Success Tweet 141: Knowing Is Not Enough

Here I am — at the end of this series of posts explaining the ideas in my new career success coach book Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less.  It has taken me 28 weeks and one day to blog about each of the tweets in Success Tweets.  I’ve written about 120,000 words in the process.  I’m happy with the result.  I’m interested in learning what you think about the career advice in these blog posts.  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Over 3,000 people have downloaded the free eBook version of Success Tweets.  Go to to get your free .pdf.  In a few weeks, I’ll consolidate these blog posts into a free eBook for you, so you’ll be able to download te career advice in both Success Tweets and the Success Tweets Blog Book.

I’ve created what I consider to be the best source of free life and career success advice on the internet.  All humility aside, I think that the Success Tweets book, coupled with these 141 blog posts, is as good or better than a lot of the career advice on the net for which you have to pay.  Follow the career advice in Success Tweets and these 141 blog posts and you’ll be on your way to creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

Today’s career advice comes from Tweet 141…

Knowing is not enough.  Successful people will read the advice in these tweets.  And they will act on it.   Be a successful person.

Much of the career advice in this book focuses on taking personal responsibility for your life and career success.  I want to revisit that idea here.  Personal responsibility means using this material once you learn it. I wrote Success Tweets and these career advice blog posts to provide you with useful information and knowledge on becoming a life and career success. But, as the U.S. Steel pencils my Dad brought home from work used to say, “Knowing is not enough.”

When I was a kid, I was really fascinated and puzzled by these pencils. “Knowing is not enough – what the hell does that mean?” I used to think. I spent hours struggling with that idea. I was too stubborn to ask a grown-up.

When I got to Penn State, I took Philosophy 101 my freshman year. We had to read Johann von Goethe. One day, as I was plowing through an assignment, I came across this quote: “Knowing is not enough, we must do. Willing is not enough, we must apply.”

Boy was I glad I took that course!  It solved one of the profound mysteries of my childhood:  “Knowing is not enough.” You have to take what you learn and use it, or what you’ve learned isn’t very valuable. That’s part of personal responsibility, and a huge part of creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

I’ve tried to present the career success material in these blog posts in a manner that provides you with actionable ideas of what to do to become a life and career success. It’s up to you to think about what’s here and decide if and how you are going to use it.

“A Message to Garcia” is one of the best-known writings on the idea of personal responsibility.  It is an inspirational essay written in 1899 by Elbert Hubbard that has been made into two movies, reprinted as a pamphlet and a book and translated into 37 languages. 

It was well known in American popular and business culture until the middle of the twentieth century.  It was originally published as a filler without a title in the March 1899 issue of “Philistine” magazine.

“A Message to Garcia” celebrates the initiative of a soldier who was assigned and accomplishes a dangerous mission in the Spanish American War. “He asked no questions, made no objections, requested no help, and accomplished the mission.”  The soldier was Andrew Summers Rowan, a class of 1881West Point graduate.

The essay suggests that the reader should apply Rowna’s attitude to his or her own life as an avenue to career success. Its wide popularity at the time reflected the general appeal of self-reliance and energetic problem solving in American culture.  Its “don’t ask questions, get the job done” message was often used by business leaders as a motivational message to their employees. It was given to every United States Sailor and Marine in both World Wars and was often memorized by schoolchildren.

In 1898 as the American army prepared to invade the Spanish colony of Cuba, they needed to contact the leader of the Cuban insurgents (the insurgents were on our side in that war), Calixto Iniguez Garcia. Garcia had been fighting the Spanish for Cuban independence since 1868 and sought the help of the United Sates.

Here are some selected excerpts from “A Message to Garcia:”

“In all this Cuban business there is one man who stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba – no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him. The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.

“What to do!

“Someone said to the President, ‘There is a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.’

“Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia…

“When McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, ‘Where is he?’

“By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing – ‘Carry a message to Garcia…’

Knowing is not enough.  You have to do.  We all have to do.  Be like Rowan. Treat all of your tasks as “a message to Garcia” and you will become a career success.  If you would like to have the full text of “A Message to Garcia,” go to

I’ve enjoyed writing these 141 posts.  It was fun to look back on my life and career and to distill the nuggets that have become my personal rules for career success into a series of tweets.  It was even more fun to write this series of blog posts delving deeper into the career advice in each tweet.

One last bit of career advice.  Remember that these tweets in Success Tweets are ideas that I have found helpful in my personal journey to professional success.  One size does not fit all.  Change, adapt and discard the ideas and career advice that don’t work for you.  Add new ideas and career advice that you find helpful, or have learned in other places and from other sources.

I will be using Success Tweet and the Success Tweets blog to start a community of career success seekers – one in which we freely exchange ideas, helping one another to learn, grow and succeed.  I will be launching a combination membership site and group coaching site very soon.  I hope to make it into a lively community.  It takes more than one person to create a community though, that’s why I hope you will join and actively participate.  

While I will encourage open discussion of ideas on the coaching calls, you can e mail me at if you have any sprecific career advice questions you would like me to answer in private.

I am offering a free 30 minute career success coach session.  If you are interested in taking me up on this offer, send me email to with the words “free coaching session” in the subject line.  Send your phone number and a few good times to call you.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 141 in Success Tweets.  “Knowing is not enough.  Successful people will read the advice in these tweets.  And they will act on it.   Be a successful person.”  I really want you to create the career success you deserve, and I want to help you create that career success in any way I can.  Please keep reading my daily blog posts at  Comment when you have something to add.  Ask questions for clarification.  I wish you the very best in creating the life and career success you want and deserve.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Dear Bud:
    This is an incredible accomplishment.

    I’ve been following this project from the beginning and applaud your commitment and accomplishment.

    The amount of quality, hype-free information is inspiring, as is your ability to seamlessly weave lessons from your past with relevant literary resources.

    Most important, you practice what you preach. This is a highly important post, one I recommend to all.

  2. Roger:
    Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them.
    I worked hard on this series of blog posts — and this one in particular.
    All the best,

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.