Oh, the frustration and stress that comes with information overwhelm.
You feel like there’s so much to consume yet so little time.
How do you even begin to deal with all the articles, videos, books, and information out there?
I have felt this way many times before and it sucks. I feel overwhelmed because there is simply too much out there. I feel like I am missing out or not doing what I could be doing. I end up giving up because I can’t get to it all.
Today, I want to share with you some innovative strategies to deal with information overload.
You can listen to the audio version of this (with unmentioned bonus tips) through my podcast episode here:
1. You have the luxury and obligation to be choosy in this era
For centuries, useful information was a rare privilege. Those who were lucky enough got their hands on a single book over their lifetime. Then, the printing press was invented and books were available to the masses. And then, the Internet came along. We all of a sudden got access to millions of articles, podcasts, audio books, and videos.
What makes it even worse today is the fact that people churn out content to get attention. We now have to sift through tons of mediocre content to find a couple gems.
This is an era of abundance and now it’s more important than ever to choose carefully who you listen to. The most expensive advice (in terms of wasted time and money) is bad advice. You are doing yourself a service by cutting back on who you listen to but also choosing wisely.
You can find the exact person who has succeeded exactly how we want to and listen to him or her. We don’t need to settle anymore. If you wanted to be successful in the coffee industry, Howard Schultz has written books on how he grew Starbucks into a multi-billion dollar industry.
2. More important than saying yes is saying no
Even though I am in the personal development space, 99% of the content out there I do not read. Why? Because I know it is not credible and the dangers of taking bad advice is not worth it.
There are plenty of self help articles on “secrets of millionaires.” Yet 99% of them have no credibility. There is no proof, data, or evidence. It’s just a random stranger who probably made up the tips to get information. Therefore, I hit the delete button.
3. Follow gurus and advice based on results achieved rather than awards given (this includes best-seller lists)
While some books that are on the best-seller list because they truly produced a lot of results for readers, many books are there simply because they were good at convincing people to buy them. They were in the business of marketing and selling books.
It’s a tragedy that books by billionaires on how they succeeded are ignored, while well-marketed books by entrepreneurs who made the first million are well known.
4. Avoid advice supported by only a couple anecdotes or case studies
Random stories to support a point are good but an extensive review of a large population can be trusted more because it’s a larger sample size. A small sample can be influenced by chance or random outliers in the group.
5. Examine the results of who you follow with where you want to be one day
If your goal is to live on a beach and work 4 hours a day as an ethical online business millionaire, maybe Ryan Lee of Freedym.com (affiliate link) is worth listening to rather than a millionaire lawyer who is unhealthy and stressed from working 80 hours a day.
Ask yourself, “Is this person giving advice on something he himself is successful in?”, “Is he as successful as I wish to become?”, and “Is he successful at what I want to achieve?”
If not, maybe this isn’t the ideal person for you.
I have noticed that even successful people fall into the trap of giving advice in areas outside their expertise. There are plenty of interviews of millionaires I have consumed on YouTube or podcasts, and I am surprised to say that I have seen quite a few go off track and give advice in an area where they didn’t make their money in.
Everyone does this so make sure you only take the advice that you can trust. If a muscular man gives fitness tips, listen in but be careful when he starts moving into career advice. Same things goes for a man who made his money in real estate who is all of a sudden giving advice on nutrition or social media.
6. Learn from some of the best and niche down
As hinted at earlier, you have the luxury of finding the absolute best at what you want to achieve. Here are some examples:
- If I want to be the best basketball coach, I read the book written by the best coach of all time, Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.
- If I want to be a better discount retail distributor, I read the book by the best businessman of all time in that space Made in America because he went from zero to billions.
- If I want to make it as an entertainer in the music industry or be a great music executive, I read the book Sing to Me by L.A. Reid, a music exec who has discovered more stars than possibly anyone ever to exist.
In the past, we couldn’t get access to these people so we were grateful to just get advice from any successful person. Times have changed. Don’t be afraid to find advice specifically from the industry you are in. By doing so, you can tune out less relevant advice.
Now, sometimes, you may still find advice from someone lower down useful. Maybe someone hasn’t made billions, but he is one step ahead of you and can give more specific tips on starting out. A super successful person could forget what it’s like or simply may not mention that in his book.
7. Use “Just In Time” Learning
The problem with learning too much stuff you can’t use immediately is that by the time you get to a point you can use it (if you ever do) you’ll have forgot what you learned. For example, it would be foolish to read advice on how to manage a 100 million dollar company when you don’t even have an idea on how to start a business yet.
“Just in Time” learning solves this. I learned this concept from Jeremy and Jason of the site InternetBusinessMastery.com and it basically means that you only learn about what need to do next so that it is “just in time” for when you need it.
This drastically cuts down unnecessary but tempting information that you shouldn’t learn right now.
In personal development, there are hundreds of resources and books that can improve social skills, business knowledge, marketing skills, daily habits, and a million other things.
Most people start off not knowing where to look to find the truly remarkable information.
The next level is knowing what to do next.
Honestly, I’ve been pulled in a million directions and the end result is little progress and mediocre results.
When you spread your time and energy, you get mediocre results for a variety of activities. If you focus on one area, you get more results (a concept popularized by many, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and the book Essentialism).
Look at this picture I made to illustrate:
This is what Warren Buffett and Bill Gates call their #1 factor for success.
Do one thing well and focus down.
Just look for what’s most important that comes next.
If you don’t need to learn about pricing or marketing … stop reading books on it.
You’re rationalizing that it’s useful and productive … BUT if you don’t even have a job, you should be focusing on just career advice.
Save the pricing stuff for another day!
This can be applied to almost any field:
Don’t study deep text on how to properly take a girl on a date when you have horrible trouble with just the approach.
Focus on fixing your approach first.
Get more bonus tips in my podcast episode:
If you didn’t get a chance, listen to my podcast episode on this topic for bonus tips on dealing with information overload here:
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