“Learn less, study more” … Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine, recently wrote this as part of a blog entry and an article in the magazine. While it may sound contradictory, it is not. Many of us read a great deal. We read blogs and other internet pages, magazines, and books – many books. I probably average a book a week these days, cover to cover. I probably skim two or three more.
But think about how much you actually learn from all that reading. Reading and skimming through volumes of information does not internalize much of anything. You can do this all day and really absorb very little. And if you do not understand and absorb what you are reading at a deeper level you do not retain it and it may be so much wasted time and effort.
What Hardy is suggesting is that we study – quietly taking time to really think about what we read, to take notes on it, outline it, study what we note down and think about how we can incorporate what we use in our work and our lives.
This comes to the other thing most people do not do enough of: thinking. There is benefit to just taking time to think, reflect, meditate and ponder.
In Japan executives are required to devote up to 3 hours a week simply thinking and reflecting on goals and plans. No calls, no interruptions during this time, just quiet contemplation.
We Americans tend to be very action oriented. We may even feel guilty if we are not taking some form of action. The idea of simply sitting and thinking may seem like a waste of time. Hardy and others suggest it is not a waste of time and I agree.
The more you carefully study, review, internalize and apply what you read, the more you actually learn and the more benefit there is to it. The more you think and reflect the more deliberate and planned is your life and the more opportunity for creative thought and genuine improvement.
By all means read – read as much as you can. But just don’t read it and file it away and forget about it. Read, study, review, contemplate and apply. That is the process that will gain you the most from your reading.
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.