How do you turn information overload into knowledge and skill?
Our world is filled with a never ending flow of information, tips, ideas, quotations, advice and suggestions. There is such an information overload all around us, every second, that we can get lost in a sea of overwhelm, to the point where we are constantly overstimulated and we get to learn very little of value, from this sea of infinite information. The secret to get real value from everything we see around us, is to slow down and to give yourself time to digest and absorb all the information and to extract parts that you can begin to apply in your life.
Give yourself permission to slow down from the fever pitch of your life for at least an hour a day. Time where you slow down long enough to contemplate, review, digest and act on anything you have learnt that day. The infinite flow of information all around you is not a source of growth or empowerment, until you learn and apply the knowledge in your own life. Knowledge alone is never power, if it was everyone that had access to an internet connection would be able to achieve anything. They could simply type a question into Google, wait for the answer and change their life. As you know knowledge is not power, it only offers us the potential to improve and grow, if we are willing to learn the lessons offered and apply the new value in our lives.
There is most certainly no shortage of knowledge or information today, knowledge is everywhere and if you have access to the internet it is virtually free. All that is holding us away from the success we desire is a commitment to use this infinite flow of free information and knowledge, as a source of our growth, improvement and on-going development. It is such a privilege to live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by ideas and concepts that can feed our minds with inspiration, positive thoughts and new stimulating ideas. The challenge is to not mistake the constant supply of knowledge and the noise all around you for growth. The infinite sea of knowledge and ideas all around us can become so overwhelming that we become paralysed into inactivity. We are so busy chasing after everything that we achieve nothing at all. Never mistake attempting to keep up with this never ending flow of information as a way to improve and grow. This constant activity and overwhelm is merely activity, it is most certainly not improvement and growth.
The secret to become a real learner is to commit to not only read through every article, book or magazine that passes through your hands. It is to actively find ways to unlock the useful information contained in all of these by:
- Read it through once
- Summarize the key ideas or concepts.
- Look at each concept in turn and see how you can implement any new ideas into your life.
- Check and review any ideas that you do introduce to see how they are working for you.
- Keep acting on these ideas, review how they are working and then see if you can improve anything.
- Keep repeating this cycle until; you see these new ideas turning into real and meaningful results in your life.
You can master anything you want within about 5-7 years if you are committed and you apply yourself to the process. You can become world class at anything that will help you to change your life and move you closer to the success that you desire. Look into the future and project yourself seven years down the line. What skill or ability would catapult you to the next level and completely change your life? Once you have identified that one skill or area of expertise that you want to gain mastery over. Begin the process of planning a path to start the process of mastering exactly that in your life.
Within three years of focusing your efforts on studying the right material, as I have described in the six point method above, you will most certainly get to be good in your field and you will most certainly stand out from the crowd. Remove that picture of instant gratification from your mind, becoming an expert in any field and changing your life ids a process it is most certainly an event. Commit yourself to a marathon; this is not by any means a sprint. Real, meaningful transformation and growth, takes time and effort. One of the skills you must commit to learn early on is patience. Remove your expectations of becoming an overnight sensation or success. There is no such thing – there are many ten year – overnight successes, but no instant successes.
So where to start –
Explore your plan to become a master over the next 5 – 7 years. Use this as a starting point. Now look at your life over the next 90 days and choose a theme or focused area of study that is aligned with this outcome and concentrate all your efforts on only this theme for the next 90 days. Focus all your energy on only this theme for the next 90 days and only read, listen to or apply knowledge that is aligned with this theme. This focused approach will help you to remove the clutter and noise from your life and guide you to actually grow and expand your wisdom and knowledge base.
Now break this 90 period back even further into 45 day segments. It takes between 26 and 45 days to turn a new routine into a habit. So if you want to develop a new success habit set that will allow you to achieve long term sustainable success that will feel almost effortless. Commit to introduce a new discipline, behaviour or routine into your life that is aligned with your goals or the outcomes you want to achieve and apply your willpower each day to carry it out. These are the new ideas or concepts that you will be learning from the material you have chosen to focus your energy on over each 90 day period. Do this for a minimum of 45 days, after about 45 days each new routine will become an entrenched habit, so it will no longer require willpower to perform.. I have found that you can work on a maximum of five new routines or habits at a time. I refer to these new behaviours or routines as your “Code of Personal Achievement”. Follow the link to view an article I wrote on understanding what the “Code of Personal Achievement is and how to learn this new skill.
- I have found this method to be very helpful and have used it very successfully in my own life for a number of years. Please see a summary of the process below
- Identify an area of expertise that you want to master. This is an area that when you master it, will completely revolutionize your life.
- Create a seven year plan to begin moving you toward mastery.
- Break your plan back and look at the next three years and commit to apply focused effort to study the material using the six point method described above.
- Break your year into four equal parts of 90 days each. Choose a study or growth theme that is aligned with the outcome you want to achieve over the next seven years and focus all your energy on only reading, learning things that are aligned with this theme.
- Invest 45 day segments into converting the new behaviours, routines or skills into habits.
Commit to apply this system into your life and you can remove the clutter and noise from your life and you will be able to start benefitting from all the information that surrounds you.