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I like efficiency.
I want all of the information I can get fast, fast, FAST! I pride myself on digesting loads of information quickly.
For this reason, I’m a big fan of writing. Written words are easy to skim and take in quickly. If I want to find something specific, I just search for a key word. You can’t scrub through (or gloss over) videos or podcast audio content as easily.
So writing wins, right? Reading is best because it’s faster, right?
Well, not so fast (heh).
Faster doesn’t always mean better.
Here’s a thought: what if all the information and wisdom you ever needed in life you’ve already heard? What if you didn’t need *more* information, but instead to reflect on, meditate on, and APPLY the information you’ve already consumed?
It’s likely you’ve already consumed more information than most people did in their entire lives just a few hundred years ago.
I’m not saying we’d be better off in the dark ages. Information is a wonderful thing!
But while we’re often in constant pursuit of more, more, and more information—at 2X speeds, skimming, glossing, scrolling, and digesting in quick bite-sized chunks—it may not be the best way to learn and internalize important topics.
Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins:
- The value of video or audio is not simply in the information delivered, it’s in the headspace it creates for you to think about a topic and dwell on it.
- When you quickly skim written word, as opposed to consuming content via video or audio, you’re not spending as much headspace time with the material.
- If content is available in all formats (video, audio, written), first watch, then listen, lastly read. Done in this order, you’ll hear the author’s voice in your head as you read which can help you understand the message better.
- On average, it takes hearing new information seven times in order to retain it.
- Don’t expect to internalize something new after hearing it once.
- Plan for repeated exposure and mix up the formats.
- Meaning, intention, and tonality are lost in a mere transcription.
- What you say is important, but a lot of communication is non-verbal.
- You will get more information from seeing someone speak a message than you would reading a transcript of words spoken.
- Learning is not just the consumption of information. When you apply the information, that is when you learn.