Are You Reading Instead of Taking Action? - Deepstash





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Are You Reading Instead of Taking Action?

Are You Reading Instead of Taking Action?
One idea I've been pondering over lately is to what extent reading about self-improvement is a complement versus a substitute for taking self-improvement action. Complements and substitutes are terms that come from economics. A complement to a product is something you buy more of when you buy the product.


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Reading vs doing

Reading about self-improvement can be a compliment or a substitute for taking action.

  • A complement view to self-improvement writing is that it should aid with personal development - the more books you read, the more likely you are to work on improving yourself.
  • With substitutes, we really want that good feeling that we're doing something to improve our personal development. Reading about improvement can fill that need even though the challenges we're facing aren't being resolved immediately.

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    The dominating factor

    To find out if the substitute or complement dominates will depend on many factors.

    • The material itself. Some types of self-improvement provide a large emotional payoff but are weak on substantial follow-up. They don't make good complements.
    • The Nature of the self-improvement task. Some types of self-improvement work are difficult. In those areas, it might be easier to consume self-improvement material instead.

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    The problem with substitution

    Without doing and solving the main issue, more information will only be counterproductive.

    Trying to offer encouragement may be harmful in the long-run. The best treatment involves confronting the anxiety and not to reduce the tension by consolation. By offering sympathy, you are escaping from your anxiety - a short-term relief that reinforces the pattern of the original stress.

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    Consider how much effort you're putting in to actively work on the areas you're reading about.

    If you are working little on the areas you've identified, but spending a significant amount of time-consuming information, you may be having some kind of substitution effect.

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    It's knowing how to learn. Learning itself is a skill, and knowing how to do it well is an incredibly valuable advantage.

    Merely acquiring information is not learning....

    Learning has 2 phases

    Learning is a two-step process:

    • Read/listen: feeding ourselves new information.
    • Process and recall what you’ve just ‘learned’: connecting new materials to what we already knew.

    Remembering the right things

    You should not waste your time by committing unimportant details to memory. 

    Your focus should be on understanding the bigger picture, on how things relate to each other.

    Benefits of a daily writing habit

    Benefits of a daily writing habit
    • Better self-discipline
    • Improving persuasion skills
    • Cultivating self-awareness
    • Better decision ma...

    Writing as self-discipline

    The reason why we don’t do anything useful with our time is that we lack self-discipline.

    But when you write every day, you strengthen your discipline. And you can transfer that better self-discipline to achieve anything in life.

    Writing cultivates self-awareness

    Nothing will help you to get to know yourself more than translating your thoughts into words.

    When you force yourself to write every day, you automatically become more aware of your thoughts. And self-awareness is one of the most important skills that predict career success.

    Learning comes from doing

    Learning comes from doing

    Most people have a faulty idea about when they have actually learned something.

    Learning doesn't come from reading or listening. Reading creates ideas and opportunities. You only le...

    Personal development books

    Reading personal development books and articles is extremely valuable. The only problem is when you confuse this with real learning. 

    Reading a book on exercise doesn't make you fit. Reading an article on time management doesn't make you productive.

    Turning Ideas into Learning

    We can increase our learning when we understand that reading is like a seed - the ideas you read about have the power to create incredible learning and understanding, but only if you act on it.

    Pick a few ideas that you think have the potential to benefit your life most. Then allocate time, energy and resources to practice those ideas.