“Less knowledge, more wisdom.” (Unattributed saying)

I wish I knew who said this the first time. It’s a great goal and someone should get credit. Maybe some day I’ll be remembered for something equally pithy. For today, I’m just going to use it as inspiration.
youngrh 001bwoldgrh


I have included two photos with this post. For the sake of argument let’s suppose the young man  represents “less knowledge” and that older gentleman  is supposed to represent “more wisdom.” I have personal experience with both of these guys so you’ll just have to trust me on this premise.

The younger one is about twenty years old. He’s on his way to a college degree, barely. He’s bright enough to make good grades but not very motivated to try. He’s pretty self-confident but his greatest accomplishment thus far is winning a horseshoes tournament. He thinks he’s knowledgeable and worldly because he’s always attended good schools. He’s popular with the opposite sex but clueless when it comes to relationships. He’s a hard worker but only when he has to be. He reads but not for fun. His world is a college town where anything goes as long as he doesn’t break any laws. Wisdom is not his best thing.

The older one is about sixty. He’s been around the block more times than he can count. He’s earned every one of those gray hairs the hard way. He’s highly motivated to try anything even if he never makes the grade. He’s more humble than confident because he knows better. His 25 years of business ownership speaks for itself. He is knowledgeable and worldly in spite of his schooling. He finally found the right girl but he’s still pretty clueless about women. He’s on call 24/7 and he never misses a chance to help. He reads and writes for fun. His world is the universe where anything goes that doesn’t break the laws of physics. Wisdom is his only thing.

So here we have two unique individuals who couldn’t be more different. One is confident for no good reason and the other is circumspect for very good reasons. One knows just enough to be dangerous and the other knows too much to take risks. One works because he has to and the other works because he wants to. One knows no limits and the other knows his. One is wise and one is otherwise.

Ready to guess? It’s me, of course. That young man eventually became that old man. He grew up, got married, raised a family, ran a successful business and then finally got a little wiser.  As I approach my 60th birthday this month, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my youth. Boy, was I clueless or what? I got by on looks and a fun-loving personality. I had no idea what life was really about. Ignorance was absolute bliss. It was great and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Maturity or wisdom or common sense, or whatever we choose to call it, is worth the price but there’s only one way to get it. We have to experience it. Reading a book or listening to a lecture barely scratches the surface of real understanding. I was never a great college student. I didn’t learn how to learn till after my Dad sat me down and explained it to me. All he said was, “You’re going to spend the rest of your life learning new things, college will help you learn how to learn.” I think it was at that very moment that I grasped the most important concept of all, listen to those who know more than you do.

The best part about being older and wiser? Now I get to do the talking and the rest of you will listen. I think the grey beard and wrinkles really help with my credibility and respect. No one doubts my experience and young people actually ask for my help. I met a young Asian guy in the supermarket last week and he wanted my advice on how to cook steaks on the grill. I was thrilled to share my secrets. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him he picked the wrong kind of meat but at least they tasted okay with my help. (Tip of the day – big steaks aren’t always good steaks.)

I’m not sure I’m ready for sage status yet but another ten years should get me there. Am I wiser than most? Maybe but that’s not really my goal. I don’t measure myself against others. My only competition is with myself. I don’t ever want to feel secure or self-satisfied or accomplished. What would I do the next day? I want to be open for new business every day of my life. The truth is I know, positively, far less than I ever did. Every bit of information I possess just leads me to a hundred more questions. On the other hand, the ability to apply my knowledge, wisdom if you will, is plentiful and worth every ounce of sweat it took me to get it. Let me leave you with one great Japanese saying, “Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on an ass’s back.” That was me, forty years ago.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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14 Responses to “Less knowledge, more wisdom.” (Unattributed saying)

  1. kcsuz says:

    a wonderful and very handsome man. The young guy is good looking too! 🙂 Love the end quote! xo Happy Early Birthday!

    • grhgraph says:

      Thanks for the compliment. God must know better. He makes us more attractive when we have no other qualities. Thank you Lord.

  2. Jan says:

    Another thought-provoking message! It’s amazing how life experiences continue to teach us to become wiser over time. Enjoy your Birthday this month. I wish you the best!

    • grhgraph says:

      Thanks Jan. This post has been in my head for some time now. I think we need more wisdom. We all think we KNOW a lot but being able to do something with what we know is what separates us. I still enjoy scratching my head in bewilderment as I experience life each day. It sounds like you do too.

  3. gwenna says:

    As I’ve often said, I believe we trade wisdom for youth. Let’s hope it continues for both of us!
    Happy Birthday! Celebrate BIG! 🙂

    • grhgraph says:

      I will be on the road on my birthday but next Sunday we’re planning a dinner out with my Mom. She deserves most of the credit for this occasion. The only part of getting older I would gladly exchange for my youth are all the aches and pains. I probably should have taken better care of myself.

  4. stormy1812 says:

    Happy Birthday! I remember my dad having a shirt that said: To be old and wise you must first be young and stupid. It was stated humorously but it’s the absolute truth…mostly anyway. You’re so right about having to experience things in order to really learn. I just wish, at times anyway, I could have learned certain lessons earlier. Time is precious so to learn things that take time for me at this moment is frustrating because I would have liked to have been able to save some time. Oh well. Another great post! 🙂

  5. EunJeong says:

    I came to your blog by accident! it was a great piece of writing! I really enjoyed reading it and it touched my heart! thank you!

    • grhgraph says:

      Peggy is it?
      Thanks for the nice words. I write because it helps me clear my head. It’s always good to hear that others think I’m worth reading. I do take requests too. If you can find a great quote please forward it to me and I will do my best to tell a great story.
      Guy Horst

      • EunJeong says:

        Here is my request if you don’t mind. I came across a quotes when I was googling something, and it strikes me that this sounds really solitude itself but on the other hand, sounds a way opposite! I want to hear what you are going to create a story by your interpretation! thank your for allowing me write a post here!

  6. EunJeong says:

    Ooppsss! here’s a quotes! ” I was never less alone than when by myself.” – Edward Gibbon-

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