Taking ACTION: The Power of Doing vs Knowing

Mar 15, 2024

Why It’s Time To Take Action

Ever heard of a zettabyte?

I didn’t think so.

Basically, one zettabyte is equal to a billion terabytes.

And just to put that into perspective, a single terabyte can hold a massive amount of data, like thousands of hours of high-definition video.

So, a zettabyte is an absolutely enormous amount of digital storage space, WAY beyond what we usually deal with in our everyday devices.

It’s used to measure the vast amount of data that’s being generated, shared, and stored in the world of technology.

And that’s A LOT of data. 

The amount of data we create each year has been growing rapidly since 2010. In the last two years alone, around 90% of the world’s data was generated.

Yes, you did read that right.

Back in 2010, we had only 2 zettabytes of data, but by 2023, this number had soared to 120 zettabytes.

Experts predict that by 2025, it will increase by over 150%, reaching a staggering 181 zettabytes. . .

You might be wondering what kind of processor can deal with that gigantic overload of information.

Well, you don’t need to look very far. Because it’s in your own head!


“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.”

– Michio Kaku, The Future of the Mind (2014)

old monk and young boy monk walking together

What Have We Really Achieved?

I guess it’s safe to say we know A LOT. And we’re getting smarter and smarter every day.

But intelligence and wisdom are two very different things. . . 

We have to ask ourselves:

With all this information at our fingertips, are we, as humans, doing better?

Do we have a better society?

Are we actually any HAPPIER?

We’re in the habit of harvesting huge amounts of information, as we think it will help us achieve what we want to achieve.

But we STILL struggle and many of us STILL can’t actually make a meaningful and consistent change in our lives. . .

Why not? Because of laziness and/or procrastination, we don’t take ACTION.

Frankly, it’s easier not to and just go round and round gathering up all the information, convincing ourselves we’re making some kind of progress.

But it’s turning that knowledge into action that really empowers us and allows us to change our life

The Story of Master Empty Palm Leaf

Around 2600 years ago, during the time of the Buddha in India, there was a monk named Bodhira.

He was highly educated in the Buddhist dharma (the teaching of the Buddha) and instructed more than 500 monks, which earned him great respect among the Buddhist sangha.

It was true that Bodhira had an immense amount of knowledge and knew the teachings about dharma inside out.

The problem was, he didn’t truly understand it at all!

All he’d done over the years was diligently memorize everything he heard from other people, so he had no direct experience.

Despite this, he often taught the monks that knowledge alone can’t lead to nirvana or true happiness.

He would repeatedly remind them:

Bodhira didn’t practice what he preached — literally! — but had convinced himself (and lots of others) that he knew everything.

The Wake Up Call

The Buddha recognized this and thought he’d help Bodhira on the path to nirvana.

So, when he saw Bodhira he greeted him with, “Hello Master Empty Palm Leaf” or “Please sit down Master Empty Palm Leaf.”

Naturally, Bohira was quite confused.

But he was clever enough to quickly work out the metaphor:

His mind was empty like a collection of palm leaf manuscripts with no writing on them

He lacked TRUE wisdom.

Realizing this, Bodhira took action and decided to help him walk the path by actually practicing what he had taught everyone else for so long. 

But he didn’t know where to start. . .

His mind was so filled with knowledge that he couldn’t define a starting point and had no idea where to begin.

So, he decided to find a teacher. 

He knew plenty of monks who actually practiced the dharma properly, so thought he’d ask one of them.

Surely one of them would help. 

The Little Novice

But he was wrong.

His reputation as a famous master became a barrier

Time and time again, the other monks hesitated to teach him.

After all, what could they offer to such a famous master monk?

Such was his reputation that even after traveling far and wide, he STILL couldn’t find anyone willing to teach him.

Finally, someone told him that there was a 7-year-old boy — an enlightened novice monk — who might be willing to help him.

Bodhira was shocked at the idea, but with nothing to lose he thought it was worth a shot. 

When he finally met the little monk, he was surprised to hear what he was asked to do. 

“If you really want to learn from me,” said the monk, “please walk into that pond over there.”

And that’s exactly what Bodhira did.

monk walking into water

Without any hesitation, he began to wander down the muddy bank into the water.

“Stop. That’s enough. Now come back,” called out the little novice as soon as he saw the old man’s robes getting wet. 

It was clear that the famous old master monk had finally released his ego and really was ready to learn. 

The Result

From that day forward, the novice taught and Bodhira listened.

Most importantly, he also TOOK ACTION by walking the spiritual path and experiencing the dharma for first-hand. 

Bodhira eventually achieved enlightenment and went on to teach others what he now knew for himself.

The Takeaway? TAKE ACTION!

The story teaches us that knowledge for knowledge’s sake means nothing on the path of self-development.

It doesn’t atter how much knowledge you have, how many degrees you have, how many books you’ve read, podcasts you’ve listened to or talks you’ve given.

Unless you consistently actually APPLY all that stuff to your OWN life you’ll never make spiritual progress and change your life.


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