Getting to Enough

Currently, I’m fascinated with the subject of how people find their own unique paths to success.  There is no shortage of advice out there on the topic.  You could spend the better part of your life reading blogs and books and by the time you got to bottom of your list, another twelve hundred would have been published on how to be happy, make decisions, find your passion, be successful.

This coming Saturday I’ll be giving a talk to my local Romance Writers of America chapter called “Adapting The 4-Hour Work Week to the Writer’s Life.”  I’ve been reviewing Tim Ferris‘s book to that end, but also incorporating concepts from several other related books.  In fact, just today I found out about yet another book by Simon Sinek, Start With Why, that seems to apply to the topic.   Obviously, I can’t thoroughly incorporate the ideas from all my sources in a 30 minute talk.  Indeed, at this point I should be winnowing my notes, not adding to them.  But the search for just one more piece of information is seductive.

Tim Ferris recommends going on an information diet.  He suggests that too much information can be paralyzing (as Barry Schwartz says in The Paradox of Choice).  Set a short deadline for yourself, Ferris says.  Gather just enough info, just before you need it, then make a decision and go forward. That’s how I used to write my papers in college, and it works, mostly.

However today, as a professional writer, I don’t like the idea of limiting the amount of information I see and read.  That’s one of the  differences between writing non-fiction and fiction:  I never know when something will become the seed for my next story.  Like many writers, I keep an Idea File of newspaper and magazine articles. Sampling a variety of ideas is part of my job.

I can’t argue with the fact that gathering information can become an end in itself, and a substitute for action.  Eventually, there comes a time when you have to say, “Enough.”  Usually when a deadline is looming.  🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Life, writing

2 responses to “Getting to Enough

  1. Hi there. I’m a life coach specializing in relationships. I think you hit on a few interesting points. How does one expose themselves to the sea of information without overwhelming themselves?
    In my own world I help people who want help meeting people, specifically helping them to improve their ability to socialize and connect.
    There are several aspects to this. 1. Opening a conversation 2. Engaging in the topic by making it fun and interesting 3. Creating a connection/comfort…..ect.
    There are many techniques and literature in a number of these individual areas….HOWEVER, I encourage my clients to just focus on one at a time until they reach a certain level of mastery.
    So I think the sweet spot of what you are referring to is a hybrid. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many area, pick one, focus on it, read, learn, and practice. Only moving on to the next phase when you have reach a level of proficiency on the 1st.
    On a side note, I thought the 4 hour work week was a great book! I especially loved his ‘method’ for becoming the kickboxing champion for his weight class!

    • On a side note, I thought the 4 hour work week was a great book! I especially loved his ‘method’ for becoming the kickboxing champion for his weight class!

      I’m divided on this. I admire his creative exploitation of a weakness in the regs, but not that he subverted their intent. At least he’s not hiding his methodology.

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