Once upon a time, there was a highly educated scholar who had spent his whole life reading and learning. He was admired for his brilliance and knowledge, but he had little practical experience outside of academia.
The scholar had to cross a river one day to attend an important meeting on the opposite side. He went up to a boatman, a basic fisherman who made a living by ferrying people over the river. The scholar requested that the boatman ferry him over, underlining the importance of his journey and highlighting his vast knowledge.
As they set out on their journey, the scholar began talking with the boatman. He began bragging about his enormous knowledge and various academic accomplishments throughout the years. The scholar looked down on the boatman, believing himself to be superior due to his intellect.
A storm erupted in the middle of their chat, with severe gusts and heavy rain slamming against the boat. The boat began to shake severely, terrifying the scholar. He recognized that all of his expertise was useless in this dangerous scenario. Panicked, he turned to the boatman and asked if he knew how to properly sail through the storm.
“Sir, I may not have read as many books as you have, but I have spent my entire life understanding the ways of this river and the behavior of its waters,” the boatman said calmly. I’ve been through a lot of storms and perilous circumstances. Trust me, I’ll bring us to the other side safely.”
The boatman’s statement humbled the academic, who grasped the value of practical wisdom and experience. He stopped dismissing the boatman’s knowledge and accepted the boatman’s competence.
The boatman eventually skillfully guided the boat through the storm, ensuring their safe passage to the other side. As they approached the beach, the scholar expressed deep thanks to the boatman, understanding that true wisdom comes not from books but from the actual application of knowledge in the real world.
Moral: Knowledge without experience is like a boat without a rudder.