Understand first, implement later.
Imagine you’re an Aviation Commander in World War Two. A fighter-bomber squadron is under your command, and you’ve been tasked with attacking enemy supply trains. The tough part? Unless you know exactly when a train is on the move and where, it’s pretty much impossible to do anything to it.
Hence, your first priority is to collect information about those trains. Fortunately, the enemy sends and receives such information among themselves. And they do it over radio waves.
On the first day, you hear this over the radio: “AN AMMUNITION TRAIN LEAVES THE MUNICH STATION TOMORROW AT ELEVEN PM HEADED FOR BERLIN”
Overjoyed, you send a few planes to rendezvous with the aforementioned train. Your brave pilots blow it up and return home without a scratch. A celebration is in order!
The Germans, however, aren’t too happy about you blowing up their train. They are determined to prevent your pilots from finding their targets. After thinking for a bit, they decide to encrypt their messages.
On the second day, you hear complete gibberish over the radio: “SZGG GQUS ZWLW EPWM VJNE OBUU NZKB WBIV QWRU NDOS CEFN MOEN XCCW HCVT MBVF HJBL NAQA XPBB UD”
The Germans know how to decrypt this message. It’s useful to them, because they know what it says. But it is completely useless to you. Should you try to implement the information, your pilots will face complete and utter failure.
So now what do you do?
Alas, your priorities have shifted. Now you must also make sense of the information you collect. If you succeed at it, only then can you use the information for your personal profit. In other words, you must first decrypt, A.K.A. understand a message if you wish to inform your decisions with it.
Our hypothetical example does not share a few key aspects with everyday life. For one, if you watch videos or read books that give advice, you are probably the intended recipient. Messages are encrypted in human language, instead of gibberish. And it is in an authors’ best interest to make a message easy to understand.
Nonetheless, the principle remains. If you make no effort to meet an author halfway, do not be surprised if his message does not change your life. As the saying goes, the message will go in one ear and out the other.
There is one further point I would like to make. But my brain urges me to play videogames. So we shall have to leave it for another time.