The Power of Elimination...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hi there,

Most people are taught that to advance in life you need to gather lots of stuff, particularly information. This is one of the greatest myths around success you can come across and I hope I can dismantle this for you in the next few minutes.

We have shifted from the Industrial Age to the Information Age and now information means money. This has led to a greedy consumption of information. Now you know what happens when you consume too much too quickly. Yes, it does not feel pleasant and your ability to think and act effectively decreases.

The thing to know about the brain is that it is like a hard drive, it has a limited capacity. When the hard drive is filled to capacity then performance suffers. Having a wealth of information comes with a price and that is usually a scarcity of attention.

I have had coaching clients that have consumed far too much information. How do I know this, because usually they are unable to take action, there are too many things to consider, the opportunities, the threats, the options, things to plan for, things to defend against, other people's objections, will it work out and so on into infinity.

When a person comes to see me suffering from information overload I put them on an information diet. No news, no newspapers, no academic reading for a month or so. Some people need to make this a permanent way of living. I rarely watch the news or read newspapers nowadays, and there was a time when I would devour information, much of it that was designed to make the listeners anxious and fearful.

The author of The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery, once said "perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away". If you take my advice, be more mindful of the information you consume on a daily basis. And find a way to either store information so that you do not have to think or worry about it, or eliminate information where possible.

Steve Nobel
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