I want to talk a little about information overload today. How it pertains to business, to life, to filmmaking and everything else.
We live in an information saturated world these days. The internet is awash in information and our inboxes are flooded with new ways to take in more of the stuff. We’re bombarded by it on our smart phones, tablets and computer screens.
I know so many people who are caught in this place, and I myself was stuck here for years. It is a dangerous place to be because it is an invisible trap. Yes, I’m talking about information overload.
Death by information in the information age
Information is a spider web that lures you in to your death.
Information is the mantis that gets you to mate with it, giving you good feelings, while it is killing you.
Information is the sugar-high that makes you feel the rush of energy while it is giving you diabetes.
What I am about to say is the solution to all of your problems in life, friendships, relationships, business, and everything else.
All information is useless unless you have a place to apply it.
Information is absolutely dead. It has no life of its own. The only way it is useful and comes to life is if it is applied.
The only way it can be applied is if it is relevant to your life.
The only way it can be relevant to your life is if you are trying things.
The only way you can try things is in the pursuit of a goal.
The only way you can pursue a goal is if you are not comfortable with the current situation.
The only way you will not be comfortable with the current situation is if you see there is a gap between how things currently are and a better future.
The only way you can have a better future is to be actively involved in something.
You can’t be actively involved in something if you are gathering information about things you are not currently doing.
And that’s the rub with information and taking it in: you need to be actively working on something in order to prosper from more information.
We need to be very selective in how we spend our time. This is true of the way we work and the knowledge we gather. There is so much self-improvement and business porn in the world that we fool ourselves into thinking that learning all this stuff is the same as making progress in life.
Do not start out by consuming information
Start out by looking at your current situation and learning what is needed to make that situation better.
If you ever spend time on a regular business forum, you’ll find countless people who are learning all these techniques to maximize their businesses, but they can’t get out from behind the keyboard and actually go meet people.
On those sort of sites, you have a lot of people who can tell you boatloads of stories and have loads of data about marketing and sales and business, but are not actually applying any of it.
It is very easy to spot them. Overly complicated plans are clear giveaway.
Very few things are complicated. Humans like simple things.
Unless you are calculating the price of bonds, there is truly nothing that is super complex to execute.
The really successful people keep things simple.
The same is true in your life. Do not pick some info that tickles your brain and gives you a sugar high because it will do you no good.
Instead, do this:
- Look at your life and identify an aspect you are currently actively involved in,
- Identify a way it could be better,
- Set a target for that (set a goal), and then
- Start trying things to make progress towards that specific goal.
As you are making progress toward that specific goal, seek out information that will assist you with the step you are currently on.
Mount Everest and Video Business
There are a tonne of people out there in the filmmaking/video production community who know all about making great looking films.
Technically, they’re amazing.
But, from a business standpoint, they have no product to sell!
They wonder why they can’t make money with their video business.
Yes, filmmaking skills are obviously hugely important. But if you don’t have marketing behind the product you’re delivering to the client, and you can’t sell your services and what you do… you are learning the wrong things.
Here’s an example for those that are working a day-job: If you have a career and need to increase your income, seek out things about how to ask for a raise. Learn how to be better at that specific job.
If you have a video business, learn sales techniques that will help you with selling your services.
Don’t look around at the future and try to learn what you will need at that point. Instead, look around at where you are right now and learn what you can apply right now.
Imagine standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest and learning all you can about cold weather gear, but you don’t even know how to climb. When you try to teach something about climbing to someone who has actually been up Everest, they will know you are a do nothing fool who talks too much.
And stop dreaming about being on top of Everest. If you could teleport to the top, you’d realize it looks like being on top of many other mountains.
The climb is what makes the trip to the top of Everest interesting.
So, just look around where you are, figure out what the next step needs to be, and start moving.
Keep Moving Forward to Avoid Information Overload
As you are moving forward, look for information and products that help you solve a current problem.
This is the basic function of business ownership:
- identifying problems, and
- solving them.
Don’t solve future problems…solve now problems.
I have consulted with many people who have spent a lot of time building all these complex ideas and plans that are totally useless. These people are never making any money.
The people who are making money are the people who take a simple approach:
- identify the very next step towards a goal, and then
- take that step.
Don’t learn things you cannot apply right now.
Don’t learn how to solve problems you do not currently have.
The Key to Success
Identify where things need to improve, formulate a goal, figure out what is keeping you from having that goal right now. Then start working on it.
Don’t start learning until you start working. As you are working you identify problems to solve. That is when you need to learn.
Your best teacher will be experience. The info just gives you approaches to try. You can learn everything there is to know about Everest, but until you rope up and start climbing, you don’t know anything.
The key to success is simple: do stuff.
Use what you learn to do stuff better.
In reality, you already know that all this learning is holding you back. You know you are just procrastinating.
I dare you: commit to consuming zero media for a month. No TV, no news, no books, no YouTube, no articles, no motivation, no radio, no courses. Nothing. No media for a month.
Instead, for the next month, take action. If you just apply what you already know, you can make more progress in a month than you did in the last year.
I know I’ve belabored the point a bit here. However, it’s very important. I know this is a long rant, and I hope it helps someone to move forward.
If this has helped you avoid information overload and get started on a new project, idea or business direction, let me know in the comments below! Thanks!