior.