You don’t need more content but better insights

The information super-highway of the 90s has turned into something that’s far, far, far greater than anyone could’ve imagined back then. I think there’s way too much information out there. And it’s only going to increase by each passing second.

While the allure of having information at your fingertips is priceless, I often like to remind people that more isn’t any better. Some people believe that knowledge is power, but it isn’t. It’s only potential power. Your ability to implement and create desirable outcomes is what matters the most.

But how does one get to that level? Not with more content but better insights. And that might mean consuming a lot less material than you think. It’s insane to be reading 100 blog posts every day, a book, or half-a-dozen webinars a week and hope to implement all the ideas that I come across. Sure, if you read to say on ‘top of everything,’ I respect that, but you’ve got to find the minimum effective dose to lead your field. That could be a magazine or two and perhaps a handful (less than 5) industry blogs. Anything more is overkill.

One client reported that he spent close to 3 hours a day, scouring the internet for industry trends, insights, and views every day. And guess how of it was he able to use? Zero percent. I challenged him to ditch the random reading and pick up one of his all-time favorite business books. He was hesitant. “Why would I read something that I’ve already read?” he asked. I said, “do it anyway.” The challenge entailed taking notes as he read the book, reviewing the records, re-reading the book, retaking notes, reviewing them, rinse, and repeating. Since he was a fast reader, he re-read his favorite business book ten times over three months.

Can you guess what happened? He got promoted but got accolades from his company’s C-suite and even a couple of industry peers. Why? For the first time in his life, he was able to read, study, analyze, and implement the ideas in the book (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). His personal and leadership effectiveness went through the roof.

These days his reading list consists of just one international publication, a handful of industry blogs, and a book a month. He re-reads the book at least thrice before the month runs out.

Of course, you don’t have to do that. If your heart’s into reading a lot of material, please, be my guest. Let’s not talk about implementation or success or achievement or anything significant that you would like to achieve in life because it doesn’t matter. Reading a lot and not implementing is just as good as not reading anything at all.

I’ve come to believe that the whole notion of more (content/information) is becoming an obstacle to our development. We can do so much better by doing a lot less.

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