The following is an outstanding read from Darren Hardy of Success Magazine on the best way to incorporate and maximize the various self-improvement resources available to us. It reminds of Coach Don Meyer who tells us to take great notes at clinics but don't try to come back and utilize all the great ideas we discovered. Instead, pick a few that fit your system and put them to use. Here is what Hardy has to say on the topic:
There is a significant difference between learning and improving.
The difference is results.
Have you ever been to a seminar, listened to an audio program or read a book that promised life transforming results in 90 days or less… and it didn’t happen?
It wasn’t that the material didn’t work; YOU didn’t do the work. It’s not what you learn; it’s what you DO with what you learn. Doing has to follow learning.
Knowing what to do is not the same as doing what you know. There are a lot of people who read all the books (or blogs!) and go to all the seminars, but their life never improves. The world is filled with broke geniuses.
I will walk you through my process of how I turn learning into study and study into improvement/results.
I break my yearly goal achievement plans into four quarterly themes. In each quarter I focus on a particular area of my life or skill I want to improve (e.g., marriage, health, keynote speaking, interviewing, etc.).
I research online and reach out to my personal network for recommendations on the best resources for improving that discipline or skill.
I then buy the top 5 books, the top 3 audio programs and sign up for (at least) one seminar on that topic during that quarter.
Action: Pick a skill you want to study and implement the 5-3-1 program now.
I don’t just read a book—I consume it. When I am done with the book it looks as if it’s been through a meat grinder.
I will underline, circle, star, inscribe bolded exclamation marks, dogear, highlight, put sticky tabs all over it and write notes in the margins, at the end of chapters and in the back of the book.
Don’t treat a book like a piece of fragile museum art—treat it like a workbook. Make your mark in it. A book is meant to be used, not just viewed.
Action: Don’t attempt to do everything suggested in the book. Reduce the book down to the best three ideas for you. Now pick one idea that you will implement this week. Write what it is and set a time to review the results a week later. Practice that idea for a few weeks until you have mastered it or it has produced the results you sought, then (maybe) pick another idea and practice it for another week to three weeks.
If all you did was implement, measure, review and improve upon one idea from every book you read your results would improve dramatically. I think you would be surprised how little impact all your learning has had on your life up until now.
Process: To fully squeeze all the benefit from the book, I go back through the book and pull out all the notes, highlights and underlined key points and transfer them to my Knowledge Bank. My Knowledge Bank consists of a document system organized by topic (leadership, sales, fitness, nutrition, communication, etc.). This is why I have virtually unlimited access to the best ideas because I have every key idea I have ever studied, thought or discovered organized by topic.