Last weekend, I was in a bookstore cafe doing some writing. I’ll often visit there on Sundays, as it’s a quiet haven to work on new ideas for speeches and blogs.
While in the bookstore that day, I came across Tim Ferris’ new book Tools of Titans. Having been a fan of his writing and podcast series, I excitedly picked up the book ready to dive in.
Over the past 25 years, I have read probably a thousand personal development books, as well as listened to hundreds of audio programs. Through this effort, I have amassed plenty of philosophies and strategies to help me become a better person.
But as I held this new book in my hand, I heard a voice in my head telling me ‘No’.
My inner voice continued on, “You’ve read enough. It’s time to do.”
It’s strange because I was both genuinely excited to look inside the book, but I was also very clear that reading another book would be a waste of my time.
In fact, as I looked at all the books on the shelf, I suddenly realized that reading more about what, why or how, was actually just a clever way of me avoiding taking action.
Now, let me stop here for a moment. I know there is tremendous value in Tim Ferris’ book. It has the condensed lifetime wisdom of experts and super-achievers.
However, for me, at this stage of my life, ‘Tools of Titans’ would actually just be a tool of avoidance.
The truth is, that I have always learned more when I am doing something.
I’ve learned the most about sales from picking up the phone.
I’ve learned the most about speaking from standing on a stage.
I’ve learned the most about dating from looking a woman in the eye and talking with her.
And yet, if I want to, I could spend decades reading, listening and watching about how to do things better, while never doing them.
There is a time when learning second-hand through the knowledge of others is valuable. I have read, heard and watched my way to some great insights.
However, the most valuable lessons I have learned have always come through action. Through facing fears head on and overcoming problems myself, I’ve grown immeasurably.
The value of your real-life actions cannot be understated. In today’s world, you can spend years diving into the depth of knowledge that other people offer you.
But none of it will help you as much as doing what you know you need to do to succeed.
There will come a point when you aren’t searching for knowledge, you are searching for a way to avoid doing what you know you need to do.
You already know what, why and how to do it. Put the book down, pause the podcast, turn off the computer, and take action.
It’s the shortest route to what you want.