How to Get More Value from Less Content

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Lifestyle

As a member of Gen Z who grew up without regular internet access, I was afraid of getting left behind. I saw that the world was changing fast, and others with internet access were leaving me in the dust. With the newfound freedom I gained after graduating high school and moving out, I had much catching up to do. 

For the next six years, I consumed content voraciously—primarily books. But surprisingly, after six years of tearing through about forty books per year, I wasn’t getting great results. That’s when a lesson taught to me by education director T.K. Coleman finally started to sink in: 

Acting on and internalizing the content you’re consuming is far more important than how much you consume.

In my experience, the value of information is determined by the person in possession of the information. Consider, for instance, information that an executive has left a company, opening a vacancy. To the average Joe, this information is mundane. However, to an executive headhunter, it’s an opportunity to make a fee off replacing that executive.

Because of the potential for work, this information is valuable enough for recruiters to pay companies that collect executive turnover data five figures a year. The information is the same for both people, but whereas for one, it is a minor detail, for the other it is immensely valuable. 

The average Joe could use this data to create value for himself, but he would have to obtain a similar context to the headhunter—a selling ability, relationships with companies who need executives—or some other knowledge on how to derive value from a situation like this. And even if he does obtain this context, he would still need to train himself enough to see it in a new light. This is where internalization comes in.

Let’s say this average Joe had taken a class on how to make money headhunting for companies but did not put into immediate practice what he learned, waiting months before starting his practice. He may have forgotten the core principles to apply in order to generate maximum interest. To internalize this information, he must put it into immediate practice so that it sticks in his brain. Even if he had taken ten classes before starting his practice, but had still waited months before using any of its lessons, he may end up in a similar, if not worse, position.

It is more valuable to act on one lesson than it is to learn ten that you never act on.

How can we best internalize information? Although possible ways include contemplation, discussion, writing, or—my personal favorite—teaching, the best way by far is to act on the information to see if it can produce value for you—whether that be increased income, a better relationship, etc. If acting on information helps you produce a value, you’re much more likely to internalize or remember that information. It’s like when you try a new food and love it. You can’t help but look for it next time you’re at the grocery store.

In short, act to internalize information and to realize its benefits.

The next time you read a book (or encounter any information), I encourage you to contemplate what opportunities such information poses. Then, act on it. You may find that you’re sitting on gold.

On Solid Ground is a community blog where we publish articles by guest contributors as well as by the staff and officers of OSI. The ideas offered by guest contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the ideas of the staff or officers of OSI. Likewise, the ideas offered by people employed by OSI are their own, and do not necessarily reflect those of others in the organization.

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