Information Overload—identifying a clear take away from our reading.

As an avid reader my mind is constantly being filled with stories, ideas, and how-to’s from various authors.

When I find a topic that I am interested in I develop an extensive list of resources, and a support network to help me learn all that I can about a subject. At some point, however, we can experience information overload, and have a difficult time identifying a clear take away from our reading.

Research and Background Information

If we are new to a subject it will be beneficial to learn as much as we can about a topic. We can read books, blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch videos. We can meet SME’s, do interviews and network with people who are knowledgeable about the subject we are interested in.

The key at this stage is to develop our knowledge base on a topic. To do this we need to develop a wide base of resources. We need to listen to author’s we agree with, and author’s we don’t. This will help us develop our own opinion, and give us an understanding of the various views on a subject.

Research and gaining knowledge should never stop. There is always more to learn, but at some point we have to make things our own. At some point we say okay, that’s enough, I need to do this on my own, to develop my own opinion, or try things my own way.

This is How to Do It Stories

Stories give us a view of how others have achieved their goals. They provide us with inspiration, and encouragement. They are often told to provide the reader with an idea of how-to accomplish something similar in their life. I love hearing stories of how people have accomplished their goals. It gives me hope that I can accomplish mine.

Yet, I need to remember that those are their stories. My story might be different. In fact it will most likely be different. I can look at the lives of others and say okay, there are some things to learn from how they accomplished their goals, and good points to take note of for future reference. I will take note of this and determine how this might fit into my life.

How-to’s

The minute I get an idea of what I want to do I scour the Internet, and find books, to help me find ways to get that done. I exhaust myself trying to make a detailed plan of how to accomplish what I want.

I am invigorated by webinars, and videos that promise to help me build a successful life or business. Yet, I often struggle to transition what they are telling me to the reality of my life.  One reason I have difficulty is because not every step will fit into my life, or goals.  I need to modify some steps, and disregard others.

So again, I take notes and add what I am learning to my knowledge base. Some things will fit in our life, and some things won’t. We can identify what the take away is for us, and move on.

About the Author

We need to remember that anyone can write. I am. Who am I to tell you anything? Do you really know me? Does it matter that I am working on a Master’s degree, have been attending college or taking classes for the past 15 years, have 46 years of work and life experience, have honed and developed the skill of note taking and study. Does that make me an expert? No. Does it give me some things to share? Absolutely!

I was recently given the opportunity to write some blog posts as a ghost writer. I love writing so I am eager to write any time I get the opportunity. I was asked to write about a subject I know nothing about. I was given some articles to read as inspiration, and asked to write. I did.

Somewhere out there are my articles. Someone may read them and believe that someone wrote them who knew what they were talking about, but I don’t. I was just able to quickly piece together information, and write something interesting and hopefully helpful, but I did not write from years of experience, and in depth knowledge about a subject.

Remember this as you read. This is our mind, this is our life. Let’s be mindful of what we put in it. Let’s be mindful of who we let influence us, and let’s ensure who we are listening to lines up with who we are, and our life situation.

Take Away

We have to live our own lives. While our lives resemble others they are unique. We can’t follow an exact step by step and get the same result as anyone else. We can learn from others, and incorporate some things from their life into ours. Oh how I wish I could follow a step by step. It would just make things easier, but I can’t. I have my own life to live, and you have yours.

Take a look at what information, ideas and theories you are storing in your mind. Where did they come from? What about the author? Understanding their perspective, and background will help you determine how much weight to give their opinion?

This is your life we are talking about. Take care as to who you let influence you. My writing doesn’t fit every reader, and we don’t fit every author. That’s ok. We can learn from every human being, and find something to take away from their work.

The way to deal with information overload is to assess what we are taking in, and determine what we can take away from it that will apply to our lives, and help us accomplish our goals.

I hope that as you study and compile information you will find the inspiration, encouragement, and support you need to live your life, and achieve your goals.

Read often, study diligently, and inspire others to live creative lives,

Marcy Pedersen

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