Learning Everyday

Did you know the human body is inundated with 34 GB of information every day?

If that much information was on paper, it would fill 34 pickup trucks.  That is a lot of information, and it’s every day.

Learning Everyday

The benefits of learning something new every day are amazing.  We learn to learn quicker, it makes us more interesting, and make us better at adapting to change.  Learning reduces stress and adds to our confidence.

The issue, however, is not the learning of new things; it is the application of our new wisdom.

Use What You Learn

The problem of receiving 34 GB of information every day is that we seldom take any action on what we have consumed. How many of the articles you read, videos you watch, phone calls you make, words you say, and podcasts you listen to, do you actually take action on?

We all feel good about reading newsworthy articles, listening to current podcasts, and following relevant blogs.  They are inspiring, and each one conjures new ideas.

But we do nothing, and tomorrow we get a fresh 35 GB of new information on top of what we just received.

Cost of Information and Action (Inaction)

Derek Silvers, author of Anything You Want has an interesting way of evaluating the opportunity cost of receiving information and taking or not taking action. In his concept, ideas are worth nothing unless executed; they are just a multiplier. Execution is the real value.

Here is his formula:

AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20
——– ———
NO EXECUTION = $1
WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
SO-SO EXECUTION = $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000

To use this formula, take the quality of the new idea and multiply it by the level of execution.  For example, the most brilliant idea with no execution is worth $20 (20 x $1).  A so-so idea with good execution is worth $500,000 (5 x $100,000).

While this formula has no real day-to-day purpose, it is illustrative of the value of assembling information and then ultimately using that information.

Application

For business leaders and entrepreneurs who are all pressed for time, we need to be very selective about the information we take in.  By limiting this information, we:

  • Take in less information and be less overwhelmed by the volume of data.
  • Be consuming only target specific information related to our businesses.
  • Consciously be able to decide on specific actions to take based on each bit of information.

Here are several ideas to limit the information you take in every day.

  1. Target topics of information to learn. Look for ideas on things the peripherally affect your business interests. For example, you occasionally negotiate employment contracts, so peripheral interests may be in negotiating skills, different types of contracts, and how people are employed throughout the world.
  2. Select a learning style. Some people learn best by reading text on paper and highlighting sentences and making margin notes.  Others can listen to a podcast and jot or dictate ideas as they arrive.
  3. Find a consistent source for your learning. If you learn best through audio, do you rely on podcasts, TED talks, or audiobooks?
  4. Set a curriculum. This is a learning experience, and just like all good learning experiences, it requires a plan.

We need to decide before spend our time learning new information if we are going to apply what we learn.  Focus on getting great information and then find the time to apply it as best you can.  Plan to collect great (value of 15) and brilliant (value of 20) ideas and then follow up at some level of execution even if it is weak (value of $1,000) or so-so (value of $10,000).

The Bible

Philippians 4:9 says.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

The verse from the Apostle Paul has two parts.  The first is “whatever” we learn, regardless of how we learn it, we need to put it in practice.

Second, God is providing this information for our use to glorify Him.  Sure, we will plan to execute this information for our businesses, but as our businesses prosper, we are simultaneously glorifying God.

Plan the information you will take in today, and find some way to execute on what you have learned every day.  And, don’t forget, the Bible is one of the best sources of information for you to take in every day.