Learning, but not doing
I don't know about you guys, but I love learning. Not forced learning like school, but out on my own in the world. A lot of it is personal development.
So I get really into it right, so I keep learning and learning, I have all this knowledge. Great, so what?
I think one of my problems is that I just keep learning, and I don't just get out there and do. Now not all the times, sometimes it's the other way around. I'm usually proactive and I go and do, well, recently.
But sometimes I learn something, try it, fail a few times, and go back to learn more about it. But there are just some things you just have to go out and do, esp social things. Sometimes the solution isn't learning more, it's practicing more, and I think that's one of my downfalls. Now this isn't my general way, but once in a while there are things that I do this to. I'm not sure if it's the norm or the exception for me.
Does anybody else seem to notice this sometimes? I think this is one of the dangers of sites like Steve's: there's just so much to learn, you just want to keep learning it, but don't really just go out and do it.
I think that's true - a lot of us have the tendency to value stuff that "sounds true" over stuff that actually works in real life.
Personally, I know that I'll use what I read in real life, because deep down, I want to improve myself.
I can definitely relate. I'm a knowledge junkie. I've probably read enough to keep me busy for years and years if I actually tried applying everything I've learned. Yet, for some reason, I always want more. I don't see anything wrong with that, because learning is one of my hobbies...
However, I can also see how it might slow a person down. The author offers good information, article by article, chapter by chapter, but they can't stop you from reading the rest of the book before you're ready. I think people want to think more than they want to listen. So when chapter one says "Do this now", they think "Yeah right, maybe after I've read the book, researched it, and thought about it first."
I imagine a lot of people have some level of difficulty with this. A little self control might help. For example, don't read any new stuff until you have mastered the stuff you've already read. One chapter at a time...
Or have somebody keep track of your progress, and they can give you pages out of a book after you've proven to them that you're ready to move on! ;)
You don't have to think much about using what you have learned because without you knowing it you are applying what you have learned in everyday small activities you engage in. Though sometimes, you would feel what you have learned have been used at great lenght.
I think I'm the same way. I've read tons of personal development books, gone through almost all Tony Robbin's materials, listened to tons of other personal development audio (Alan Watts, Jack Kornfield, Wayne Dyer, Stephen Covey, etc.) and have (of course) read almost all Steve's articles and listened to all his podcasts. The application of all this material seems to have been a very slow process for me though. I realized lately that I've been quite heavy on outcome visioning and brainstorming (the what and the how) but seriously lacking in purpose (the why?), in organization and definitely in doing (to use Dave Allen's terms). I think the root cause of the lack of action on my part has always been a general lack of purpose in my life (what's the point? why bother? etc.) Even with the help of all this material I have struggled a lot with purpose! As in, I would know what outcome I wanted and generally how to get there, but never have the drive to actually DO it. So my purpose is definitely still a work in progress.
I also have to say that after seeing the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle seemingly everywhere (talked about here, recommended book list, catching my eye at every book store, etc.) for several months now, I finally purchased a copy last week. Some very deep questions of mine, some I've had for years, have finally been answered by this book!
I know what you mean, andrew: I do a ton of research and deliberation before acting, but I don't think it's necessarily a problem. Even if you focus on the internal side of things (learning, thinking, discovering) too much, eventually the corresponding actions and circumstances will creep into your life.
Examples: I heard that Brian Tracy started into business and personal development by reading every relevant book in the public library. Buckminster Fuller, immediately after discovering his life purpose, went for two years without speaking in order to gain the ability to think clearly. And, of course, Jesus spent 40 days (which in Bible-ese just means "a long time") in the desert before he started his ministry.
So I wouldn't get too worried if you're not presently acting on what you've spent a ton of time learning and thinking about it. Once you've thought about it enough (without distraction or contradiction), you'll bring it into your life. (Earl Nightingale: "We become what we think about.")
I hope that's helpful.
Also, the transition into a life of specific purpose doesn't have to be an over night event. Taking small steps towards how you want to be could be the way.
Personally, I'm narrowing down what my purpose may be by constantly asking myself the question: Do I enjoy what i'm doing at the moment? (or, more straight forward: What is my purpose?)
Maybe it's just a matter of trying as many new activites as possible until you find what 'clicks' for you (depending on your current situation).
Yeah, I understand what you're talking about. I wasn't saying it like I thought it was a problem learning a lot, but more along the lines of "you can learn and read about how to shoot the perfect basket, the physics, angles, the best tips and tricks, but if you never go out and shoot, you'll never get better at it".
I've had this same problem too. I'm always learning or trying to learn, but when it comes to actually doing, there is one thing you need to do.
Have you discovered your purpose? Know what your goals are? The milestones to get to fulfilling your destiny?
If you know what these are, then you can translate what you know into how you want to get these done. But knowledge is not nearly enough - motivation is an essential ingredient. Ask yourself - are you motivated? Maybe you need to focus there too.
The college where I did my engineering degree had a slogan that went "knowlede is power". I have never, ever agreed with that statement, because it is incomplete. Knowledge is only potential power. And if you don't know where to apply it and how, then it's not power at all.
I've read so many personal development books articles. And I have tried them all. Tried as in practiced them because I'm the type of person that as soon as I learn something I will apply it right away. What I found out was that some practices will work for you and some wont. Bottom line is that you have to experience it. After experiencing what works for you, action follows with ease.
No, I don't know any of that. That could be an issue, but again, I wasn't trying to make it seem like it's a big problem for me, but just more as a general statement to put out there. Sometimes it's a fluff factor, like um, why would "blah blah blah" have anything to do with it. I know in my mind I should, but I don't know, I'm pretty lazy. I'm wired up for instant gratification. Though a lot of things I'm not, which makes me proud for sticking with them.
I've felt the same many times. For me it comes down to laziness pure and simple; the feeling that it's much easier to sit and read and hope that something gets through and when I really need to apply that knowledge it'll work out fine. Sometimes it does, most of the time it doesn't ;)
I definitely feel the same way, and from what the other posts in this topic tells me--there are a lot of us like that :) For me the problem is general--I'm more of a theoretical guy rather than a practical guy, call me a greek, if you will.
So what I'd like is more tips on how to convert this tremendeous theoretical energy we have, into practical doing. Anyone?
I was like that, always learning and not practising. I dont know, maybe i was searching for a perfect method, 'the method' that will rule them all. Also maybe i was afraid that if i miss some important knowledge the practise would be harmfull. (For some cases like diet, exercsing you really should learn a lot. But in most cases you should just begin practising whatever you got in your hand.) I was buying books after books and when i really learn the theory i was changing direction.
Then i read Pavlina's self-discipline series, worked on that and in three months i become a totally different person (I became a vegetarian, early riser (just 07:00 :p but early for me), more productive, regularly exercising guy, quit smoking, coke, junk food etc., get organised and much more :) )
Just accept that we re not really learning by reading, only by doing it. I recommend little steps and 30 day trial method that Steve Pavlina wrote about.
I forgot, another tip: I listed every method, technique, every meditation, affirmation etc i have learned for years, i put every personal development book in front of me. I picked the ones that seemed more resonable for me and completely ignored the others. I usually picked the easy ones not forcing myself too much and began working on them. One of them, for example, writing my long term goals every morning like Chris posted in another thread.
I'm usually a knowledge junky too, but sometimes when I find some extremely nice pieces of info I put'em in practice right after reading. For going vegetarian, for example, I had read that "you don't need meat to survive" one night, and in the other day I didn't eat meat anymore.
One thing to help with this reading-but-not-doing thing is learning music, because you HAVE to practice to make sure you've learn it right (points to the violin). :)
I'm exactly like you people. But few days ago i was hanging around with my friend and started about our favourite topic, girls etc. Then I said one sentence, they all shut up looked at me and one friend said : "You have so great way of looking at life". I felt happy about that, i felt that reading that huge amount of books is finally giving results. I am changing but i'm not fully aware of it. You're probably not aware of it too, but watch around every day. Some small thing like that sentence of my friend will give you sign that you are doing something and that books influenced you more than you can imagine.
Excellent thread. Being somewhat of a knowledge-junkie I´ve experienced this too and think this a pretty common problem. I wrote about it a bit in my article Do not get stuck in reading
And I really like placebo´s reply. I´ve found that to be true in my life too. :)
Just out of curiosity, what was it that you said placebo?
I've had a few things like that myself when I talk to people about dating and such, they're like wow you really know a lot for your age. And when I mentioned not saying anti war bur pro peace, because it focuses on a a negitive and war and that's where the energy is. They were like wow too.
It's a nice feeling, and you're right, just by reading and learning it affects your outlook on things. There are a lot of things still that you don't really need to practice to use, and you learn them and it's like okay, I got it, but you still need to put an effort to be aware of it at first until it becomes assimilated into you.
Oh, boy can I relate to this!
I'm very much this type of person. The knowledge-junkie. That's me. It's even one of my major goals in life. I love to learn new stuff.
I like to build and plan my projects in my head, but then I always fail to follow through. In some ways I feel like it is escalating. But perhaps that is because I'm starting to notice it since I got into personal development.
I have visions of how to furnish the apartment I live in. I have written plans for different 30-day trials. I have unfinished sculptures and paintings waiting to be started. I have exams that I didn't pass. All this usually just mounts up, my refudge is to read more about personal development or learn more about art theory instead. Buy some new books and read them. Start up new projects in my mind and the spiral twist downward again.
Somehow I'm just now realizing that this must be my first 30-day trial I finish. Start doing stuff. This got me thinking. Anybody have any good suggestions on how I should start? This is a Very strongly ingraned pattern in me, so it won't be a breeze. I don't want to plan too much though that would just reinforce the pattern again. Just solve simple stuff for 30-days perhaps? Keep count on how much I do each day then prioritise important tasks?
Ha! I was going to ask the exact same question yesterday, but decided to go sleep instead! Interesting... I knew I was not alone, but I didn't know there were that many of us. How do we deal with this? I really hate being like this. I learn, learn, learn, but never apply it.
The other problem is quitting from being bored (or figuring it out). I'll start a project and quit it half way, either because I get disinterested or I figure out how to do it (programming code) and then it becomes boring.
Just registered to this bored.
I can empathize with the knowledge gathering thing, and looking for how to even begin to apply said knowledge into ones life.
I went for years, making changes by quitting, first negative things, like smoking/drinking, etc...but it never seemed to really change my life any, even though NOT doing these things is better for me. But, I finally started to try the other route. Implementing things INTO my life, instead of elemenating things.
1. Going for a walk.
2.Saying my prayers/intentions on a regular basis.
3.Sitting in SILENCE, actively. (As oppossed to watching TV.)
4.Joining in on the MDI.
5.Saving my change in a jar.
6.Paying my bills on time.
7.Putting together a Get-out-debt-plan, and actively working it.
These are just some small examples, but over the years, I've noticed a pretty good over-all change in my life circumstances.
Not yet where I want to be, but I can see how far I've come. Still, when I think a further change needs to be made, I end up automatically looking for things to eliminate in my life, and soon I notice that, and start to actively look for positive things to bring into my life instead.
I think Steve mentioned in one of his articles that it's not enough to just eliminate a negative. That's all well and good, but to bring in a positive substitute, helps to fill the gap.
Steve's site was an answer to a seeking of implemental knowledge, for me. Many things I could do, RIGHT NOW!
Dorothy: Yeah that kind of applies to the example I had. You were focusing on eliminating negitive things. That's pretty much two negitive things, eliminating and negitive itself. But once you start focusing on the positive things, all that energy was now positive instead of negitive. Like my pro peace example. I find that's a really valuable frame to be in.
moltar: I can understand that man. When I'm coding something, what usually happens is that halfway through I usually get a better idea, or my skills get better and can do it better in another way, or I think of soemthing totaly different and just get side tracked. It's really pretty bad, I've been trying to get this software out for 8 months and it just keeps getting put off and put off. And it's like 95% done for the past 3 months UGH. That's not really what I was talking about at the beggining, but I suppose it's the same idea of not finishing what you start.
Getting to implementation was always hard for me. I don't know what happened, but last November I kind of hit an inspiration point, and actually started doing rather than just continually reading. I don't think I would have taken that step of doing without that feeling of inspiration though.
And the odd thing that happened was that I took that one small step of committing myself to living my life a certain way, and things started snowballing from there. Some great things happened, and I ended up a part of a very small online group of people who have been just about the greatest thing that has happened to me.
Since then, I just look for what inspires me, and I move with it. Everything else, I think to myself, hey, that sounds great, but I'm okay with just learning about it and not doing anything more with what I've learned.
Yep. It all comes down to taking MASSIVE ACTION. In fact its better I think to take action based on ignorance than no-action based on a foundation of knowledge.
Getting the balance is key I think. I work in a sales environment and I am always looking for a better way to do it. But too often I lose site of the abc's of selling which basically is a numbers game. As long as you ask/show enough people they will buy from you. However, it is always a struggle for me to keep in touch with this principle.
I really struggle with goal setting and I think this might be an issue, or it might be a sub-conscious fear of failure etc.
Its a work in progress as they say.:(
This is an issue I struggle with daily. For me, I think it is a form of procrastination, and is also part of my personality. When I don't feel like doing something, I read or surf the net. It makes me feel like I am bettering myself (and hopefully I am), even though I should really be doing something. One of the enlightening moments related to this occurred when I went to a leadership conference at work. We took a personality test, which I have done before, and as before, came out as an INTP. One of the traits of this personality type is that I like to figure things out and learn things, but get bored once I figure them out. This helps explain why I design new projects for my woodworking hobby but rarely complete them, why I write business plans but rarely implement them, etc.
It is frustrating for me to have many ideas and many tasks that need to get done, but to not act on them. Part of it, I believe, is wanting to make sure I am optimizing my time. In the process of figuring out what to do, I "waste" time by analyzing which task is most appropriate to complete. In my most productive days, I refer to my next action list and projects list (GTD disciple - but that is another post), pick something and do it. One of the books I am reading now is Maltz's Psycho-Cybernetics. One of the key principles is that you set a course, go, course correct, go some more, course correct...My takeaway from this is that it is not important to have the perfect plan, or even an optimized plan, but rather to have A plan and act on it with the knowledge that I will refine the plan as I go. This is also a key principle in Paul Graham's writings on start-up companies.
As I said at the start, this is a daily struggle for me. Some days are good and some leave me feeling as if not much, if anything was accomplished. For me, it is very important to keep focused (tough to do with lots of ideas) with my "eyes on the prize" (goals). I do well when I refer to my goals daily, but this is something I have not had the discipline to do over an extended period of time.
My friend (the room owner) was worried becuse he didn't manage to entertain them and he felt that it was his fault.
In my opinion it wasn't.Beacuse if you come into someone's house or room, obviously you came in with some goal or reason and you shouldn't keep your mouth shut all the time.
So i think it was their fault, not my friend's. And that is what i said to him.
I can relate to this too, in a painful and personal way. Read tons of personal dev books through the years, but right now, my younger brother who didn't is more 'successful' than I am in a lot of ways (e.g. he makes more money than I do).
But I've noticed the trick is in 3 parts:
1) To recognize what you've already done that kicked ass. Yea, perhaps my personal growth has been kinda slow. But like a lot of you wrote, and I agree with, life doesn't happen in a straight line. It can be a series of slow starts and stops, tangents and getting back again.
That's something I've come to realize, not from any book, but from just living a little bit more every year (the book 'Success Built To Last' which I just read did reaffirm that in one of their chapters tho! Talk about synchroncity! :)).
2) You are the sum total of all your experiences. I truly believe this. Perhaps you feel right now that you should be further along now in your own path, mega-rich, with a beautiful Hugh Jackman/Natalie Portman-ish spouse, flying superpowers and the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the world twice over.
But what if all that stuff you read fed back to help you become the good stuff that you've already done and the good qualities you now possess, without which they wouldn't have happened? I think that's a good thought, and it's how I'd chose to think about it.
3) Schedule it, and it's real. One of the best buys I ever got was a personal organizer, a PDA in my case. It made me realize that setting goals was all well and good, but when those goals go into my schedule (eg goal: workout vs. gym today at 10), that's when stuff became real for me.
Action Time before Learning Time...
This is a simple situation and happens with many of us. In fact, this is a happy situation to be because you are one step closer to success that those who are too lazy to learn new things. Learning equips one with knowledge to take right action.
1. Put action time first. Keep action time in your day before learning time. Read, discuss and learn say after lunch. Utilize first part of the day or early morning hours as action hours. I have used it may times to get into act for important projects.
Author Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code) loves to start writing at 4.00 in the morning as per Meet Dan»FAQs»Official Website of Dan Brown
2. Know your motivation behind learning. On a deeper level see what your motivation behind learning is; is it
3. Balance is important. Devote some time to realize what you love doing. Good if it is same thing that earns you your bread and BUTTER:) . If both are different, try devoting time to both as per current priorities. At the same time keep on doing things which will take you closer to the work you love.
You as a web developer need learning in that field. Weigh the time, zero in on the topic you want to learn about and choose 4-7 good resources in that field.
Steve's site and other resources on the web are can be accessed through various categories. Pick the ones which you find most relevant.
Yep, I'm another one who has had a major problem taking action in my life. I feel it's starting to change though.
Not sure where I read this, maybe on Steve Pavlina...can't remember..but I've started to overcome this problem by thinking about a lot of things like this:
Pretend you are a lumberjack with an axe to chop down a tree. All your learning, reading, studying, etc. is like sharpening the axe...which is great...but at some point you have to start swinging the axe, even if it's just to test and see if it's sharp enough yet. You will periodically need to stop and sharpen the axe again, but you at least have to start swinging at some point to see what happens.
It was worded much better when I heard it... but I think you all get the idea.
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