Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How To Get Dumber While Learning

Alan Weiss, a very successful consultant, has said this many times:

"If you improve by 1% a day, in 70 days you’re twice as good."
Today I ran across a follow-on insight he had late last year that he appended to the end of the prior statement:
"But if you don’t learn carefully and instead become confused, the opposite can actually occur. People can get dumber."

I gotta say, that I know that to be true because I experience it again & again... with myself. I am so addicted to acquiring new knowledge that I constantly read books, newsletters, web sites, blogs, etc. When I'm doing it connected to a particular topic or concern (as opposed to more serendipitous research) I often find myself learning WITHOUT doing. Eventually I have to convince myself to bite the bullet, take what I've acquired thus far, and take action on it.

It's tough deciding, especially when you don't have a concrete deadline, to stop researching and pondering... and to simply take action. But, until you do, it's all theory and, well, generally not very useful.


1 comment:

Jake said...

For a magazine article, I recently interviewed a professional speaker whose background is in neurobiology. He talked about how "getting lost" is an essential part of learning. Basically, you need to override your survival system in order to make a change.

So, there *is* something to be said for immersing yourself in stuff you don't know--though your point is well taken, that without action, there ain't nothin'.