I sometimes lead a short personal leadership course for the incoming real estate grad students at the University of Florida. I often tell them the unofficial theme of the course is “To Know and Not Do is to Not Know.”

One of my goals is to put “old heads on young shoulders,” in essence to convert knowledge into wisdom, to speed the emotional maturity process. Knowledge is to wisdom as fresh grapes are to fine wine.

I tell my students that much of what I will share with them they already know at some level; my task is to move that knowledge from the back corridors of their intellectual consciousness to the forefront of their emotional awareness so that it becomes a meaningful part of their daily lives.

If I can create that emotional connection, I will have succeeded. If I do not, I will have failed and failure is not an acceptable outcome. So I ask for their commitment to help us achieve this mutual goal.

I emphasize that I teach what I most want to learn, that if they emerge from our interactions with a deeper commitment to life-long learning then our time will have been well spent.

Often those of great intellectual prowess are tempted to disdain common sense as too plebeian to hold meaningful solutions to complex issues. I remind my students not to overlook the diligent practice of common sense, because common sense is rarely common practice. And the positive effect of its continuous application is often underestimated.

And over and over again I tell them: To know and not do, is to not know. It’s not what you know that counts. It’s what you DO with what you know!

In the final analysis, it’s performance that counts.

This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive. Originally posted October 19, 2007.