A lot of gurus these days tell people to constantly be reading new books. One such popular guru is Tai Lopez. Lopez often talks about reading a book a day. Warren Buffett is also famous for saying, “The more you learn, the more you earn”. While Tai, Buffett and other proponents of constant reading are very intelligent and pretty much right, there is a side to constant intake of new information that I do not hear enough.
Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied! – Dale Carnegie
Knowledge on it’s own is simply useless data. Only when you have the discipline to apply that knowledge will you see the result.
When I first heard of the idea of constantly reading new books every day or week, I was immediately hooked! In the past 2 years alone, I have bought over 500 books and read at least 200 of them. Granted I didn’t read them from cover to cover.
But here’s my experience. I started getting so much information which at first seemed awesome. I really enjoyed the “reading high” that I would often get. It was like intellectual euphoria. My brain felt more powerful, smarter and capable of deeper thought and reasoning. Combined with my ability to discipline myself and apply some of things I was learning, my life had definitely changed…
However, the more I read…the more I started to feel confused too. The reason for this is that by reading so many different books, ideas would often start to contradict themselves. It was also tough to figure out where to start and where to end. Once you start reading several different books on one subject, it starts to get confusing. Ever heard of analysis paralysis?
Many books offer all types of action steps/plans for you. How do you know which actions to take and which ones to sacrifice/put off? How do you know which ones work or don’t?
These are some of the problems that I encountered on my journey of massive information intake through constant reading.
By constantly reading new books, I also felt like I wasn’t getting an in depth understanding of any one book. This to me appears to be a disadvantage. And I’ll let Miyamoto Musashi tell you why:
“As Miyamoto Musashi, Japan’s most famous swordsman said, “From one thing, know ten thousand things…” — meaning that a depth in knowledge in one skills adds insight to your whole life.”
Miyamoto said it best. By truly understanding one thing, your knowledge will be deeper than someone who gets a superficial understanding of 10,000 things.
So with that quote in mind, I switched up my learning strategy. I let go of the need for constant new information and instead doubled-down my focus and resources to a few sources. The sources I chose were people who I really trusted as authorities in their subjects.
Then I proceeded to really focus my attention on learning and deeply embodying their teachings. I decided to really discipline myself and apply their knowledge in practical ways in every aspect of my life.
For example, when it comes to mindset and self-improvement, I was getting information from a myriad of sources. But I finally chose to double down on Tony Robbins for the majority 80-90% of my self-help knowledge/practice.
There are billions of self-help authors nowadays it seems. But Tony Robbins has a track record that is second to none. He’s helped millions of people including the top 1% elite (president’s, top entrepreneurs, top-athletes, etc). Therefore he is definitely a trusted source when it comes to mindset. And the funny thing that I started to realize was that most other authors simply offered variations of things he’s already taught. And most of the time, their variations were less effective than if you would have just learned it from Tony.
I repeated this pattern of doubling down my focus to the best sources for every area of my life (nutrition, martial arts, strength-training, business, etc). And the results have been amazing.
I no longer have so much analysis-paralysis. I feel a lot more grounded, disciplined, and productive. I’m not confused anymore about which actions I should take. Complexity is the enemy of action, says Tony. And by really focusing my attention on the top sources, I have eliminated lots of unneeded complexity. If you think about it, the top sources of information have already gone through the filtering process themselves and thus have done the thinking for you!
Now I’m not saying that I have completely stopped getting information from other sources. I have simply decided to focus the majority of my time and energy learning from the best. If I had to call this change a certain diet, I would call it the 80/20 information diet. Simply focus 80% of your time learning from the best and then 20% of your time exploring other avenues for information. I have definitely learned a lot from studying other sources that I don’t necessarily consider the top.
I asked the following question to my audience through social media:
“Do any of you get more confused the more you read? Or is reading more always better?”
A commenter responded by saying:
“Yes you can over consume information. I am a book junkie, I literally just bought 3 new audiobooks 2 days ago and started 2 of them in the same day. Not a good idea. To get the most out of a book, take time to write notes, take a few days off when you get confused and even put the book down and move on sometimes to a different book. We don’t choose the books, books choose us, sometimes we are just not ready for the information we are trying consume. Or maybe we need to listen to someone else who has the same message but can present it differently. “
So there you have it, I’m not only one who thinks this way. Try this method and see it for yourself. Do you feel more empowered and grounded when you truly put your eggs in one basket and try to understand it deeply? Or do you feel better when you swim amongst the avalanche of hundreds if not thousands of different sources?