Deepen your leadership distinguishing wisdom and knowledge

This article is based on my 2024 video on how leaders who wisdom vs knowledge –

Welcome to Wisdom on Fire!

As an entrepreneurial leader, I understand the struggles of facing meaningless work and yearning for purpose. I’m Dr. Jay Hawthorne, a CEO, and a dedicated Christian. With degrees in literature, philosophy, and strategic leadership, I’ve spent my life seeking wisdom, and I hope to share some invaluable insights with you through the Wisdom on Fire community. In this transmission, we’ll explore how to avoid one of the greatest risks for entrepreneurial leaders: the “wrong wall” factor. We’ll delve into the power and meaning of Christian wisdom and scrutinize the relationship between wisdom and knowledge. We’ll also discuss vital applications for entrepreneurial leaders and conclude with the number one accelerant to ignite your wisdom fire.

The Greatest Entrepreneurial Risk: The Wrong Wall Factor

Thomas Merton wisely stated that many spend their lives climbing the ladder of success only to find it leaned against the wrong wall. For entrepreneurial leaders, this “wrong wall” factor signifies misaligned goals leading to futile efforts. Nobody wants to invest time and energy only to realize it amounts to nothing. Imagine a doctor performing a surgery and finding out they operated on the wrong leg — the consequence is massive for both the patient and the practitioner. So, how can we avoid this peril?

Christian Wisdom: Our Guiding Light

Christian wisdom offers a unique and profound source of knowledge. This wisdom corresponds closely to reality, providing us with tools to navigate our lives effectively. Here’s how Christian wisdom stands out:

1. Christian: Representing a worldview grounded in biblical truths and historical orthodoxy, it guides our life choices and goals.

2. Wisdom: The mechanism that integrates various life aspects, helping us see the broader picture in our endeavors. By uniting these concepts, we align our actions with a purpose that transcends mere success metrics. ## The Importance of Understanding Wisdom and Knowledge Let’s dissect the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge comprises factual information — the building blocks of understanding. Wisdom, on the other hand, is the application of that knowledge in meaningful and contextually appropriate ways. To effectively lead, we must harness both.

Experience, Authority, and Reason: The Ear of Knowledge

I use the acronym EAR to encapsulate the three pillars of gaining knowledge:

Experience: Direct encounters with people, tasks, or concepts.

Authority: Trustworthy sources or figures who impart knowledge.

Reason: Logical deduction and theoretical constructs born from accumulated facts.

These pillars form the foundation on which wisdom operates. For instance, leveraging experience means understanding a warehouse worker’s job before implementing changes that affect them, thereby gaining crucial insights directly from the source.

Applying Christian Wisdom in Entrepreneurial Leadership

Wisdom shines brightest when it illuminates our path and decisions. Here are practical steps to apply Christian wisdom effectively:

Honoring Every Individual

Christian wisdom teaches us to respect every person, understanding their intrinsic value as creations in the image of God. This principle should guide our interactions and decisions, reinforcing that even in business, people come first.

Validating Sources of Knowledge

Consistently challenge assumptions by cross-referencing EAR sources. This ensures that our decisions are rooted in reality and biblical truth, steering us clear from the pitfalls of misinformation.

Transmitting Knowledge

Effective leaders are also educators. Share your wisdom through practical demonstrations and, when necessary, through proverbs or easy-to-remember phrases.

Humility: The Ultimate Accelerant

Humility is the cornerstone of wisdom. Acknowledging that we don’t possess all answers opens us up to learning and growth. Proverbs says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” emphasizing that humility and reverence towards God are prerequisites for acquiring true wisdom.


The entrepreneurial journey is fraught with challenges, yet by embracing Christian wisdom, aligning our efforts with biblical truths, and applying our knowledge judiciously, we can ensure that our “ladder of success” leans against the right wall. Remember, humility is the catalyst that propels wisdom into action, transforming us into wise leaders who not only achieve success but do so meaningfully and ethically.

Thank you for joining this exploration. Let’s ignite the fire of wisdom together and guide our ventures towards purposeful success!

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