There are so many self-help blogs the number could be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. It’s easy just to read endless articles on any self-improvement topic you can imagine. But having too much information can keep us from taking action. In fact, some people seem to be addicted to this. They love to learn about problems but never take steps to deal with them. They get a brief moment of relief after reading an inspirational story by someone who overcame depression but they never actually put their knowledge to work. Here’s my thoughts on our information overload.
Do You Act On What You Read?
When you read something profound, ask yourself if there is anything you can put into practice. Before you start digging around for more material, just think about what you absorbed and ask if there’s anything specific that you can start doing. You’ll probably quickly run out of time after making a few commitments, but you should be practicing what you learn instead of just taking in more and more information. Stick with those few things and work on putting them into practice throughout your day.
How Much Do You Put Into Practice?
Take a self-assessment. How much information on self-improvement do you take in through books, blogs, podcasts, TV, and radio? How much of this are you putting into practice? If you aren’t making some kind of change as a result of your research, then you need to step back and ask how you can start taking some small consistent steps. In fact, if you read a lot, some of that reading could actually be eating into your time to practice new skills.
I used to read and listen to a lot of podcasts about self-improvement and business. But then I realized I’m not really doing much with it. I was really listening to this stuff as a source of inspiration but I never changed and the inspiration wore off pretty quickly. What I did was cut out about 80% of it and try to follow through on just a few simple things. It was hard at first.
For example, instead of listening to podcasts when I run, do house chores, or drive, I often think about what I’m grateful for or even that I’m grateful for what I’m doing right now. Focusing in our just a few things has forced me to be more successful in following through.
To my surprise, most of the reading or listening I was doing was to just occupy my mind, distract myself, or avoid doing something. It actually kept me from doing the hard work of practicing meaningful skills, such as gratitude or mindfulness, and it also wasn’t that helpful to begin.
If you haven’t done it already, try to go on a self-improvement diet. Cut out the majority of what you’re reading and just try to read what’s most important. Pick one thing that you can work on consistently over the next few months. See how committed you are to it and then see where you can go from there.
Are You Getting The Right Information?
I think a lot of self-help material is inspiration rather than instructional. What I mean by that is it is designed to pique your interest and make you feel good right now rather than actually provide you with solid steps to changing yourself.
Those bullet point lists at the end of an article are a call to action but I can guarantee that most people don’t do them. People probably need more instruction, discussion about overcoming obstacles, and help in setting goals. But those bullet point lists are just too simplistic most of time. No blog can provide all the information you need for change but in this blog I’m moving away from the bullet point. Instead, I’m writing several articles on a topic and what might have been a bullet point in a recommendation section is now an entire article.
The take away is to pick a few good sources of information and then go with those. It could be a blog, self-help book, podcast, but whatever it is, make sure it is quality information and advice.
Review Your Material
One of the challenge of having so much information readily available is that we can always seek out something new. However, we also need to think about the material we read. Thought provoking material can often be read multiple times. Book mark important articles and go back to them from time to time. Ask yourself if you are putting the best advice into practice. Although most blogs may not require several readings, most good self-help books are full of more advice than can be put into practice in one effort. Go back and see what else you can learn. I would guess we probably act on less than 10% of the good advice we gather from our research.
I hope you will find this blog one of your meaningful sources. I have tried to focus on specific topics and provide thought provoking analysis along with practical advice. I’d love to hear your feedback about this or other articles. Please feel free to send me a comment or comment below. Good luck.
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