Consuming and Doing


I’m a big fan of learn­ing. I’m also a big fan of watch­ing oth­ers learn. It brings me a lot of joy. In fact, the con­cept of per­pet­u­al learn­ing runs through my com­pa­ny in the form of one of our Core Stan­dards, Nev­er Stop Learning.”

(I wrote a blog post a cou­ple of years ago about ways we learn and it’s over on the Focus Lab blog if you’re interested.)

Here’s the thing though: learn­ing isn’t enough. You’re wast­ing your time if you just become a walk­ing ency­clo­pe­dia or a walk­ing Google. So let’s talk about con­sum­ing ver­sus doing.

The major­i­ty of what I read — in books at least — is about lead­er­ship, man­age­ment, and oth­er core busi­ness top­ics. When it comes to read­ing this type of con­tent, it can be easy to do noth­ing but con­sume it. But stop­ping at con­sum­ing would be doing myself a dis­ser­vice. I have to move from con­sumer to doer. You have to move from con­sumer to doer.

The chal­lenge for a lot of us is know­ing when to stop the infor­ma­tion col­lect­ing and start actu­al­ly doing some­thing with it. This prob­lem can be par­tic­u­lar­ly large for peo­ple who are more risk-averse or are sim­ply scared. Pick­ing up one more book” or read­ing one more arti­cle” about the prob­lem you’re try­ing to solve is an easy trap to fall into.

Are you cur­rent­ly in a sim­i­lar cycle? Are you wait­ing to read one more book” before you start that new thing? Are you hop­ing to find one more arti­cle” before you make that next deci­sion? How much are you try­ing to con­sume before actu­al­ly doing something?

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t be con­sum­ing things of course. That’s a key ingre­di­ent to fur­ther­ing one’s self. No, the ques­tion isn’t about if—but rather how much.

Nev­er con­fuse move­ment with action.

Ernest Hem­ing­way

The big ques­tion today: What’s your con­sum­ing-to-doing ratio?

So — if you’ve con­sumed more than you’ve done late­ly, I want to chal­lenge you to put down the book, close the blog, and go do something.

Published on June 24, 2015

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