Learning Addict Syndrome: The Pitfalls of Consuming Knowledge Without Application

3 min

Reading and watching videos and podcasts about business has undoubtedly been valuable in my life but the truth is I’ve been a little bit of a learning addict and it doesn’t always feel right.

Our brains are so wired to consume content that we can get stuck in endless consumption. 

Some people binge-watch netflix. I’ve been binge-reading business books and Linkedin content. 

I’ve invested 100’s of hours into learning, and today I am taking a step back to analyze if that time would have been better spent executing instead. 

As with most things in life, it's a balance. 

Sometimes you read just enough to get an idea that you can execute and then stop other times, the intellectual stimulation, especially on platforms like Linkedin, can keep you entrenched in the learning phase.

Looking back at the past 6 books that I have read, I can honestly say that I have only executed on 1 or 2 big ideas from each book.

So why read a whole book? 

Reading books allows your brain to explore intellectually but I am not so sure it's as beneficial as we think. 

I wonder if I spent the time learning and instead focused on execution, if I would have gotten better results. 

So what is the right balance between learning and executing on what you learn?

Unfortunately, there is no solid data on this but in the spirit of execution, I am going to leave you with this my new philosophy.

Whenever you are reading a book or learning, try to understand what your goal is. 

Don’t just consume content like a zombie. 

Is there a particular goal that you are trying to achieve that what you are learning about is going to help you achieve or are you learning for fun?

That way you can be more intentional with your time.

Learning for fun is okay. Though we do live in a world where we are already overloaded with information, so I try to limit it.

Whenever I am reading educational content for the sake of reaching my goals, my rule of thumb is that I have to execute on something related to that in the short term, meaning 1 -2 weeks.

Ideally, I am reading something that I go ahead and execute right away.

Other times I read to get ideas that I write down and will ultimately contribute to longer-term projects.

When I am reading for fun, I ask myself if I am actually enjoying what I am reading and if it's bringing value to my life. 

The bottom line is : execution > learning

Understanding Your Market

The success of any startup relies heavily on understanding the market it operates in and identifying the ideal customers within that market. Understanding your customer and becoming a subject matter expert is key, especially at the formidable stages.

By having insight into potential customers, you know what problems you should be solving with your product and how to communicate in a way that appeals to them.

The market is the broader industry that you serve. The ideal customer dives deeper into who your product is the best fit to serve. It's a way to segment your customers.

You might not know who your product best serves yet, and that is okay, but it's important to hypothesize and test who is.

Make some assumptions about what would make a customer a good fit for your product and test those assumptions otherwise, use your current customer base and data to guide you.

Here are some of the key steps to understanding your market and identifying your ideal customers:

Understanding Your Market

1. Research industry trends and news: Stay updated on current and emerging trends in your industry. Search Google news, read articles and follow the right people on social media to gain insights into customer preferences and potential opportunities.

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