Breaking Down Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s Quote About Applying Facts

“The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


Knowledge for the sake of knowledge serves no real purpose. The ability to regurgitate facts and figures serves no real purpose if that information can’t be made relevant.  Facts and figures support an idea or a concept. If we want the information to really mean something, it must be made real with examples, it must be brought to life.

We think in pictures. If we say the word fast and use it in a sentence, we are in that moment, each of us, building a picture of what fast means in our mind. When you think of the word fast, what comes to mind for you? Now, if we add a fact to the conversation, your image may change immediately. What does the phrase 0-60 in 4.5 seconds bring to mind? What feelings might be associated with that kind of information? Does the fact by itself tell us anything specific?

Facts are very important. They help us with the decision making process. The question to ask is how to make the facts come to life in whatever setting we are using them. If they are being used to provide background information, how do we make them relevant. I they are being used to differentiate, how do we make them important? If they are being used for comparison, how do we bring the message to life? If facts are being used to demonstrate an outcome, how do we make that outcome the most important part of the conversation?

Don’t just acquire facts, don’t just share facts, creatively bring the facts to life!!!


Author: Bobby Kountz

Bobby Kountz is a former Oncology Nurse, a seasoned Oncology Sales Professional, and Personal Development Enthusiast. He is also an Inspirational Writer, Professional Speaker, Personal Development and Career Transition Coach, Dedicated Community Volunteer, Social Equality Activist, Mental Health Activist, and Loving Father and Husband.


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