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Published on April 26, 2021

7 Tips On Putting Knowledge Into Action

7 Tips On Putting Knowledge Into Action
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Knowledge is one thing, but putting that knowledge into action is another. A pile of unread self-help books at the side of an unmade bed or clothes draped over a cross-trainer are useful clues—”the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Knowing what is “in our own best interests” is the easy part. If you exercise regularly and have a well-balanced diet, you will be healthier. That’s knowledge, but it’s not much use unless it is partnered with wisdom, commitment, self-worth, action, and accountability.

They say “Knowledge is power”, but only by putting knowledge into action can you harness that potential. The best place to start is with yourself. The only way to fulfill your potential is to use what you know about yourself.

So, here are seven tips to help you transform knowledge into action.

1. Examine Your Thinking

Knowledge is a useful tool, but how effectively it is put into action depends on how it is applied. You need to discriminate and contextualize knowledge if it is to serve you well.

Just as information for information’s sake has limited value, knowledge on its own can sometimes hold you back by limiting your intuition and common sense. The highly developed human brain can cloud your judgment and rationalize your behavior with damaging results. Decades of reinforcement create beliefs that are so imprinted on your consciousness that they become utterly unquestionable.

The ego, which is attached to the status quo, aims to keep these “certainties” in place to avoid new perspectives and choices. The ego is terrified of change—even change for the better—since its comfort zone is based on familiarity, however debilitating it may be.[1]

2. Value Yourself

Deep down, you know what’s best for yourself. But how much do you value yourself? The extent to which your actions are congruent with what you know is good for you is the extent to which you value yourself.

Whether you are out of balance with work or lifestyle, it is your self-worth compass that will get you back on track—but only if you set it free.

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All too often, old negative feelings of unworthiness prevent self-care and investing in your own well-being. If you value yourself enough, you can break free from these beliefs, make better choices, and act based on knowledge rather than myths.

3. Hire a Life Coach

The role of a life coach is not to make you feel better. It’s to help you see better. Most breakthroughs during a coaching session are the result of the client being able to see their thinking for what it is—completely illogical and fatally flawed. Positive thoughts and potential solutions are often dismissed as your own unchallenged assumptions block your path to a better way.

The ego breathes a sigh of relief: no need to change, to challenge the received wisdom, to take a chance, not even to resolve a chronic issue. It’s too hard. In fact, it’s impossible, so you can stay exactly where you are: stuck, a prisoner of your own thoughts and beliefs—beliefs which can be used as excuses for doing nothing.

But what if the belief isn’t true or, at least, isn’t true anymore? What if there’s another way of looking at this? You need to break this chronic cycle that prevents you from doing what’s best for you. But trying to see an existing paradigm from a new perspective can be like trying to tickle yourself.

The transformational coach’s role is—in essence—to disrupt the negative reflex actions of your thinking, to help you break the cycle that prevents you from doing what’s best for you, and to put your knowledge into action.

“I can’t do anything about that.”

“Why not?”

“Well, because…”

“Is that true?”

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“Of course, it is.”

“Based on what?”

Pause…

The pause is the chink of light that may open a door to the breakthrough. It means that a certainty is being questioned and a new perspective becomes a possibility. Only through disruption can age-old thought patterns be broken. The block fades away and the door is opened.

“Yes, why not? I could at least try this instead. It couldn’t be any worse than it is now. What have I got to lose?”

This is how you can transform paralysis and procrastination into purpose, moving forward with self-empowerment, commitment, and turning knowledge into positive action. In a matter of a few weeks, working with a coach as your thinking partner can facilitate huge changes and seismic shifts in your life.

“Problems can only be resolved at the level beneath that at which they manifest themselves.”—John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance.

“If you want to make minor changes in your life, work on your behaviour. If you want significant, quantum breakthroughs, work on your paradigms.”—Stephen R. Covey

4. Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination can vary from mildly irritating to devastatingly paralyzing. The engine that drives procrastination is fear of the unknown: “If I choose this option, what if..?”

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Another contributor is the perceived need for control—specifically to control the future, including other people’s emotions and actions. Delaying decision-making based on the inability to predict or control the future is about as irrational as it gets. But then, humans are not rational.[2]

Then, there is the fear of regret: “If I get this wrong, I’ll feel terrible. I’ll blame myself.”

This is invariably based on experience and adds to a vicious cycle of negative emotions:

expectation > disappointment > judgement > self-judgement

There is a solution: ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen. Feel into your major organs—mind, heart, and gut—and do something.

5. Trust Yourself

If you are one of those people who tend to dwell on previous decisions that resulted in a less-than-perfect outcome, take a piece of paper and start writing a list of the ones that worked out well. You may be surprised as the list becomes longer and longer.

Accept that due to the variables that are completely out of your control, sometimes things don’t work out exactly as planned. However, when you look at your past actions based on your knowledge, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how successful you’ve been.

So, pat yourself on the back, recognize your past accomplishments, and have faith in your ability to turn knowledge into action.

“At the centre of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”—Lao Tzu

6. Improve Your Time Management

Time management is boring. It’s mundane and repetitive. It’s for other people, not you. You’re creative. You live in the moment. Worst of all, time management is controlling and restrictive. You need space to express yourself organically in your own unique way.

On the other hand, you hate it when you leave things to the last minute—something comes up, then you’re in a rush and feel unprepared. This creates stress, and it’s ten minutes into your presentation before you’re really in the flow.

Come to think of it, knowing those tedious admin tasks are yet to be done kind of hangs over you like a cloud and dilutes the pleasure you get from the things that you really enjoy. Is time management controlling? Or could it be liberating?

7. Work With an Accountability Partner

Whether it’s mindfulness or the gym, committing to your own well-being can be hard, and actually following through on that commitment is often even more challenging.

Having an accountability partner is a great way of keeping on track. It may even introduce some healthy competition. The important thing is that it gets the job done. Not only will you achieve your well-being objectives, but you will also enhance your self-worth, thereby increasing your chances of success with the next activity you choose.

Conclusion

By having awareness of your knowledge, whether it derives from formal training, work, or life experience, you are in a better position to use it in context.

You can use what you know not only for absolute decision-making and action but also for weighing up the probability of outcomes. With the confidence of this awareness, you will find putting knowledge into action empowering, enjoyable, and rewarding.

More Tips on Effective Learning

Featured photo credit: Madara Parma via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Forbes: This Is How Your Thoughts Become Your Reality
[2] Association of Psychological Science: Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination

More by this author

Gray Hughes

Life coach (using the motivational 3 c's Model) and writer.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done
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Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.) And that’s basically it.

Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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