Knowledge is Power

Learning to act, and not be acted upon

The principles that govern success, individual, leadership, and organizational greatness

Walking in

Every year my family likes to go camping at the Tetons, and every year we try to pick one night to walk down to the lake together well after dark. We lie down on the rocky shore and stare in wonder at the Milky Way galaxy splashed against the black canvas of the night sky and marvel at the wonder of it all.

Once we’ve had our fill, we then try to navigate our way back to camp with our flashlights, which can be terrifically entertaining.

It’s always a little precarious, because at any given time only a portion of the path is illuminated.

And while you’re focused on trying to not trip over some malicious root, you’ll get whacked upside the head by a conspiring branch. Then, when you try to focus on not having your eye’s poked out, you’ll stub your toe or trip on a rock.

Making this journey with 7 kids (yes I have 7), means your attention is also distracted by the hilarity of the forest reeking havoc on your children, and of course the simultaneous worry of stumbling into a bear (I hope they aren’t reading this). In the day, it’s no problem. In the night, it’s chaos.

The limits of

One of our greatest constraints in life is simply our ability to be aware of everything in our environemnt at once.

We’re only able to act upon, or react to, what we’re aware of… what we can “see”. We can only plan for what we can perceive. Like walking by flashlight over rough terrain on a dark night.

But there is always so much more outside of our awareness, than within. And these things, whether we perceive their presence or not, are still there, and impact our journey.

They’re indisputable elements of the systems within which we operate, and which we are subject to, whether we are aware of them or not. The branch that we don’t see is no less present for our lack of awareness of it.

Lacking knowledge
we become victims

When we are not conscious of the principles and powers and processes inherent to the life-systems within which we operate, we become victim to them. Our lack of awareness of them doesn’t make us immune to their influence.

A child burning their hand on a hot stove because he didn’t understand the meaning of the bright orange glow emanating from the burner.

A business that fails to sustainably differentiate because they don’t understand and plan for value entropy, and therefore loses market relevance because they fail to continuously innovate.

A manager whose employees continually underperform and who experiences high attrition because she doesn’t understand how to inspire, engage, and align them to do great work.

Someone who fails to rise in success within their role—or their life—because they don’t know or understand the principles that would lead to their success.

We’re often “acted upon” by principles outside of our awareness, and become victim to them. And then we feel victimized because we fail and don’t understand why. When this happens we often falsely (and tragically) attribute the blame to our identity: We think we’re not strong enough, or good enough, or smart enough, etc., when the reality is we just didn’t know the principles that could have led us to success.

With knowledge
comes power

But when we are aware of the fundamental principles that govern success in any given endeavor, we have power to act, instead of being acted upon. We have power to leverage them and gain advantage because of them. This knowledge gives us power in life, and it’s often what distinguishes those who move forward, who build and maintain momentum in life, and who do great things, from everyone else.

In life, in business, in school, in parenting, in relationships… in every endeavor, our ability to learn the governing principles is one of the primary drivers of success.


So if you want to increase your success in life, then you must increase your efforts to learn. Otherwise get used to where you’re at, because that’s where you’ll stay.

Individuals who want to truly impact the world, who want to make a difference, who want build and maintain momentum, and who want to succeed and surface in today’s highly-competitive economy need to up their game.

Organizations that want to continuously outperform their competitors need to be organizations who prioritize and invest in learning and development, who foster a culture of curiosity and who support and reward formal and informal education.

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You completed this principle! Great work. Each principle you learn gives you more power and control in life. Below are some additional principles you might find interesting, or click here to go the the Principle Knowledge Base, for the full directory of principles.

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