We go to college for years. Why? Because we love taking tests full of information that we forget the second we step outside of the testing center? Some probably do, but not me!
I don’t know about you, but I went to college so I could start making some $$$. I wanted to start a family, buy a house, visit friends and family across the country. All this takes money. So naturally my college education was directly tied to taking action (getting a job and earning income).
Now that I’ve left college, I’ve continued my learning. I read tons of books, blog articles, and magazines. I’ve watched dozens of TED talks and educational documentaries. I’m constantly trying to learn how to take my life to the next level.
But I think we sometimes get in the habit of consuming with no real purpose, especially me! Part of the reason is because I’m afraid of missing out on the latest tips or tricks whether it’s about blogging or triathlon. As a result, I spend a ton of time consuming content and not taking action.
The End Goal
The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action. – Herbert Spencer
I LOVE this quote because it is the fundamental reason why we should educate ourselves: to take action.
One way I try to balance my consumption with taking action is by sharing what I learn with others. Constantly teaching others what I’m learning helps me internalize the material and actually incorporate it into my life. That’s another reason Patterns of Success is the perfect tool for helping me achieve my goals. It’s a teaching tool for others, but it’s also an effective learning tool for me.
I’ve heard it said that “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and through the fingertips.” This is what works for me. But you should find a tool that works for you, something that helps you actually USE the endless bombardment of content that we consume every day.
The average book nowadays has 250 pages. Of those 250 pages, how many nuggets do you remember and take with you? Surely there are some books that have value on each page (like the Bible) but the majority of books, blog posts (including this one!), magazines and podcasts are full of “average content”, nothing really that earth shattering.
So why do we read the full 250 pages? Because reading a book is like strip mining–you have to move a lot of pages to find a few gems.
I started “mining” for gems a few years ago, and that practice has made my study and learning much, much more efficient. I don’t try to memorize every sentence. Instead, I try to locate those gems that are actionable–ones that I can apply in my life in that given moment.
Take inventory. What books are you reading right now? Where do you spend most of your time online? What action should you be taking right now (even as you read this)?
Remember, learning is encouraged. But make sure you have a purpose to the learning and a plan to implement.Photo by Nadezda Muraveva