I'm writing on my laptop with five different tabs open including Facebook, the Huffington Post, Twitter, Instagram, and ABC News. Listening to music, I see my Facebook wall streaming with new posts including a live video called "Why You Should Try Intermittent Fasting," followed by an article about why women are needed in political positions now more than ever, followed by a statement on how possible it is to manifest your deepest desires, and toward the bottom, an article on the importance of avocados.
All of this is well and good. I cannot deny that every so often I find myself pondering the potent power of a good avocado. I also find myself admiring women in politics. And who of you will say that you've never made a good, old-fashioned vision board?
With that said, I'm eager to slow down in the midst of all of this knowledge available to me at all times. There is a difference between gaining knowledge and merely feeding my need for speed. Sometimes I have five to ten tabs open on my computer just so that I can finally check off some things on my to-do list. Watch this webinar, try this recipe, read this post, become this person. It can be overwhelming.
Chasing versus creating: Know the difference.
With the start of 2017, there is a lot of fresh energy. It feels like a "new beginning" in a way, and many businesses are launching new products, programs, designs, and platforms.
I don't know about you, but personally speaking, the end of the year is a time for me to retreat and hibernate whereas the beginning of the year is a time to exude energy, chase vibrant dreams, and create some awesome goals. Until it's too much.
Until all the vibes I'm "chasing" are from other people's work. I've joined a book club, I've subscribed to a new newsletter, I'm signed up for events, and I'm listening to motivational YouTube speeches while cooking an Ayurvedic recipe.
Paving your own way, in the midst of information overload.
One of the most influential men in history has a library full of quotes about paving your own way instead of following everyone else's. One of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein is controversial for some but truthful for many,
It may be ironic that I, a motivational speaker and coach, am advising people to take it slow on the consumption of inspiration via others' words, but I know what it's like to lose oneself in the pursuit of external knowledge.
By the way, more knowledge isn't inherently bad.
I believe knowledge is many things. There is knowledge of the world, including science, history, language, arts, and literature, but there is also knowledge of the intuition. It's knowing how think and decide for one's self based on your needs.
I feel the need to bring up this topic especially right now as information is being shot out like fireworks. It's OK to not finish that book your neighbor said is the only book you need to read before you die. It's OK to not finish that webinar on how to make 2017 your fittest year yet. It's OK to not read every article that your best friend says inspires her. It's OK to not make this a six-figure year like all of the coaches you follow.
Here are three reasons why:
1. You have everything you need already.
Too many of us believe we lack something, which is why we are so open to absorbing all of the information that comes our way. Not only does this make us always look ahead, or dare I say, over the fence, but also it makes us feel incomplete. We ponder, "What do they know that I don't know?" which peaks our curiosity to continue reading past the point we actually want to. Or maybe you're like me—an obsessive completer—and you feel weird if you don't complete all of the things you think you should. Remember: You are already everything. Everything you need is within you.
2. Multitasking doesn't encourage present-moment awareness.
Our culture glorifies busyness, which is why we are absolutely OK with trying to listen to a motivational podcast while working on our studies, making dinner, and mailing a letter all at once. We do a whole bunch of things with only a little bit of awareness on each one. This is why sometimes when you're driving home from work you completely zone out on the car ride and wonder, "How did I get here?" when you're pulling into the driveway, finishing a podcast. Presence takes attention. You have to purposefully be present in the moment to gain everything you can from it, which means you're going to have to start doing things differently than you have been. Do one thing with presence instead of a ton of little things without any.
3. You will find your own voice again.
My friend once told me that he hadn't read a full book in five years. When I asked him why, he said, "I feel that when you read the words of everybody else, you begin to lose your own." This quote has stuck with me since, as it was a perspective I had never heard before. Look, I love to read. I love podcasts, videos, blogs, and retreats. I love to learn as much as I can. With that said, I will not deny that some of my beliefs and opinions might be others'—not my own. In order to rediscover what it is that you believe, you may need to stop asking. To stop reading. To stop doing. And to start feeling.
Knowledge is power. Information is helpful. Growth is necessary.
My thoughts are to combine a healthy dose of knowledge, with presence and intuition. Be present when you are gaining knowledge, but never forget to listen to your own voice, too.