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Friday, February 23, 2024

Knowledge is [Potential] Power

This article is powered by the SMU Sport Management Program.

By: Will Baggett, @W_Baggs

Knowledge is an incredible thing. Image via intuition.com

“Knowledge is power.”

Sir Francis Bacon is credited with coining this iconic phrase way back in the year 1597. While it would be unwise to speak against the foundation of his renowned quote, I contend that the word “potential” was mistakenly left out of this maxim. Knowledge, not unlike your car, only produces power and a means of forward progress when ignited. Thus, knowledge itself is merely potential or stored energy — suggesting that work is required to activate its inherent power. But what is work exactly? Work can take on various forms across professions, and while there are many ways to define it, the formula below details how physicists understand it.

Work = Force x Distance

In terms of potential power:

Work = (how much effort you put forth) x (how deep you are willing to go)

The amount of effort you put forth multiplied by the depth of your intensity determines your level of productivity. Nevertheless, filling in this equation is only half the battle. If being productive were as simple as the formula makes it seem, then hidden variables such as distractions and unexpected life events would have no effect on the end result. The extra “umph” that propels you through such adversities resides in the faculty of willpower. Simply stated, the term “will” asserts your level of determination, but as the next formula indicates, power relies heavily on the prerequisite of work.

Power = Work / Time

In terms of knowledge and its potential:

Power = (force & distance) / (how long you persevere)


If you take the knowledge you have acquired and put it to work over time, especially when it requires overtime, you are destined to produce the results you seek. Recall that willpower is the key to giving your wheels power en route to your destination; therefore, your level of drive is fully within your control. For example, notice the trend across each of the variables we unpacked:

1. Force: How much effort you put forth

2. Distance: How deep you are willing to go

3. Time: How long you persevere

It is important to note that this self-check system may be applied across any aspect of your life. For instance, #HowYou tackle each day, #HowYou perform your job, and most importantly, #HowYou treat other people will determine your influence and thereby power output. Remain mindful, however, that with great power comes great responsibility.

That is simply how things…WORK.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out my book, The Blueprint for a Successful Career, on Amazon.

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