Awhile back, I did a radio interview on the topic of productivity. For 45 minutes, I waxed eloquent, giving tips on how to stop procrastinating, how to focus on what’s important, how to create micro-goals.
And then, one of the first questions in the Q&A was, “What book on productivity would you recommend?”
“Nooooooo!” I wanted to scream. “I just gave you plenty of ideas to get started!”
Now, with even more immediate access via our mobile devices, our desire for information has reached epidemic proportions.
First, let’s thank our biology. Dopamine, one of the “feel-good” hormones, causes us to want, seek out and search. That’s why gathering information feels productive, giving us the perfect justification for not actually taking action when we don’t trust our own critical/creative thinking and think others know better: “I want to make sure I’m doing this right,” we tell ourselves.
Plus, we love to fantasize about what our life will be like when we can be that thing (more productive, more fit, a better negotiator) while putting off the uncomfortable moment of making a change or trying something unfamiliar.
I know because I do it too.
When I wanted to get better at doing pull-ups, I read dozens of articles (out of the 179M results on Google) about how to get better at pull-ups. And I kept up my “research” even after I saw they were all basically offering the same three or four tips — none of which, by the way, were that the best way to get better at pull ups is to read articles about pull ups. 🙄
Here’s the thing: today’s world is not set up for optimum living. If we don’t master ourselves — learn how to manage our insecurities and impulses — we’ll spend our lives in overwhelm, distraction and second-guessing.
We need to trust what we already intuitively know; practice what we already have. To forge neural connections through repetition and reinforcement.
So I’ve created a new rule for myself: Output first, then input. This means generating my own ideas before consuming others’; taking action before perfecting.
You already know enough. What’s ONE thing you could do right now?
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