I have a distant family member who is absolutely brilliant. Reads everything there is to read. Possesses encyclopedic knowledge on pretty much any subject.

Every now and then, he develops a random interest in something, and then keeps reading about it until he thoroughly understands it in its entirety.

This gets particularly interesting when that random interest is a big world problem, such as the energy crisis.

Can the world ever run 100% on renewables?
Will nuclear micro reactors eventually replace the grid?
Is thorium the solution?

This guy will dig deep, and learn everything there is to know about the subject, for as long as it takes until he has all the answers.

And then?


That’s where it stops.

Just knowing the answer is sufficient for him.
He doesn’t feel the slightest need to ever act on all that knowledge that he gathered.

He’s perfectly content to just be the one who knows things, and leave it at that.

As a result, my uncle’s career doesn’t reflect his brilliant mind in the slightest. It is in fact decidedly underwhelming.

Because at the end of the day, nobody pays you for simply knowing a lot. They pay you to  put your knowledge to use, and solve actual problems.

And so knowledge is only valuable insofar as it’s actually applied.

Of course, this is all very obvious.
I’m sure you get it intuitively.

But do you act like it?

How often do you read great, exciting content, something intriguing and inspiring that offers you a new perspective, a wakeup call, a new way of looking at things, a better approach to solving a problem, leaving you hyped up and ready to go – only to then finish reading and continue living exactly like you did before?

Probably all the time.

Maybe there is simply too much content in the world, today.

A constant and never ending flow of news and ideas on social media. The world’s knowledge at our fingertips, with the answer to any question only a Google search away. Business gurus on twitter one-upping each other on how many books they read per year.

“Content is king” claim the marketers.
More content is more better.

It makes you wonder…

Isn’t it better to read one book in a year and actually apply what you learned, than to read 50 and never change a thing?

The question answers itself.

You can’t simply keep consuming forever.

You can’t keep running from content to content, like a chain smoker using one cigaret to light the next, jumping from article to video to social media feed, constantly consuming information, and never actually stopping to put any of it into practice.

If you do, you’re just like my uncle.
And you’ll end up in the same place.

So next time you come across some good quality content that excites and inspires you, remind yourself that this is the time to stop. Time to stop consuming and take action.

It’s all too easy to get distracted again, forget what you read, let your excitement fall into oblivion and waste the opportunity forever, like you’ve done so many times before. So do whatever you need to do, right now, to actually make yourself act on what you learned.

Add an item to your todo list.
Write a note on a post-it and stick it on your monitor.
Set a reminder.
Send yourself a calendar invite.

Your engine has been idling long enough. It’s time to shift into gear.

Let’s be perfectly clear here. At the DJH, we’d never downplay the importance of consuming high quality content on a daily basis. It can be an absolute game changer for your life and career trajectory.

But only if you act on it.

Because nothing will work until you do.


This post originally appeared in the DJH newsletter.
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