America has an obesity epidemic. We are the most overweight and obese generation in history. Physical activity has been on the decline for decades and continues to slide. Yet I would argue that we are currently facing another epidemic that is even more self-destructive and limiting: Infobesity.
With the creation of the internet, the human race has all kinds of information at their fingertips. We can find out anything we need in split seconds instead of minutes, hours, or days that were needed previously. Obviously, this has created many advances in technology and business, and has been very beneficial to us. We can conduct business worldwide and are only limited by our imagination.
The problem I see is that we generally do, in fact, limit our imagination through the internet. Speaking from experience, I have been prone to eliminate my ideas or disqualify my own personal thoughts after reading something online. If it were from an expert it would be one thing, but most of the time I find myself doing that after reading a random person’s blog post without ever checking their credentials. If we read it, we trust that it must be true.
Albert Einstein said, “Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” How many of us have read a book that “changed our life” but that a year later we couldn’t tell you about? I know I have, because I wasn’t applying what I learned. As you know, I am reading a book a week. While reading I try to analyze the content and intentionally apply what I learn from each book so that I can avoid just that.
I have nothing against using the internet to learn more, but I do have an issue with the amount of time we spend “learning” on YouTube or clicking from article to article when we are just passing time and aren’t looking for anything specific. We need to be intentionally learning. We need to be learning as preparation for actions we take. We need to be learning and applying what we learn that day. If not, we should not waste our time-consuming information that we will never use or need. My guess is that most of the “learning” that we do is pointless information and trivia that we never need. That needs to change.
Lack of information is currently one of the biggest excuses people have for not taking action. “I don’t know the market enough,” or “I need to study what the pricing trends are,” etc. I don’t care how valid your reasoning is, if you cite lack of information as a reason to not move forward yet, you will never do it. You are just using it as an excuse not to take the jump. I’m not saying to act recklessly or do the Bird Box challenge by going into everything blind, but I am saying that you should be learning and taking action concurrently.
If I must choose between learning or taking action, I will choose action 100% of the time. Last year, I would have said learning. I justified why I wasn’t taking action and would constantly say that we needed more information before acting. In reality, I was just giving into fear. I feared failure and tried to flip the negative connotation of failure into a positive one for myself by telling myself that I wasn’t scared, I was busy learning and preparing. But like Tim Ferriss says, “Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” I’ll say it again: If you think you don’t have enough information to act, you are trying to justify your fear.
Commit to acting with the information you learn. Set goals each day for how you will apply what you learn. You will never know everything, nor should you try. Successful people aren’t those who know the most. Successful people are those who took what knowledge they had, however much it was, and applied it at that time. Colin Powell said, “I can make a decision with 30% of the information. Anything more than 80% is too much.” We try to get to 100% knowledge before acting a lot of times, yet it is literally impossible. Maybe that’s why we do it, though. Maybe we do it, so we have a reason subconsciously to not move forward with our plan without having to admit to ourselves that we were really just too scared to act.
For me my life has changed since I started taking action daily. I won’t sit here and say I don’t get nervous anymore, because I am in the most vulnerable stage in my life and I most definitely do, but today I no longer let it control me. I intentionally get my ideas out there, and by doing so I have seen those nerves diminish every day a little more. I encourage you to get your ideas out there. It is better to have something done than to have something perfect. Best known beats best. Stop trying to perfect your product or create the perfect system.