This may sound a bit hypocritical for all the talking I do about education and expanding your knowledge, but hear me out first.

There is a fine balance between education and action.  You can have all the education in the world, but if you don’t take action and do something, it doesn’t mean a thing.  The transverse is also true.  If you  jump in feet first to every endeavor without doing any research, it is a recipe for heartache and/or disaster.

So how do you find the right balance?  I think a lot of it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  If you are trying to learn how to jump rope, sure it may help a tiny bit to read a book on the proper form etc., but the best use of your time is to a) watch it being done  and then literally b) jump in with both feet and try it.

If you want to convert your brand-new Ferrari into a solar-powered vehicle (not sure why you would) then you bet your bippy you should do some reading first, or take some auto mechanic courses etc.  Jumping in would be the worst possible choice you could make.

“Learning without action is wasted time.” – Chris Doelle

Yes, there are types of learning that do not lead to action – like the book I am reading right now, In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect by Ronald Kessler.  What action can I take about that?  I can write a review (which I will when finished) but I am not going to join the Secret Service or consult on what is good or bad about protecting presidents.

Self-help learning however is all about action.  Sure, you can learn how interest rates and savings plans affect your wealth in retirement, but you can be the smartest poor old man around if you don’t take action.  If you learn the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and don’t put them into action, you have gained nothing.

action learningOne of the best systems I know of to incorporate learning and action into results is to:

  1. Set goals for what you want to become/attain etc. (and write them down)
  2. Decide how much learning is required (if you don’t know – ask someone who has done it)
  3. Learn
  4. Take action (break it into achievable steps)
  5. Go to #1

by Chris Doelle