Doing vs consuming

We all have a consumption addiction. Every day we read a mountain of tweets, articles, and other online content. If we try to learn a new skill we get caught up in analysis paralysis and keep doing researching until the cows come home. We are scared of acting and failing, even though we intellectually know that you have to fail to succeed. So we stay on the fence eternally researching instead of doing.

Knowledge can be obtained by reading. All skills need to be practiced. That is the definition of a skill: some knowledge or behavior that is internal to a person. Explicit knowledge can easily be transferred between people but skills always need to be learned from scratch.

I do not recommend trying to learn every skill on your own by brute trail-and-error. It is too slow. Get expert instruction, or read a book about it, but do more than you consume.If you want to write great poetry, then read poems. But for every poem you read, write two. Or five or ten. If you are an athlete then spend two hours just doing deliberate practice for each hour of instruction once you have the correct form.

Even if you are a student and you are supposed to only learn, find ways to apply what you learn. Knowledge that is not relevant and not tested against reality is useless and will be forgotten.

If you only do you could gain the knowledge and expertise you would get from expert sources. If you learn but do not apply you will not gain the skill. A lack in one can we worked around, a lack in the other will cripple you.


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