In the movie The Paper Chase, a Harvard law student boasted to professor Kingsfield about his photographic memory. Kingsfield told him that his photographic memory would not help him.
Why? Because facts are only information. Our ability to put facts together is what makes us a person of knowledge. It is knowledge of a subject that enables us to deal with it effectively. To run your business successfully, you need to have knowledge of whatever your business is. But what are the components of knowledge, and what are its obstacles? Where do we look to find true knowledge, and how do we go about developing it for ourselves?
To be a person of knowledge, we need the ability to think logically. We need to be able to follow a train of thought to its logical conclusion. It’s not to say that to be a person of knowledge we need to become a Mr. Spock or Commander Data from the Star Trek episodes, but we do need to be able to think in a manner that just makes sense. Based on my observations, emotional tangents are often the biggest reason people aren’t able to think logically.
Human beings are emotional creatures. We have feelings about everything. A person of knowledge does not live in denial or suppression of their emotions. However, they don’t go spinning out with those emotions either. In the world of investments, the common cliché is “greed and fear” as people spin out with either of these emotions. Since we all experience greed and fear, how can we maintain our balance as we evaluate our investment opportunities? Investing takes courage and, as it has been said, “Courage is 50 percent fear.” But is there a deeper value to emotions? Can our emotions actually serve us in the business world?
A wide spectrum of emotions are experienced — from intense and course to refined and subtle. As these emotions become more refined and subtle, they can become an effective tool to use in the business world. Our ability to evaluate facts is not just based on logic, but it’s also about feelings — fine feelings — whether they are a gut feeling, an inner sense of knowing or intuition.
Taking the time to work through our knee-jerk, intense, emotional reactions to access our finer feelings is a critical part to becoming a person of knowledge. First and foremost, this can be obtained by not acting impulsively, but by giving ourselves the space and time required to reach an emotional balance within ourselves. This, in some instances, can take but a moment and, in other instances, may require more time and outside help to determine what is going on.
Reason is the integration of logic and our finest feelings. On this level, our decisions become truly reasonable. Decisions are not based on unbridled emotion or illogical thinking, but rather on a reasonable decision-making process. The ability to reason is what being a person of knowledge is about. It is the gateway to making wise business decisions. These wise decisions benefit all areas of your business as well as other aspects of your life.
Depth of the ocean.
As we deepen our ability to stay centered, grounded and stable within ourselves, we further develop our ability to reason, to become a person of knowledge. Great CEOs all share this quality. It has been compared to the depth of the ocean. As the waves of life’s experiences swell, and if the ocean is not deep, the slightest waves stir the mud at the bottom, clouding one’s vision and ability to reason.
As the ocean deepens, even the greatest waves of emotion and challenges in life do not stir the mud at the bottom. One’s knowledge, insight and vision remain clear. In the real world, even the greatest of CEOs get stirred and cloudy at times. But when it happens, they know it and, instead of acting from that place, they take the time to get stable and clear before they proceed.
Deepening your ocean.
There are numerous methods people employ to deepen their ocean or, in other words, attain a level of greater inner stability and clarity. The obvious ones include getting enough rest, taking time off, eating well and getting exercise. Even understanding the principles described in this article can inspire people to become a person of true knowledge by simply not allowing themselves to get carried away by emotions. A person just needs to do their best to think logically while not denying their feelings, and embrace those feelings by employing reason.
Perhaps the most powerful tool, which is only beginning to gain in popularity, is proper meditation. There are all sorts of meditations — ranging from mind control to attitude management to concentration and contemplation. But, in my experience, the most powerful and effective form of meditation must be natural. Just as the physical body has natural mechanisms which guide the healing of a cut finger, so too are there natural mechanisms to deepen the ocean of one’s psyche. The most powerful tool to facilitate that is a natural meditation, and the best I have found is the Surya Ram Meditation. Whether you choose to meditate or not, I would strongly encourage you to strive to become a person of knowledge, not only in business, but in all aspects of your life.