What is important in life ? Knowledge, skills or attitude. This is an ongoing debate for generations. We assimilate knowledge through our academic system. We acquire skills by practising what we have learnt. Our attitude is moulded by our beliefs and values. What comes first and what is the most important ? It is almost like the chicken and egg story in life. Did the chicken come first or the egg ?
Knowledge is an assimilation over centuries. It is gathered through experiences of people and experiments in life. This knowledge then is passed on to generations through academic pursuits or through exchange between members in the family and society. When people apply the knowledge gathered this way, they hone their skills in practise. However attitude is developed by environment and our own beliefs and values. What do we believe in and what will we never compromise in life ?
Isn’t it true that if Newton had not sat under the apple tree, the laws of gravity would not have been discovered. So, it is true that practise leads to theory and theory enables you to practise. This means there is a good correlation between knowledge and skills like theory and practise. Attitude is the way we perceive things in life. this perception is based our own life experiences and what we see in others. We believe what we see and hence this guides our attitude in life.
Thus, knowledge, skills and attitude are all equally important in life. It is important to assimilate knowledge, then practise your skills and evolve your attitude. While knowledge and skills are relatively easy to transfer, it may be difficult to pass on your attitude. Hence, many organisations assume that one has the knowledge and skills for a job and mostly focus on checking on the attitude of the person.
It is true that our academic systems are more tilted towards knowledge and less towards building skills and moulding attitude. It is here where we need to look at academic reforms and also appreciate the role of family as an institution in attitude building. While academic institutions may spread knowledge and organisations may succeed in building skills, it is the family and society, which has to contribute effectively in shaping attitudes in the the future generations.
Knowledge, skills and attitude are like three pillars of a tripod. While the tripod is considered the most stable of all geometric designs and hence used with cameras, it is also true that if one leg is shaky, the tripod is unstable. Hence, it is critical to give due weightage to knowledge, skills and attitude in life. A good balance of all the three may help us lead life successfully.
The monastery in the photo above can be a fountain of knowledge but we need to hone our skills and mould our attitude.
What is your take ?
S Ramesh Shankar