It’s no secret that one of the benefits of the millennial generation is that they’ve grown up in the information age. There’s been more information readily available to this generation than any other generation in history. Millennials have access to and are accustomed to accessing information across the world at the push of a button.
Although information and knowledge are very closely related, information should not be confused for knowledge. I feel compelled to write and share this post based on conversations I’ve had over recent months with some of my millennial clients and mentees. This generation has access to and typically absorbs way more information than it’s Generation X and Boomer counterparts, but it’s the proper analysis and application of that information that transitions it into knowledge.
Information is defined as the facts or data provided about something or someone. Knowledge is defined as the information and skills acquired through experience or education. Information is great, because that’s what leads us to knowledge. Knowledge, however, is based on the collection of information that we’ve acquired and are able to apply it in a useful way.
As I’ve said before, each generation has a responsibility to the generation that follows, and part of the responsibility of Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation is to empower the Millennial generation. Being empowered with the responsibility to apply the all the valuable information that Millennials have acquired is the best way to turn that information into knowledge. Experience is and always will be our best teacher. We all know the process…tell me – show me – allow me – and then tell me again.
Here are a few ways to for my millennial masterminds to quickly turn that valuable information into to knowledge.
1. Understand that there is a distinction between Information and Knowledge. The ability to share and recite information is awesome, but remember that knowledge is power and knowledge is the goal. There are times when “well said” is necessary, but more often “well done” is required.
2. Absorb the Knowledge of your Gen X and Boomer counterparts whenever possible. Find someone more senior than you on your team or in the organization that is willing to delegate some of his or her responsibilities. They will love you for it and will likely give you even more responsibility as you master the initial assignments.
3. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Analyze the information you have and take a shot at applying it to determine how it can be most useful. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You may not always have the freedom to experiment on the company’s dime, but nothing’s stopping you from testing some theories with family and friends. Go for it. Not only will you learn a lot more, but it will also be a lot of fun!
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ― Benjamin Franklin