Click on the mini-image below to listen on the page. Or, tune in through your favorite podcast service available through the “Subscribe” button.
I’ve been dealing with a self-created problem this week. I’m creating anxiety around what could be thought of conflicting goals – a desire to learn and a desire to de-junk. The end result is keeping me from producing my best work.
Most of my friends and family members are continuous learners like me, always seeking personal growth and additional information and knowledge.
But, sometimes this desire goes into overdosing on learning which can prevent the application and implementation of it all into something useful.
In my opinion, this is all related to addictive behaviors that are less socially acceptable – excessive drinking, drugging, pornography viewing, spending, and eating. Underneath it all, some of the same things are going on with our emotions. Somehow thinking that just a little more will be fine or help us feel better.
So, this episode is for all those that are involved in the socially acceptable addictive behavior of overdosing on learning.
I’ve taken some action this week to free my mind up a bit even if it involves a little bit of heretical practices like burning notebooks, donating books, and trusting that I know enough to offer up my best work without another quote or story. At least, just for this moment.
Episode 130 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 130 Overdosing on learning this podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Mm hmm. Yeah. Hello! My friends. I am always thinking about things and apparently I think about them in my sleep too. Because this morning I woke up early very stressed out. And I was stressed out because I was in the middle of a certification program and I was behind. And when I woke up I was relieved to realize that I am not actually in any kind of certification program right now and that I am not behind at least not on this virtual certification program. But it brought up some thoughts to me that I’ve been struggling with lately and I wanted to share it with you because most of the people listening to this podcast and that I work with in my consulting or coaching work are people that are constantly learning constantly growing, getting degrees, getting certifications, signing up for courses online and in person are avid readers, have audible or amazon kindle accounts or other related services and just can’t get enough on the surface. This seems like a great thing because there are also people in the world that think that they kind of arrived after college or after high school and decided, okay, I’ve learned what I’m going to learn. I’m just going to show up to a job every day, do the job, have my weekends. And there’s no more to do and some may think it’s too late, but that’s not most of you write, most of us feel like there’s just so much to learn and we want to learn it. Recently. I went into the public library and they had all of these books out on different tables and said, as long as you fill a bag, you can pay a buck and you can have the books. And so at first glance I was like, there’s a lot of fiction books and they just didn’t look very appealing to me. And then I got to the section that had the kind of books that I like. The book’s about work, performance, personal development, Neuroscience, psychology, those kinds of books. And I walked out with more than 20 books and some of these books I’d already read, but I thought it was cool that I could have another copy to give to someone. And some were books that I knew were great books and I hadn’t read and I figured wow might as well read it now because it’s a freebie and I brought these books home. But the challenge was is that I was in the midst of going through all my books and donating books. And here I was in the midst of donating books, bringing more books home. Now this would not be a problem for some people because they just have hundreds of books on the shelf and they look great, but they’re not reading them. I’m someone who wants to read every book that I own. And I have read most of the books that I own. I finish books and it’s important for me to know what is in the books. But I realized that it was becoming a hindrance to me because I saw these books and thought I’ve got to read these all now because it applies to some of the products I’m creating, the topics apply to some of the work I’m doing. I need to learn it all now. I need to see what they say and use these ideas and everything that I’m doing. And I created this urgency in my mind and frustration because I thought I’ve got to figure this out. And then part of me wanted to go through this quickly because I also wanted to downsize. So here I am wanting to increase knowledge while simultaneously wanting to downsize and then putting all this stress on myself. Thinking that for some reason, the act of reading these books would introduce me to that precious nugget of knowledge that I do not have and it will change everything now. I think that books can be that for us, I’ve had books that I’ve read where and when I finished reading the book, I’ve said to myself, if someone told me to pay $150 for this book, I would do it Because the value I got from it was more than $150. It would take me in another life direction. It would give me an idea for a work project or it helped me treat people differently, whatever the idea. And so I am a big fan of learning, but I also can see how trying to overdose on the learning, it’s preventing me from taking action and other things. So for example, I have tons of notes written about certain topics related to your relationship with your boss and how you manage time and how you go through that process of turning your life vision into day to day scheduling of habits and I have all of this out there on the internet but I just haven’t fine tuned it in a way that makes me super excited to share it with the world. And instead of doing that I spend my time listening to a new book, taking notes from another book, creating more things for me to consider before I get a product out the door. So something that is a strength of being a continuous learner is now becoming a weakness right? It’s preventing me from offering up my best work. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been going through some old notebooks and some new notebooks where I’ve taken notes and I’ve gotten very strict with myself and said Rebecca, these notes are creating a hindrance in your life, you need to go through them, see which nuggets, you find super valuable and use them in some way so that you can throw the rest of this noise out. And this is heresy to my past thinking right, I wanted to save all my notebooks. I want to save all the notes I’ve taken, I want to have them accessible so that I can use the ideas in future projects and yet holding on to those knowing that they’re there creates this extra mind clutter that gets in the way of me being freed up to move forward. So I’ve recently gotten rid of books that I’ve taken notes in and scriptures that I’ve taken notes in and notebooks that I’ve taken notes in and said, okay, pulling some nuggets out and I’m getting rid of these and it’s been a very valuable process because what I’ve found is that I can’t lean on the crutch of past notes. I get to rediscover ideas when I am presented with them again. And I have to tell myself that I can access these books at any time. I need them in the future because they exist in multiples around the world. This isn’t like in the past where people were writing something on scrolls or on metal plates or on rocks where there’s one copy we can go onto amazon and other services any day of the week and purchase a new or used book. We can also get it in Kindle format or we can get it in an audio version, We can go to the local library and get it. We don’t even have to go to the local library, They have access to digital versions of some of these things and here I am creating this extra noise in my life and these extra expectations to consume everything in front of me. Like I said on the surface it doesn’t look bad, but it is somewhat like a cookie addiction, a drug addiction, a pornography addiction, any kind of addiction because it’s this obsessive need to keep having more of it thinking that when we get more will be happier or be able to offer better work or just have that desire taken from us. And it’s just not true. And so this process is teaching me how to balance that desire to continue to learn and grow with the action of doing something in the here and now that is productive, johann Wolfgang von Goethe which I always thought was God said, knowing is not enough, we must apply willing is not enough, we must do. And I looked up another quote that I love and I couldn’t find it, but I remember learning it years ago and that is one does not get satisfaction from endless training, one must perform. And so I would offer you today the idea that when you find yourself overdosing on learning overdosing on gaining knowledge and overdosing on news or research to start paying attention. Have you gone beyond the point where it’s helping you? It may make you feel good because you know a few more facts, you know a few more resources of information. But if that is preventing you from helping someone with information that you have or processes or insights that you have to share then pay attention because you might be overdosing and it’s time to scale back a little bit. I created a couple of moments this week where I had to sit down and talk to myself and say Rebecca there’s a pile of 10 books right here you are going to decide in the next 15 or 20 minutes which books get donated and which ones you must keep, you can take a picture of them. So you have it documented on your phone so you can remember to go get them again but take the next 15, 20 minutes and decide. And one day when I did that with a pile of about 10 books, I kept one the next time I did that this week I kept five and gave five, I’m going to do this two more times because mentally I’m having a difficult time letting go of some of these books. But I know I need to because mentally they are getting in the way of my progress and because I’ve had such great success of letting go of the prior books that I want to do this for myself. I want to work through this mental process of letting go of some of it and recognizing that already have experiences, skills and insights in me that are enough right now to share and that I can let in all of these other resources one step at a time as I need to and I can’t tell you what the titles are of most of the books I’ve already donated, which is fascinating to me. That’s teaching me something right there and for me that’s teaching me that it was okay to let them go. There is no loss to me to not have that particular learning experience at this moment in time. Okay, if you are overdosing on your learning, your information gathering or your news watching this may be something that’s worth taking a look at because in doing so, you will free up mental energy and time to go and offer up your next piece of creative work. Okay, my friends, I will talk to you soon about something I’m sure have a great week by thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com