The Knowledge Trap: Drop the Need to Know Everything
Many men fall into the knowledge trap. They spend so much of their mental energy researching and learning about things they’ll never use. This is actually counterproductive and should be avoided. How you spend your time creates the habits that create your life.
When you spend all of your time acquiring knowledge, you just become a fact knower.
The more Data, the better decision
The idea behind gathering knowledge is that the more data you have, the better the decision you can make.
That’s true and it’s why we’re naturally drawn to learn about things. It’s appropriate to gather knowledge about something that we’re actually using in our lives. If you want to learn a skill, or handling particular situations, gathering knowledge makes sense.
A man whose new to fitness will benefit by researching workout routines and diet. A man whose new to retention will benefit from learning about the benefits as well as what to avoid in order to be successful. If you’re using the knowledge that you’re gathering then you’re doing the right thing.
But guys get into a cycle where they spend hours on the internet gathering knowledge about random things they don’t apply or use. This is the knowledge trap many men find themselves in.
Knowledge isn’t Power
Knowledge isn’t power. At least not on its own.
Knowledge is Potential Power.
It’s what you do with it that counts.
Knowledge for knowledge’s sake can be a fun pastime. But it shouldn’t be the majority of your time. Too many guys are spending loads of time trying to acquire as much knowledge as possible.
This is the knowledge trap. Acquiring as much knowledge as possible only fills up your brain with information. By doing this, you simply get in the habit of memorizing and theorizing. Constantly looking up information, doing new research, comparing it with old, and then thinking about it.
While this can beneficial at the start of a project or when you have a spare 30 minutes at the end of a productive day, that’s about it. When this turns into 3 or 4 hours everyday, or even 2 hours a day, it’s just waisting your time. The habit you’re doing is one of consuming. Consuming and consuming and consuming.
Knowledge is everywhere
With the internet, knowledge is everywhere. You don’t need to research a million random things or memorize “nice to know” information. When you need to know something, you can look it up.
Spending hours researching new information day after day doesn’t have the same value that it once had. With all of the knowledge ever discovered available to us on our devices, it doesn’t make sense to try to store as much of it as possible. Yet many men, especially intellectual types, waist their intellect on knowledge gathering. The intellect could be much better used gaining knowledge in one specific area and then monetizing that with real work.
Allocate time for productive consumption
If you have a book you read, a podcast, or a blog you enjoy, that can be apart of your productive consumption.
Productive consumption is when you allow yourself to consume content that’s useful to you. It could be useful to your business, mindset, mental health, dating life, lifestyle, or even just your happiness by putting you in a good mood. However, even productive consumption should be limited. I allocate 30-45 minutes at the end of the day to this. You can do more or less depending on what works for you and your schedule.
Drop the need to know everything
But if you want to be successful in your career, your business, or any endeavorer, then you need to escape the knowledge trap.
Even if you just want to be happy and have peace of mind, you need to drop the need to know everything.
Am I saying don’t read books? No, books are incredible. Am I saying you can’t gain knowledge through podcasts or articles like this? Of course not, otherwise I wouldn’t have a business. But what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t spend a large chunk of your time consuming content. You can spend 30 minutes or an hour a day. If you select quality content, that should be more than enough.
Even then, this needs to be after you’ve already been productive during the day.
Your primary time are the hours you have in the day. Whether you work 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours, this is the main chunk of time when you’re getting things done.
You could be learning a new skill like programming, be on calls with clients, building a marketing campaign, painting fences, whatever your good work is.
There’s only so much Mental Energy
You only have so much time in a day, in a week, in a month, in a year, and in your life.
That’s why it’s so important to have a schedule and stick to it. The simpler and easier to follow the better. Get up early, work out, shower, and then go do your good work. If you have a job then do your job, come home and work on that side business or skill. If you’re too tired then rest up and do 10 hours on Saturday and 10 hours on Sunday.
Searching for knowledge endlessly is a pursuit that will only drain you of your time. Sure, going from video to video or wikipedia page to wikipedia page is a hell of a lot better than looking at porn. But it’s still not how you should be spending your time. When you’re jumping from topic to topic you’re not focused. Your cluttering your mind. This is why so many men have weak attention spans. Because jumping from topic to topic, fact to fact, interesting discussion to interesting discussion, just leads to mental masturbation. Therefore you mentally tire yourself out and have no more brain power to do real work.
Our brains use 20% of our body’s energy, even though they only make up 2% of our weight.
The human brain is a powerhouse of energy consumption. But with all of that consumption it also needs rest. When you are focused on random facts or the acquisition of knowledge, you’re using up mental energy. That mental energy could be used to focused on doing your good work instead.
Do your good work early.
Make it your first priority.
If you go to bed at 8pm so you can wake up at 3 or 4am and work on it before your 9-5 then do that. Put your mental energy towards the tasks that are going to benefit your life the most in the long run. When you waste it on the knowledge trap, you become an intelligent loser who stays stuck in the same position in life.
Knowledge is great if you can use it. If you’re not using it, if the need for it isn’t present, then don’t worry about it. You can google whatever you need to know when the moment comes up. Spend your precious mental energy on the activities that can gain momentum into the success or results that you truly desire.