TED Talks don’t make you smarter

TED Talks don’t make you smarter

The abundant information flow you surround yourself with every day does not necessarily make you smarter or successful. More knowledgeable? Yes. More aware? Yes. More creative? It might. More active? Hmm. That’s a tricky one. What about transforming you into a more action-oriented individual? Well, that’s a cliffhanger! Let’s see.

Online talks are heavily marketed as the way to go. You should also read more books, watch more documentaries, read online articles and essays. This wretched scenario where massive amounts of information input can instantly transform you into a wiser, smarter, clever, competent individual is often the mistaken conviction of many folks.

What about learning for the sake of learning?

Look — I get it. You like to learn. It’s about knowledge for the sake of knowledge, right? But let’s put that in real-world computative terms: your personal Consumption/Production ratio.

The Consumption

You are reading my teeny-tiny article here hoping you’ll get the ultimate solution for your productivity dilemma. You’re hoping it will fill you with knowledge, motivate and pump you up. And it might. But the real-world application of my piece here is your job. You are the one who must take action, convert and apply my stolen idea to produce palpable output.

This is how you can balance out the Consumption — reading my article and Production radio — an actual deliverable that went through the hardcore (or subtle) refining process conducted by your beautiful brain.

You simply can’t measure knowledge by what’s stored in your head, following what you have read or watched TED Talks. I choose to define knowledge by your personal productivity. And that refers to what you do and what you don’t do after you finish watching the damn talk!

The Production

If you don’t go out to construct a concrete deliverable or a productive outcome that can add, multiply, compound value to your life or work or business or the world around you, at best you’ll only have what I call word experience shaped by the excessive reading and watching TED Talks habit.

Knowledge must be unleashed into the real world. This is how you will know what actually worked, what it didn’t work, or what can be done to improve your future actions and continue sprinkling some of your own enhancements on the way. That’s world experience in a nutshell.

What we should be aiming for is a combination between the two.

Knowledge = Power (when applied)

I copy-pasted a medium-sized quote I took out of Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet. Now, I truly understand that the human brain doesn’t work this way. But it’s still an honest piece of text I often think about.

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

― Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

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