Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Difference Between Knowledge And Wisdom

I realised today that I have become wise. I'm writing this out of a sense of amusement rather than vanity.

I had a discussion with a client about some changes she wanted made on an application. I realised even as she was speaking what changes I would need to make to the underlying database in order to display the results she wanted on the screen. After that conversation, I sat down to write out the SQL script that would make the required changes to the database.

But I didn't run it.

And at that moment, I realised the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge refers to the capacity to understand how to implement something.

Wisdom is the meta-knowledge, born of years of experience, that it's rarely that straightforward.

It's the experience of receiving another email or phone call from the client within a few hours saying, "Hey Ganesh, I just discussed this with the team, and we realised that we need the system to do something more. So when you implement your change, can you please ensure that it also does X?"

It's the experience of looking at a script I wrote earlier and thinking, "Hey, why am I doing it like this? I can do it much more simply in this other way!"

And then I have to change the script I initially wrote, and undo all the changes I had made earlier.

That's really what's changed in me. I knew SQL even 25 years ago, and I could possibly have come up with the same script even back then.

That's knowledge, and I haven't significantly added to that knowledge in so many years.

The difference is that 25 years ago, I would have implemented that change immediately.

Today, I have a voice inside me that says, "Just wait. Save this script in a file and look at it again tomorrow."

That's wisdom.

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