Some of us just can’t get enough of learning. We are constantly on the search for the next piece of information that will finally take us where we want to go: a bonafide information junkie.
Maybe it’s that pricey seminar next weekend. It will surely get us to the place where we can take off and be successful — or have the confidence to start being successful, at least until Monday morning rolls around again.
Or maybe it’s the latest book by our favorite self-help author. They always give us a positive boost and nuggets of wisdom that inspire us to keep going and growing.
It could be yet another article, another Facebook post, etc.
Whatever it is, though, we are certain we need to read or listen to it. Heaven forbid we miss out on the “thing” that will finally get us to the place where everything clicks! We think, “If only I knew a little bit more, I’d know where to start on something. I’d be ready.”
Unfortunately, we can be paralyzed by the seemingly infinite amount of information that is at our fingertips. We may not even realize we’re frozen. We are consuming so much information on a daily basis that we can’t even compute where or how to start or what to do next.
In reality, what is at the heart of this need to learn more is a lack of confidence in our own abilities and fear of not being worthy. (Tweet this.)
The specific fear may look different for each of us, but the themes I’ve seen over the years in my work with creatives (and in my own struggle with my fears) are that we tell ourselves we’re not smart enough, we’re not credentialed enough, or we’re not worthy of being seen and heard on the stage (whatever “the stage” is for you).
Let me be clear, it is absolutely beneficial to learn from others, especially experts in our field who have gone before us. I’m not saying to stop learning and growing. But, what if there were more to learn and even more growth that were to happen if you shipped YOUR work?
A question to ask yourself is this: “At what point is the learning I am doing standing in the way of me creating and getting my best work out in the world?”
As with all things in life, when we take in too much we get out of balance. Being creatively constipated isn’t healthy for you and doesn’t serve the people who need what you have to offer them.
If you feel that you may have slipped into information junkie mode where you are never satiated and feel the need to consume ALL THE THINGS it may be time to go on an information and learning diet.
Start your information and learning diet with baby steps, just as you would with a traditional diet. Set a firm limit on your day; say, 15 minutes of reading that self help book in the morning and 30 minutes during an afternoon break to check out your favorite blog or website. (If you’re checking out articles on your phone all the time, use your phone’s settings to set time limits on certain apps or invest in tools that limit screen time.)
Spend the rest of your time doing. Put the information you’ve been soaking up into practice in an effort to make real, tangible progress on your goals and projects. Then assess the results.
What worked well? What didn’t? Are you ready to cut back even further on your information consumption?
After a few weeks of doing this you may be surprised at what you are creating in the world. You and the world need you to ship your best work. We’re all better off when you do. So, for yourself and for those who need what you have to offer, please take your first step today (even if it’s a baby step) towards creating rather than consuming.