Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Survive and Thrive at the Age of Information Overloading

The knowledge you select becomes "part" of you, and shapes the lenses you perceive the world.

We live in the age of information abundance, it’s so delightful to capture the knowledge power because information is only a click away. However, is the Information age flooding one’s brain with an overwhelming amount of diverse knowledge? What are some strategies to prevent overload?

Be selective: Absorbing knowledge is a paradoxical process: on one hand, you need to get knowledge from every source that you can. Don't stop learning because nature doesn't stop teaching. You don't need to remember it all, or you can't even remember it all. But someday it will be useful, some way or the other. On the other side, you have to be selective. It is a basic way humans cope with the thousands of bits of stimuli that we encounter - information being only one. The point of learning is to gather the details around the subject under scrutiny and then and only then can you be selective. You can be selective about the sources you are going to take data from, but even then there is an assumption that you have prior knowledge. Learning to activate and use our own mental band-stop filters. It is amazing how you can work through arguments and filter through information when you relax your mind and share with someone.

Discover how & where to find valuable information, not just the information itself. In many cases, one does not know the certain information, one just needs to know where to locate that information when needed. If the information is the right data, in a form you can understand, which allows you to do something useful, that you want to accomplish, then you need to know where to look for that sort of material. There are clear sources of appropriate material that will help you find "the right answer." Over time, you develop an effective set of filters that help you find new information that interests you. You also learn what to ignore. The value of the journal multiplies over time. It's a very powerful confirmation of your present thinking,

You have to learn how to swim in the sea of information in which we live; otherwise, it will drown you. You don't need to be overloaded with new stuff to read. Find a way to collect the "best" material that interests you. Filter the information that comes your way, so you can build your own knowledge foundation on topics that interest you. So the knowledge you select becomes "part" of you, and shapes the lenses you perceive the world. Be open-minded, because one day you will have new answers or complete answers to the questions that interest you, and you will have your own collected data, information that you trust and understand. That will give you the confidence to make decisions and to help you stand your ground when others have less well-considered ideas, but always be flexible to understand the other's point of view.

The next level of learning is to create the new knowledge: You need to not only assimilate the existing knowledge, more importantly, you have to create the new knowledge, more frequently to replace the out of dated knowledge. If you have a real problem to solve, most likely the information you need is not available or has to be created by yourself. That may not be possible. So how do you proceed? From analytics to synthesis; from absorbing information to creating new knowledge, from individual smartness to collective wisdom, it is about managing the knowledge life cycle: data-information-knowledge-insight-wisdom more effectively.

Hence, learning agility is a crucial capability for thriving in the digital age, although data is doubled in every two years,  knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened, only through the right attitude to learn, and good learning capability, you can swim freely in the sea of information.


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