Have you got what it takes? Have you got what separates the great from the mundane, the star from the mob?

Human civilization has progressed through several “ages” or cultures: the hunter-gatherer, the agrarian, the industrial, and now the much touted “information age”.

Each change-point was the result of an application of the human faculty of intelligence by an individual who stood out from the mob.

And this is an important point: the fact that all advances in our civilization were brought not by wars, political change, ideology, discovery, adventure, beliefs, or change in circumstance — or any one of a number of other wrongly touted reasons for progress — but by the application of a native faculty: intelligence.

It might be instructive here to consult the dictionary definition of Intelligence:

1. a. The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. b. The faculty of thought and reason. c. Superior powers of mind. (The American Heritage Dictionary)
1. a) the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability. b) the ability to respond quickly and successfully to a new situation; use of the faculty of reason in solving problems, directing conduct, etc. effectively. c) in psychology, measured success in using these abilities to perform certain tasks. (Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language: The World Publishing Company).
(Each dictionary defines additional senses, but they do not apply for our purposes here.)

If one is to survive and prosper in this period of vast change into the next age (and it is happening, even though the pundits haven’t gazetted it yet), it is not enough to simply be bright; nor enough to rely on hard work alone. Brilliance of discovery by itself doesn’t change civilization, nor make its discoverer rich or famous — the fact is, the steam engine was invented two thousand years ago, but wasted! And hard work doesn’t do it; many work ferociously hard for little reward and absolutely no advancement. No, if one is to make it, one must have and use the capacity to observe and learn, to then be able to conceive of the applicability of what has been learned, and to then plan and execute its application.

The ability to learn, as well as the faculty to correctly conceive of application, and the power to effectively implement that application, are each needed if you are to star and rise above the mundane. Many executives lack this capacity: they fail at one or more of its components, and so fail to recognize or realize opportunity. While they may consider themselves to be suffering from “information overload,” in reality they are failing in the ability to rapidly discern what is relevant and applicable versus irrelevant or inapplicable, they are failing to see how what is learned can be applied, and have a lack of facility to implement.

At Ability Consultants, Inc. we explicitly address these factors. We have exact processes and procedures you can use to increase your ability to know and to learn, to evaluate, and to raise the horsepower and clarity of your application.

And what is this age we are moving into? It is the age of applied knowledge — the age of Knowledgism™; the age that is the mature expression of this chaotic moment we have superficially called the “information age,” but which in reality is only a time during which we are learning to process and transfer at colossal speed vast amounts of comment and information about knowledge or what is assumed to be known.

Information is not knowledge; we as a civilization have yet to grasp this. While information and knowledge are seen as synonyms, they are quite different things. Good dictionaries make that distinction: Information applies to facts that are gathered in any way, as by reading, observation, hearsay, etc., and does not necessarily connote validity (inaccurate information). Knowledge applies to any body of facts gathered by study, observation, etc., and to the ideas inferred from these facts, and connotes an understanding of what is known (man’s knowledge of the universe) [Webster’s as above]. Knowledge includes both empirical material and that derived by inference or interpretation; Information is usually construed as narrower in scope and implies a random collection of material rather than orderly synthesis [American Heritage as above].

When this civilization fully appreciates knowledge as being of the utmost of importance and information as being mere comment about knowledge or supposed knowledge, and when we routinely operate on the basis of discerning applicability and putting into use what we know rather than choking ourselves on useless dross, we will soar to the heights of our visions and imaginings.

If an executive is to star and to personally survive in this current age of extreme change, and if he or she is to lead his or her team and discharge his or her corporate responsibility in a winning fashion in these times and in the new age, then he or she must have his or her faculty of intelligence operating optimally. He or she must be able to perceive and learn, must be able to evaluate importance and discern applicability, and must be able to envision, plan, and implement the application of this knowledge.

These are each imperative skills, and not all executives have or currently use them.