I remember when I first started learning the art of success and personal development. Every book that came my way I’d chuck into my Amazon cart and bodyslam the buy button. I would constantly add books to my future read list, too. There were easily enough titles on that list to publish a 50,000 word book. I wanted to learn everything.
It genuinely felt like I was being productive. But, one day it occurred to me that, despite the constant pursuit of information, I had nothing tangible to show for it. Instead I realized that I had an addiction. The drug was information. And in truth, all that I was doing was hiding from the real work—implementation.
Books, articles, training courses, podcasts, seminars. The amount of information available to us is colossal. But because of this, a problem presents itself. There’s not enough time in a lifetime to learn it all, let alone implement it.
Don’t get me wrong, learning is a beautiful thing. And we should never stop. However, if success is what we want in this lifetime, action needs to outweigh instruction.
Here are the 4 steps you can take to escape the learning trap and instead take action:
1. Set an action goal
No matter what information medium you use, always look to implement something that you learn. It’s okay to take notes throughout the book, but after you finish the book take just ONE actionable technique and implement it immediately. That’s your goal. Have this mindset before you undertake any learning task.
Take for example a book that gives advice about setting goals. If the book’s any good, it probably gives numerous action steps for setting goals such as jotting down your goals on paper, setting daily goals, monthly goals, yearly goals, reflecting on your past goals, etc.
Your job is to take one of those tips and implement it. An actionable step could be to take 15 minutes the following morning and write down your goals for that day.
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill
2. Focus on one subject at a time
At times it can be easy to ping-pong from subject to subject. Unfortunately, this leaves little time for focus and internalization of what was learned. So, if you’re studying marketing, study only marketing and implement techniques as you go.
Perhaps you were motivated to give public speaking a try after reading an article about it on Addicted2Success, but instead of implementing, you immediately jumped into an entirely different subject like how to bake cupcakes or something. Chances are your interest in public speaking would have evaporated. We are quick to forget things that aren’t in front of us. That’s why it’s important to take action while it’s fresh.
And this doesn’t mean that you have to dedicate the rest of your life to a single subject. You should, though, get a true grasp of the subject before abandoning ship.
Here’s what you could do instead: Devote 30 days to a single subject. During this time, choose two or three books on a subject, read them one at a time, and implement a single idea from each. That will give you a solid foundation on most subjects.
3. Don’t be a “guru hopper”
Whatever you are into, there’s a guru or two (or ten). It can be tempting to move from one expert to the next trying to devour everything that they’ve published before ever getting your hands dirty.
It’s been referred to as the “shiny new toy” syndrome, and it’s pretty accurate. Where you bounce around from one guru (or tool) to the next hoping they’ll bear the newest and shiniest secret that’s going to change your fortune overnight. You could find yourself in an endless search
Pace yourself. Pick one influencer and with each course, podcast, book, or whatever they offer, focus on implementation (see step 1).
4. Don’t get caught up on the “right” way
Just as there are countless sources of information, same can be said for the amount of ways there are to do something. Don’t ask yourself if you’re doing it the “right” way, just do it.
For instance, say you want to create a website. You watch a video or stumble upon a blog that walks you through setting up a WordPress site. “Excellent,” you say. But then, before doing it you cross paths with another info-peddler who tells you there’s a right and wrong way to create a website. Is your home page laid out correctly? Is it SEO optimized? Do you have the correct key words? Oh boy…Now you’re filled with doubt and uncertainty. You’ve been zapped into paralysis.
Relax my friend. There will always be better ways to do something, but revisions can be done as you go. Please just implement and create your darn website!
“Just do it” – Nike
We’re smothered in information. This is both amazing and dangerous. Amazing because of the opportunity we have to learn whatever we want; dangerous because we can mistake knowledge for progress. We need both to succeed. Just make sure action wears the pants in the relationship.