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Why We Should Read Books

Tags: stuck book focus
I thought that reading 52 books a year was going to upgrade my life.
In a way, it did. It exposed me to incredible concepts from ancient philosophy to modern business, all the way through amazing stories (I like history) — I’m still an avid reader.
I realised that focusing on consuming more and more information (podcasts, books, articles) was stopping me from taking meaningful action in life: I kept switching courses.
Information has never been more abundant and available than today, which also creates a plethora of options for us to choose from.
Too many options.
Too many possible paths shown to us. Too many guides and “how to”.
It’s very empowering…until it becomes paralysing as you’re faced with far too many options. Where to start? Who has the right experience you’re looking for? How to choose just the right voice in the crowd?
Maybe you want to start a business, write a book, launch a new product? How about personal goals? You want to grow, focus on your fitness, you want to meet new people. You have so many choices, not just on what to do, but also on how to do it. It becomes overwhelming.
My inbox is filled with readers’ messages saying “Hey, I know what I want, but I’m overwhelmed by choices that I can’t take action” or “I’m on standby cause I have so many ideas” and “I’m stalling because I have so much information. I don’t know where to start from”.
We have so much to do, so much to read, so much to experience that it’s so difficult to find a few things that will give you the results that you want. Unable to find a few things that matter and let go of everything else. Sometimes we are so overloaded by the available options that we cannot move. We become the deer in the headlights, frozen by our inability to move one way or the other because of the seemingly endless list of possible outcomes.
There are so many options out there, we get overwhelmed by FOMO or “fear of missing out”.
We feel that we have to know the secret and unless we sift through the entire web, we’re going to miss out on the key that guarantees our success: “maybe the next ultimate guide will be the one”.
We want to have the entire information so that we don’t get stuck: Stuck with the wrong choice, an unnecessary challenge, an unpleasant (but temporary) failure.
The irony is that, by not wanting to get temporarily stuck, you’re permanently stuck in this endless cycle looking for more information.
Allowing yourself to get stuck is how you get unstuck.
There is no substitute for taking action: taking action is the only way you can complete your life transformation and get to the results that you want. That sometimes will include making mistakes. That’s fine because you can always adjust and find your own way as long as you move forward, as long as you are willing to take action and put in the work and look at your results and be critical.
We Are All Different: we all have different objectives in life and we all have different preferences.
Our individuality means you have to find your recipe: why everyone has the “ultimate guide” — it’s what worked for them in their life situation facing their own mental scripts.
You won’t know what works for you until you actually do it. Take action, look for feedback, and adjust. That’s how you write your own ultimate guide.

This is why too much information keeps you stuck: the amount of theory that you have is so high, you know so much about what you should be doing, what you could be doing, what could go wrong, what should go right.
As well as what you should be doing five years from now, five steps from now.
This causes people to overcomplicate everything due to overthinking.
It’s now a lot more difficult for you to take action because you have too much theory and not enough practice.
The remedy is to take action and implement the information as you go.
Remember, you want to focus on relevant, “just in time” information, instead of infinite and distracting “just in case” information. Absorbing information is like eating food: consuming your yearly amount at once won’t make your muscles grow — it’ll make you sick and ready for a nap.
Instead of being stuck in a spin cycle of looking for information and then trying to navigate that information.

1. Limit how much information you consume
If you’re just getting started on a new project, like launching a business, it doesn’t really matter how to scale or how to hire other people. You don’t need to worry about fulfilment yet.
All these things will get figured out later in the process (when you have more data about your situation): as long as you have a general understanding of the fact that they exist, that’s good enough.
In our launching a new business example, what you want is you want to understand how to take the first step: validating your product with a first sale.
For personal goals such as your fitness, your relationships, your mental growth,…the next step is going to be different. Focus on the information that will help you take that specific next step.
I recommend you cap that to three pieces of content maximum. It doesn’t matter if it’s video, podcasts or anything else, no loopholes.
I used the “information cap” technique with a client who was starting a new online shop and she didn’t know what platform to use: she kept reading so many guides on how to write the perfect page, the perfect sales copy, the perfect listing. I told her “you’re only allowed to read three pieces of content”. Get it out of the way and then we will have the data to learn and adjust.
Do this in your own practice.
Limit the information you consume: give it a maximum amount and ask “is relevant to my next step?”

2. Get some external accountability
Accountability helps you to take action because it’s easy to make excuses with yourself.
Here are a few ways you can get accountability on your project:
Having a mastermind group: a group of people that work toward a similar or parallel goal.
The important thing is that you can help each other, but also share your progress so that you are accountable to the group and you don’t want to let the group down.
Another way is to pair up with an accountability buddy, a friend who is working on something similar. Just make sure that the friend wants to succeed: if they want to sit back and fail, then they’re invested in you not taking action so that they can feel ok for not taking action themselves.
You can also work with a coach, someone that will help you make sense of information, and mix it up with taking action to turn it into transformation.
A good coach will also help you extract the information you already have. They can discuss with you and guide where are you going, what’s your objective, what’s your final aim?
That way you can make sense of all the options available to you, and commit to making progress on one. Instead of exposing yourself to random content and becoming unable to take action, you are focusing on moving forward towards your specific goals. If you’re an entrepreneur looking for clarity and accountability, check out my coaching programme in my profile.

3. Focus on the Vital Few
Instead of waiting for random content to be pushed at you, focus on two or three people that have the results that you want in a specific area of life. Study them, immerse yourself in their material, their podcast interviews, their books, their videos.
How do they get the results that you want to replicate?
How do they think and act?
Doing this will protect you from the distraction of random interviews and interesting pieces coming your way…that will distract you from your mission. Instead of receiving contrasting information about what worked for different people, you will have one recipe to follow: what worked for your virtual mentor.
This will help you bypass FOMO, that fear of missing out, and dive deep into the secrets that lie below the surface: the story, mental models, and step-by-step of that one specific person that you resonate with.

If not, you actually get overwhelmed by the number of options available and the possible steps you could be taking. You are crushed under the weight of every possibility, unable to move.
Too much content and no action becomes a forest of information impossible to decipher.
If you procrastinate by consuming information all the time, via podcasts, blog posts, YouTube videos, books, then do this: set a cap, study a few, and get accountability from a group a friend or a coach.
When you match taking action with looking for guidance, your life’s going to look very, very different a year from now: you’ll have turned information into transformation.

This post first appeared on BingHuman, please read the originial post: here

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Why We Should Read Books


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