Knowledge is the Key to Success

Some of what you think that you know is fine. But some isn’t. Here’s the rub. You don’t know which is which!

The world will tell you when the tidal wave is coming.

It will also tell you where to look for the next big idea.

But you have to know how to listen.

Knowledge Video

Let me ask you for five minutes of your time to talk about a fundamental, unavoidable fact.

Whether in your life, your career, or your organization, the way you approach knowledge will determine your future.


Change is a part of the landscape and it’s here to stay!

There is only one thing that you can count on in today’s world. That one thing is change. Technology changes. Consumer preferences and demand change. Information flows in constantly evolving ways. The state of the economy, along with political and regulatory environments change. The competition is always trying new things. Change comes in many forms, and if you want to succeed you’d better keep up.

Change in a fast-paced world

In today’s world, the only thing your organization can know for certain is that tomorrow will be different than today.

There are three things that you need to know about change:

  1. If you don’t see it coming, change will take you down before you know what hit you.
  2. If you recognize change before the competition you’ve just opened a door to opportunity for innovation and competitive advantage.
  3. If you wait until change is easy to see, you’ve already lost.

Many a postmortem begins with the question, “Why didn’t I see that coming?” More often than not the answer is, “Because you weren’t looking!”

The hard truth is that the world does not arrange itself according to our expectations and desires. In a rapidly changing, high stakes world the one thing you can’t do without is reliable, authentic knowledge.

In The Lesson of Lost Value I discuss a powerful truth. The line between triumph and disaster usually lies in how we look at the world. Winners learn to see the world as it is. Losers see the world as it was, or as they want it to be. Bad knowledge leads to bad decisions, which in turn lead to bad outcomes.

Turning a blind eye on reality can be a recipe for disaster. So why do we do it all the time? We accept what our group believes. We grasp at easy answers. We allow ourselves to be manipulated. We hold on to past assumptions, and imagine that they will remain valid into the future.

Knowledge is the key to success. But in our rapidly changing world, it’s not what you know that matters. It’s how you know!

Now for the good news. You can do better than that. By changing the way you approach knowledge you can learn to avoid the pitfalls responsible for 80% of business failures, while at the same time identifying opportunities for innovation and competitive advantage.

The key to success in changing times is pretty straightforward. Never bet the farm on an idea that you haven’t tried to kill first.

Here is the key. Reliable knowledge doesn’t come from looking for reasons to think that you are right. The kind of knowledge that you need comes from looking for reasons that you are wrong!

Think about it this way. If an idea is strong, then challenges will only make it stronger. On the other hand, if an idea can’t withstand that kind of scrutiny it is better to find out now than to wait until it matters.

The only game in town.

Real opportunity comes from being first to an idea that others have missed. Sitting around waiting for a stroke of brilliance won’t make that happen.

There is a term for what happens when you discover that an assumption is wrong. It’s called “opportunity.”

But if you are the first one to find the flawed assumption that everyone else is relying on, that is opportunity that you just might be able to carry all the way to the bank.

It isn’t easy to change the way you think about knowledge. It takes effort. It can be uncomfortable. It requires learning to look at the world differently. It has to become a habit. But if you want to take control of your own fate in a world of ever-accelerating change, it’s the only game in town!”

Knowledge is the Key to Success  © Dr. Jeff Hester
Content may not be copied to other sites. All Rights Reserved.

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    The human brain craves the sensation of knowing like a drug addict craves the next fix. If real knowledge is uncomfortable or not at hand, we are quite content to just make something up, then convince ourselves it’s real. In a world where knowledge matters, that’s dangerous.

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    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

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    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

  • Fight-or-Flight
    How our Pleistocene brains (mis)handle modern threats

    A strong fight-or-flight reaction served our evolutionary ancestors well. If the leopard catches you, that’s it! But today a visceral response to a not-so-mortal threat seldom improves things. If you want to get a handle on those intense, counterproductive bouts of emotion, start by understanding where fight-or-flight came from in the first place.

    Read Article

  • In a Shark’s Eye
    Science and the experience of wonder

    Alone, 100 feet underwater, with a shark in its element, I am overwhelmed by a mixture of awe, beauty, joy, and intellectual wonder at the world that brings us together. In that moment, I experience just what science is all about.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

  • The Quandry of Unpredictability
    Chaos, climate and an unpredictable future

    Chaos is a sticky wicket for science. There are things a correct theory like climate change cannot predict, but there are a lot of things that it can. It’s important to understand which is which.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

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    Read Article

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    For biological organisms, interstellar travel is hopelessly difficult, and probably pointless. For sentient machines, however, home is the environment you were built for.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

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    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

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    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

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    Fundamental change is always messy. As science tackles the complex processes that shape the real world it is having to reinvent itself on the fly. Welcome to the Wild West!

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

    Read Article

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    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

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Recent Article Mobile

  • Our Need to Know  We crave certainty, even when it is only an illusionPosted in CoachingThoughts
  • A Saguaro’s universe  Building a cactus starts with the Big BangPosted in For Your Consideration
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  • Fight-or-Flight  How our Pleistocene brains (mis)handle modern threatsPosted in Coaching
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  • The human brain craves the sensation of knowing like a drug addict craves the next fix. If real knowledge is uncomfortable or not at hand, we are quite content to just make something up, then convince ourselves it’s real. In a world where knowledge matters, that’s dangerous.

  • The iconic saguaro cactus gives the desert an otherwordly beauty. That beauty does not exist in isolation. It embodies the fascinating and awe-inspiring processes that have shaped the universe, going all the way back to the Big Bang itself.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • Looking at room full of amateur astronomers, gathered for the Okie-Tex Star Party under the spectacularly dark skies of the Oklahoma Panhandle, I am reminded of my own roots and those who helped me discover the universe.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • A strong fight-or-flight reaction served our evolutionary ancestors well. If the leopard catches you, that’s it! But today a visceral response to a not-so-mortal threat seldom improves things. If you want to get a handle on those intense, counterproductive bouts of emotion, start by understanding where fight-or-flight came from in the first place.

  • Alone, 100 feet underwater, with a shark in its element, I am overwhelmed by a mixture of awe, beauty, joy, and intellectual wonder at the world that brings us together. In that moment, I experience just what science is all about.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • Chaos is a sticky wicket for science. There are things a correct theory like climate change cannot predict, but there are a lot of things that it can. It’s important to understand which is which.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • On Earth Day, April 22, 2017, people around the nation will March for Science. It seems strange to need to march in support of the idea that pronouncements from politicians cannot change the nature of reality, or that evidence matters when making decisions. But such are the peculiar times in which we live.

  • For biological organisms, interstellar travel is hopelessly difficult, and probably pointless. For sentient machines, however, home is the environment you were built for.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • It would be fun to think there is a flourishing interstellar civilization of humanoid aliens out there. But then it would also be nice to believe in unicorns and midichlorians. It would be nice, but they probably aren’t there.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • Gilding the lily makes everybody look bad. When the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory detected ripples in the fabric of space-time from a pair of merging black holes, it was a technological and scientific accomplishment without peer! But LIGO did not “discover” gravity waves.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • Fundamental change is always messy. As science tackles the complex processes that shape the real world it is having to reinvent itself on the fly. Welcome to the Wild West!

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • As science has evolved from simple observation to deep understanding, each new way of thinking about the world has transformed not only science, but human society. That evolution is far from over.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

Over his 30 year career as an internationally known astrophysicist, Dr. Jeff Hester was a key member of the team that repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. With one foot always on the frontiers of knowledge, he has been mentor, coach, team leader, award-winning teacher, administrator and speaker, to name a few of the hats he has worn. His Hubble image, the Pillars of Creation, was chosen by Time Magazine as among the 100 most influential photographs in history.
©Dr. Jeff Hester LLC, 5301 S. Superstition Mountain Dr., Suite 104 #171, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118