Stop Learning and Start Thinking

Credit: Michael Mroczek

I’ve been there. All of us have. Especially if you’re reading this on Medium.

The content is endless and often valuable, but how much of it are you applying?

What is the 20% you that is giving you 80% of the results?

It is all too easy to slip into mindlessly learning and avoiding thinking.

Yet, you can’t create anything of value unless you start thinking. No matter how much you know, it will never be enough. The research could be endless. The curiosity insatiable. The desire to know unending.

It counts for nothing until you apply it.

You do not exist in the real world until you put yourself out there and stop consuming. Speak your truth. Think. Apply. Create. Make. Start.

How to start thinking?

For one day a week try not to absorb any information except by choice (Sundays work best!). Go on a learning fast.

Create for a day. Whether it be writing, taking photos, starting a business or even sitting alone with your thoughts.

When was the last time you did that?

Why is learning so addictive?

I recently went through the dilemma of needing enough information and then putting off applying it.

Steven Pressfield outlines this in his book “The War of Art”. He says that creators, which we all are, struggle with “Resistance”.

That thing which holds you back. The gremlin which questions your work and your value. It makes you delay, put off, falter in your step and stop altogether.

“Resistance” can be learning. In fact, the most dangerous resistance is learning.

It is pseudo-work.

It gives you the feeling that you are building up to something, but is really just another form of procrastination… learning is sneaky. It can be deadly to your and your work.

It can engulf you in the endless content of this world and lead you on a path that will eventually bring you back to where you are right now.

A blank canvas, an empty Word document, an idealess mind, a fresh sheet of paper, a code waiting to be written, a conversation waiting to be had.

Use learning to acquire knowledge. Apply this knowledge.

When you find yourself overwhelmed with too much content and knowledge to apply… STOP. THINK. CREATE.

It took some dancing and singing for me to delete the endless Medium tabs I had up, to ignore the pile of books by my bed and to write this. I am glad I did it.

It gave me a new idea.

I’m going to apply it. Then I will do some research. When I stop applying what I’m learning I’ll start thinking.

Another idea was this new word I’ve created: isocation. It’s an isolation vacation. ;)

Make it easy for yourself. Start with the smallest possible action. Take one minute each day to think. Then after that take another minute to create. Two minutes and you’ve already put something new out into the world.

Keep thinking.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Conclusion

It’s incredible what you will come up with.

It’s the only way anything new was ever created in this world.

Einstein, Newton, Jobs, Darwin… all stopped learning and used what they already had to come up with a new solution. Mimic them:

“Success leaves clues” -Jim Rohn

Ideas are new links between old information.

Allow yourself to have ideas. Take a break from consumption. Think for yourself.

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