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Knowledge Is NOT Power

goalsetting habits Jul 05, 2021

Knowledge is not power, knowledge is POTENTIAL power - Tony Robbins

Way too many men believe that knowledge is power - but that couldn’t be more misleading. Knowledge on its own never created power, success, or achievement. Does that make knowledge invaluable or overrated? Absolutely not. Knowledge holds great potential power - but only when appropriately applied.

Knowledge left unapplied is a waste - of time, of potential, of purpose. Knowledge without action is dead. So how do we avoid letting all the good knowledge at our fingertips go to waste? In a world where knowledge is more available than it’s ever been, how do we turn potential power into real results?

When starting my entrepreneur journey, I did what many others do when starting out. I tried to learn as much as I could about business. However, I fell into a common trap over mistaking learning with consumption. While I assumed the more books I read, the more podcasts I listened to, the more audiobooks I had on in the background - the more that my business knowledge would improve. 

Fast forward to well over a hundred podcasts, books, and blogs and I found myself in a pretty similar situation as before: still broke and confused, and honestly a little more overwhelmed about all the things I could be doing but wasn’t. I had consumed a ton of content, ‘knowledge’ if you will, yet had seen zero change in my circumstances, or my ‘power’. And I know I’m not alone in this struggle. I’ve helped many new and current business owners work through the same struggles. Overconsumption of content, without application, might be worse off than no consumption at all.

Our businesses, and every other area of my life for that matter, started to shift when I applied the principle of less but better. Instead of listening to a podcast a day, I would listen to the same podcast several times, take notes, and break down how it applied to our specific situation and what action steps I could take from it. I started to do the same thing with books, reading them 3, 4, or 5 times until I understood more and more about how to apply it to my life. While this is definitely more uncomfortable than setting the cruise control on your learning - it’s a necessary step to your next level. 

There’s nothing wrong with leisurely reading just to read. But don’t mistake listening to self-help podcasts and reading business books as progress towards your goals. How many books you read or podcasts you listen to is nothing but an ‘ego metric’ if you’re not actually applying what you’re consuming. Knowledge is only potential power until it’s applied to your life, your business, your relationships, or whatever it is you’re trying to improve.

Now that you can see why knowledge is only potential power until acted on, let’s talk about what to do to ensure you’re getting the most out of the hours you’re spending learning.

Shift your view on learning

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to shift your style of learning to less but better. One book. One podcast. One word. That’s all it takes to change your life forever when acted on. In a culture of overconsumption - fight to stay disciplined in being immersed in the present. Don’t finish one book, course, or podcast and immediately think about the next one on your list you need to jump right into. One book fully processed, applied, and implemented is worth far more than a hundred without action.

Don’t learn everything - learn just what you need to in order to take action

This one’s for all you procrastinators out there, trying to learn everything you can while finding the perfect time to take action (I’m speaking from experience). The time will never be right, and you will never be able to learn everything you need. When you convince yourself that the only thing stopping you from succeeding in a certain area of your life is more knowledge - you’re operating out of fear. Fear of failure - which can’t be avoided and should actually be welcomed. Or fear of success - knowing that when you actually take action you’re going to have to change things inside of you that you might not be ready to change. Knowing you’ll have to give up comfort and an old way of thinking to step into a new or better life. 

Don’t let these fears keep you stuck in the cycle of learning without application. Learn quickly and act quickly. Only with action will you truly learn where you need to grow and improve. Then you can do it all again. Learn - Act - Get Feedback - Repeat. Remember that the only outcome that matters is the results you’re getting...or not getting.

Be more active in your learning

Throw away the mindset of consuming a piece of content just to consume it. Instead, try more active approaches to your learning:

  • Take lots of notes: Mark up the books you’re reading, keep a notes section on your phone or notebook on hand to remember key takeaways and things that stand out.
  • Dirty up your books: If you’re reading an impactful book, it should be filled with highlights, markings, notes in the margins, and bookmarked pages. If it gets to the point where you can’t read it anymore - you’re on the right track. Go buy another copy.
  • Write out (or voice record) summaries: After each chapter, podcast, course section, and at the end of the book - write up a summary of what you learned. Don't worry about making this perfect, the key is to get in the habit of processing what you actually learned. Anyone else ever read a chapter or listened to a podcast and couldn’t really verbalize what they learned? Me too - it’s a real problem. Make sure you’re learning and not just consuming.
  • Tell someone about what you’re learning: Take those summaries and go tell it to someone. The act of verbalizing it and teaching someone else will keep you accountable and actually further reinforce what you’re learning.
  • Challenge yourself to APPLY one thing in everything you learn..or it’s not worth learning. If you can’t find one main thing to apply from what you just listened to - you’re either consuming the wrong content or you’re not thinking about it actively enough as it relates to your situation. Even content related to different business industries, seasons of life, etc can be applied to your specific situation if you allow it to.

Key takeaway: don’t leave this page without choosing one thing you’re going to apply. Reading articles and consuming content simply to feel productive or get a quick boost of motivation won’t get you the meaningful results that you’re really after and capable of achieving.

Everything hinges on action - now go apply it!

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