What is the purpose of my accumulated knowledge?

It took me few years to complete my Master by Research. It probably was the first research I have conducted in my life. Although it was my chosen path, I often questioned my purpose of obtaining this research degree. I think at the time, it was my ‘social justice’ that kept me going. I wasn’t aware of its significance for a long time. It was my supervisor and sister-in-law made me realised its significance at the end. However, still, it wasn’t an easy recognition by myself.

I remember of a dialogue I had with an acquaintance. This person was obtaining her Masters by course work and wasn’t planning to do any further research.
Acquaintance: What are you planning after your Master by Research degree?
Me: I will be continuing on to my Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Acquaintance: That’s really good, and?
Me: I will think about it when I get there.
Acquaintance: So what’s the purpose of your research degree?
Me: To get into further research degree.
Acquaintance: What’s the purpose of your research?
Me: I don’t know.
Acquaintance: Well, what’s the purpose of obtaining this situation then?
Me: Give me something to do, something to prove myself.
Acquaintance: I think that purpose of obtaining an education is nonsense.
Me: What do you mean?
Acquaintance: I believe the purpose of any education is to become capable individual to return something back to the society, to be a better world. I think it is wasting your time if it is without such purpose.

I remember I was very upset about her word. I was upset because this acquaintance just denied my efforts for last few years. I did question the usefulness or impact of my research degree but I thought only I can determine whether few years of my education was a waste or not.

When I think back, this acquaintance did not the power of research that lead to new knowledge. This acquaintance questioned my purpose of study because I, myself, was doubting about the significance of my study.

I realised significance of my research of Master degree when my sister-in-law asked for the details. It was very hard to ask because I had to explain it in layperson language without any theoretical words. As she is an immigrant herself, she recognised the significance of my research. She got so excited as I explained some of the major findings. She was actively listening and asked for more details. After about 45 minutes of decoding, she summarised the significance of my research in 50 words and said “This is what you say when someone ask about the significance of your research. And, this is what you say when someone ask about impact of your research.” I stirred at her, tried to digest what she had just told me.

She said that she dislike presentation but she knows enough that she is good at it. She continued and said “All your family members had never been told how to sell yourself. All of you proved yourself through your commitment and hard work. For me, that’s wasting your valuable talent because other people will only know your value through working with you. However, if you can sell yourself first, you can commit from day one. Others don’t need to waste few months to work with you to know the value of you. Come to me before you do any presentation or selling. I will teach you what you need to say.”

Knowledge is not power, it is only potential.

Applying that knowledge is power.

Understanding why and when to apply that knowledge is wisdom!

Shingen Takeda

As an information gatherer, knowledge are gems in my life. I gather information because one day I might use it or implement it or it will be useful to someone. Having lots of drawers with full of information is a potential that piece of information might become useful. Now, I understand knowing is just the beginning of that piece of information. The power of knowledge is revealed when you apply it in real life. It is even more powerful when you know why you are applying that piece of knowledge in that given moment because now your knowledge has purpose in its application

How do you decide when to use that piece of knowledge?
When do you use your knowledge?
What is the purpose of having that piece of knowledge?

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