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June 1, 2021
Most people don’t read, period.
Lots of people do read, but don’t learn.
Some people do read and learn, but don’t integrate the information.
And a small percentage of people read, learn, and leverage their knowledge for something more meaningful.
Which one describes you? Which one do you wish described you?
If you want to become prolific your chosen endeavor, then the last camp is where you belong. And the good news is, there are many tools in the personal creativity management system to help you do so.
One tool that’s been transformative in my own work is called encoding, aka, the practice of processing experiences into insights and insights into habits. Encoding is what allows you to convert new information into motivational energy and take action on those learnings immediately, as opposed to letting them just sit there.
Here’s a recent example of how this tool played out in my creative life.
During the development phase this very software, there was a very steep learning curve. My brain voraciously consumed books and research and insights on subjects like information architecture, user experience design, knowledge management, marketing category creation, recurring revenue generation, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurial growth, and so on.
Now, because this stuff was mostly new to me, it was important to integrate and synthesize that information into my body, mind, and spirit. Not just read a few books, take some notes and then forget about them forever. But truly embrace the wisdom into the fabric of my own being like an enzyme, that way they could grow the project.
This encoding process would multiply my learning and give me leverage as this new creation came to life. And so, I did one of my favorite rituals, which buying a leather three ring binder. It’s amazing how spending twenty bucks on a simple piece of office equipment becomes such a motivator for me during a new creative endeavor.
Anyway, I printed out a copy of the notes from each of the hundred or so resources I had been studying, kept the binder on my desk and treated it as my own personal reference guide. A bible of sorts for this chapter of growth in my life.
Now, there was no need to reread my notes every day, or even every week. But by spending a dedicated chunk of time to revisit those ideas on a consistent basis, it helped reinforce the encoding process. It allowed me to connect the new information to other ideas in my head. Ultimately enabling my knowledge to quickly compound over time and produce a better product.
What’s your encoding ritual? How do you convert information into motivational energy?
Just know, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. There are as many ways to encode as there are people to do the encoding. It all depends on your personality, learning style, objectives and schedule.
My recommendation is, figure out how to take action on your new learnings immediately, rather than just letting them sit there. Learning by osmosis is a nice idea in theory, but in practice, you have to be much more proactive with your curiosity.
There may be some gradual unconscious assimilation of ideas, but in general, it takes work. You have to encode. You have to interact with the material.
You have to create space in your mind for great ideas to collide.
How do you devour information and emerge from that meditative inhaling process with real insight?