‘IT’S ONLY BY SAYING ‘NO’ THAT YOU CAN CONCENTRATE ON THE THINGS THAT ARE REALLY IMPORTANT.’
– STEVE JOBS
It’s time to make more room for bigger ambitions… We live in an era of communication, information, and education. It’s never been easier to have access to a myriad of information – from books to newsletters to YouTube videos to online courses. Everything is accessible at all times and in no time (and often for free).
I admit, I contribute to this era of information and education by leveraging various media myself: I wrote an ebook, I publish articles, I have a YouTube channel and an online coaching program. My mea culpa is done!
I’m also a big – some would say a very big – information consumer, and most entrepreneurs I meet are as well. Let’s take the example of Warren Buffett, a huge information consumer, who’s known for reading hundreds of pages of reports every day!
Consuming information is only part of learning.
Learning, reading or watching videos, is an important part of your success. Perhaps you are one of those big information consumers that neuroscientists Irving Biederman and Edward Vessel call “infovores”.
• A person who indulges in and desires information gathering and interpretation.
It’s time to focus on results
In his book, The Four Hour Work Week, author Tim Ferriss talks about minimizing the amount of information we consume – and focusing on optimizing our results.
- How many books have you read without following the advice in it?
- How many conferences did you attend, took notes with the intention of implementing the strategies but haven’t following through?
- How many YouTube videos have you watched and said, “Wow, that’s great, I’m going to do that,” without ever doing it?
Consuming information is only part of the learning and development process. Then, you must take action!
You can read an excessive amount of information on learning how to swim, but it’s in the pool that it all really happens. This is where you will see if you really know how to swim.
In the same way, you can constantly read documents and follow many courses, there comes a time when you have to dive and put into practice the information.
HOW DO I DO IT ALL (BUSINESS & LIFE)
The art of saying “no”
Is your inbox full of newsletters, research reports, white papers, and other material you think you will read “someday”? You will probably never get there (or have the time to get to them). It’s time to delete and unsubscribe to all of the content that are not truly useful (trust me, if it was really important, you would have read it already…). If it’s impossible to unsubscribe because the e-mails are sent by head office or your team cc’s you on email for your information, create a rule in Outlook so that all those emails automatically move to a folder that you will check once a week.
Are your filing cabinets overflowing with old files, old magazines? If so, now is the time to clean up and leave room for greater things.
The discipline of taking action
Now that you’ve melted off your inbox and your office, it’s time to take action and apply the information learned.
Commit to putting one idea into practice every week or month. Add this to your ‘non-negotiable to do tasks’
Here are some practical tips to get you to dive:
- Instead of starting a new book, reread a book you enjoyed and identify three ideas you can implement.
- Review the notes from a recent conference you attended and apply a concept.
Are you registered to an online course? Review the modules and develop an action plan and execute.
DON’T ADJUST YOUR BUSINESS PLAN!
We learn a lot more by taking action than by simply absorbing information. When you take action, you integrate the information into your nervous system, which allows you to truly assimilate it.
As Bruce Lee put it so well: “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
Now go out there and take action!
P.S. When you’re ready, here are some ways I can help you design your success.