Too much information


wrote a couple of days ago about a problem I was having reading ‘The Hole in our Gospel’ by Richard Stearns.

My problem was that I read too many life-changing books like this one, and yet my life remains unchanged.

I was wondering whether or not I should even read this book. I mean, what’s the point of reading a lifechanging book if you’re not going to allow yourself to be changed by what you are reading?

Some very helpful responses to that post make me realize that maybe my problem is actually down to too much information.

How much information do you get in a day? Really?

You get information from sources such as:

  • TV News
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Books
  • Letters
  • Friends
  • Commercials
  • Billboards
  • News Websites
  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Mashable
  • Emails
  • … and the list goes on

That’s an incredible amount of information coming at us every day. Personally, I’m an information junkie. I just can’t get enough of it.

However, all that information causes a problem:

How much information can one person actually hold and process at any one time? More specifically, how much time does any piece of information (whether news or a new concept or idea) have to take root in your mind before being pushed aside by the next piece that comes in?

My problem is I’m overloaded with information. I read a book and know that what I have read should be life-changing. But I don’t take the time to ruminate on it, to think about it, to process it fully and allow it to alter my life before I move on to the next new concept or idea.

Someone suggested to me,

“What if you decided that you would look for one take-away per book and were determined to implement it?”

I believe he hit the nail right on the head. I’m not ‘determined’ to implement what I read. I flit from one idea, one piece of information to the next, hoping that all this ‘stuff’ going into my head will change me, but I never actually take needed action.

I am, in effect, refusing to take responsibility for my own development and shying away from the work, effort and determination required to change. Instead, I’m hoping that the sheer volume of information I’m sucking in will change me without any work on my part.

What is required is a new mindset. It doesn’t matter how much information I take in, how much teaching I hear or read, how many new concepts I learn. What matters is what I DO with that information.

As I look back at my school education, I realize that I always learned by osmosis. I never really studied, I just learned by listening and skimming through text books. It was enough to get me passing grades, and I got by okay in school.

I’m in my 30’s now. Out here in the adult world, osmosis just isn’t going to hack it any more. The changes I need to make are too deep. The things I need to learn affect areas that are too set-in to change by accident. I need to be DETERMINED to change, every day.

Am I alone in this? Am I the only one? Or are you like me, an information junkie but a passive reader, not an active reader. Do you read and act on it or do you read and forget it a little while later?

Will you even remember this post in an hour’s time? Will you think it’s interesting and then carry on with life as if you never read it?

I’m challenging you today to join me. Stop being passive and be determined to implement the good stuff that you learn.

Don’t hope that it will change you, but make yourself be changed by it and start something new in your life today.