- While it is important to read and research throughout life, knowledge is useless unless you apply it to your own actions.
- Informing yourself on a subject is simply the first step in following a new pursuit.
- The next step is to implement this new information, in order to make positive changes in your life.
I am an online brand who has contributed over 4,000 articles and videos online. So I generally receive emails, messages, and requests from people around the world. And given that my childhood was not perfect, I battled with poverty, and I also made plenty of mistakes — I think I resonate with many people.
However, not every interaction is good, not every message I receive is positive, and not every email I read is sensible. And out of the whole lot of the good, the bad, and the ugly, there is one common thread that binds all of them: the illusion of self-improvement.
It is not uncommon for a youngster or working class professional to tell me the following:
- I have read every possible book by Timothy Ferris
- I have listened to all the audio programs of Tony Robbins
- I subscribe to Gary Vaynerchuk and have listened to all his podcasts
- I have read 100 self-improvement books
- I have finished watching over 100 Ted Talks
And the list goes on.
However, after listening or reading to such confessions, people get surprised when I send them this response:
“And so … now what?”
People generally go blank when I state this. I do not know what were they expecting. Maybe a compliment or maybe something along the lines of, “Oh yes, that’s amazing and … ” or possibly an inspirational statement like, “You are headed in the right direction.”
But I don’t say anything like that.
I just listen to them and say … er … “Okay. So what next?”
The problem is people expect that reading a book, listening to a podcast, enrolling for a course, or getting a certificate suddenly makes them ‘special’ or ‘different.’ Kind of someone who is part of an exclusive or elite club.
It’s like because I am an Atheist and someone suddenly joined the Atheist movement, jumps up to me, puts his arm around me and proudly states, “We are atheists and not religious extremists who practice genital mutilation like you.”
Reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a video does only one thing — give you information. That’s it. Nothing else. And it is as good as watching the world news. It only gives you information.
Just as watching CNN and listening to what Donald Trump did in the past year doesn’t make you a politician who can run for office, listening to GaryVee, Tony Robbins, and Tim Ferriss doesn’t make you intelligent, smart, special, or a success story.
I think what people fail to realize is that Knowledge is not Power. Application of knowledge is.
I have read close to 800 books. And at some point, I stopped keeping a count of how many books I read and how fast I read them. Today, I have over $550,000 worth of books, mp3’s, DVD’s, online courses and Educational Data stored in my 6 TB Hard-Disks.
Have I read all those books, gone through all those courses and memorized all the information stored there?
Has it made me a more informed person than when I was uneducated starting my career as a toilet cleaner at the age of 16? Oh yes.
However, does reading these books make me more successful, more richer, more successful and more powerful than others? Absolutely not.
It just keeps me better informed.
I always tell people — reading karate, watching videos on karate, listening to mp3’s on karate and memorizing quotes by Bruce Lee is not going to make you a world-class karate professional.
You have to get out there, practice, compete, fight, experiment, research, study and master karate each and everyday of your life for the next 10 to 15 years. And only after you have put those 10,000 hours of repeated deep practice, repeated blind dedication, and repeated senseless obsession, will you reach somewhere.
We live in a day and age where likes, positive comments, and social media shares makes anyone go viral at its best — and arrogantly ignorant at its worst. And given how people cherry-pick whatever they want to believe, it is not surprising to find even a 11 year old from India telling me, “Hey bro, I have read ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’ by Mark Manson.”
Fine you have read a book — so now what?
I think people should maybe stop reading so many books and start doing something worthwhile in their lives.
What people need to understand is that yes, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss’s content is good. But here’s a newsflash — they have made millions of dollars selling their brand. What have you done? How have you ‘specifically’ changed your life in tangible terms? What ‘measurable’ progress have you made?
End of the day, even the self-improvement industry is also a money-making industry. And without earning money, no one cares, no one bothers, and no one buys into your bull—t.
So the next time someone tells you, “Hey man, I have read one book per day for the last 10 years” just take a deep breath, sit still, and then after a brief pause, open your eyes wide like Osho and ask them “Okay … so now what?”
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