When we think of someone being wise, we may think of an elderly person or someone with lots of life experiences. That assumption isn’t too far off from the truth. Wisdom is the combination of life experience, knowledge, and common sense. When you combine these attributes, you create someone who is insightful and is well-rounded. Many elderly people have wisdom because they have cultivated gratitude and information from their past experiences. 

If wisdom is also being knowledgeable, does that mean that wisdom and knowledge are interchangeable? As confusing as it may be, no, they are not interchangeable. There are many differences between the two. The primary difference is intuition and good judgment. 

Wisdom vs. Common Knowledge

Consider this example: calling someone knowledgeable versus calling someone wise. To be knowledgeable often means having an abundance of information about specific subjects. Knowledge is also the remembrance of various facts. Being wise, however, often means having a trustworthy insight into life. Wisdom comes from understanding life and is often paired with sound advice and guidance. One of the defining features between these two states of mind is the time! According to Diffen, “In general, more time equals more knowledge, but more time doesn’t guarantee wisdom; someone may very well make the same mistake at 60 that he did at 20.” There are other factors other than time that defines knowledge and wisdom.


Another word for knowledge is intelligence. When someone is intelligent, they are well informed and perceptive of different subjects. Knowledge relates to the things that you have learned in the past. For example, through teaching, school, books, media, television, lectures, etc. Knowledge is purely factual.


Wisdom, similar to knowledge, is also made through the things you have learned in the past. However, not through only teaching, but an experience. A wise person will use their day-to-day routines to gather information to better their life. It is with this knowledge and experience, that you can become wise. Many believe that wisdom is the ultimate principle in life, you can read more about wisdom here.

Why We Need Both Knowledge and Wisdom

We Need Knowledge

Why do we need knowledge? Knowledge allows people to understand information more efficiently than wisdom. It aids in reasoning and problem-solving. As problems or questions arise, knowledge can help an individual understand them and solve them quicker. Knowledge provides individuals with the information they need to be fantastic problem-solvers. Not only does it aid problem solving, but also in personal development. Knowledgeable people often have high self-esteem because they regularly feel accomplished. By embracing knowledge, individuals grow to feel confident and secure in themselves. 

We Need Wisdom

We need wisdom because it makes people feel accomplished in a way that knowledge cannot. Wise people focus more on their existence than the information they can gather. They aim to improve their overall health and life. This creates a significant discipline in the life of a wise person.

Wisdom also teaches an individual to make choices for their happiness. Not only do wise people make better choices, but they engage in close relationships; this is because they understand the human need for connection. Most of their decisions lead them to a good, balanced life.  

In Conclusion

To become both knowledgeable and wise, it is best to experience life to the fullest. By seeking life’s experience, you can grow your problem-solving skills, discipline, and decision-making skills. 

Another way to grow is to seek knowledge from others. With a sense of humility, you can learn a lot about the world and yourself. Betterhelp offers many resources on wisdom and personal development through articles, self-tests, and therapists. 

Lastly, consult wise people! The best way to learn about a subject is to talk to the experts. You can find these experts online, at the grocery store, or in your own family! If you have a wise person in your life, listen to what they have to say. Chances are you will learn many valuable life lessons.



Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.