Information Overload: How to Tell What Really Works (the secret to success)

Christa Brashier

If you compare the elite practitioners of any human endeavor to their historical peers, it’s clear that we’ve come a long way in a relatively short time.

Not only do we run faster and jump higher but we produce better written content at a faster rate and distribute it more widely than ever before. We fight with more technique, lift with more power, and sing with greater range. Why do you think that is?

Humans have not evolved so significantly in the last 80 years that we can physically achieve more, we just have better information that allows us to progress faster and waste less time.

The real secret to success is to do what works. Utilize the best information our there! But, there’s a lot of conflicting advice from plenty of well-meaning sources — so how can we know what “knowledge” is useful and what isn’t?

Mentors, coaches, teachers… the trick to success in any endeavor is the same: find someone who is already good at it and learn from them. Anybody can sound clever and give advice: 99% of it is garbage. Find the person who is actually doing it and do what they do.

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” — Isaac Newton

Every skilled martial artist learned how to fight from a skilled martial artist. Mackenzie Dern, my personal hero, is coached by her father Megaton Diaz — a man with so many jiujitsu accomplishments to his name that it makes more sense to link you to his Wikipedia page than try to pick an impressive one to write here. But coaching and mentoring isn’t just for martial arts.

Aziz Ansari got where he is today thanks to Chris Rock, John Stewart was mentored by George Carlin, and Stephen Spielberg said of Jerry Lewis, “He taught me the importance of mentoring.”

“If you want what you have do what you do; if you want what I have, do what I do.” — Unknown

Four years ago, I was a high school dropout working at the reception desk of an industrial laundry plant — and it was the best job I’d ever had. But, I knew I wanted to go further and I had an inkling of the direction. I reached out to the company’s communications director. I asked her if she could teach me about what she did, and offered to help with projects. Within a year, I became the public relations assistant for the corporation. Soon I’ll be graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Media & Professional Communications and an additional certification in Public and Professional Writing.

Originally I was annoyed with myself for wanting to write about this topic, because my brother (one of my coaches) had already blogged about this (here).

Then I realized… that’s the point.

There is no proprietary secret to success. Just ask the successful.

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” — Abigail Adams