The uselessness of information

January 10th, 2011

Learning is experience

Everything else is information.

Albert Einstein

We’re awash in information, this is after all the information age and you’re surfing the greatest repository of information since the invention of thinking. (including some on this site, if I may say so myself.)

Reminds me of that other great quote I read.

Overheard from one portly rich man: “I wish I can hire someone to work out for me.”

That sums up the problem.

Information in itself is useless. It will not make you lose weight, or make you smarter, or turn you into a phenomenal guitar player (although my hope is that it will, with my extra powerful words and insights).

Unless of course if you happen to turn it into experience, in which case it is worth more than gold.

I have a good friend who is a real estate mogul, he told me it all started when he read a book on real estate investing over twenty years ago.

In that relatively short time, he was able to parlay the book and the information within it into gold, literally.

I am sure there were thousands of others who read the same book and left it on the shelf to gather dust. (And I would be one of them.)

In which case, all that information in that book were just so many words, completely useless.

Why is it so hard to turn information into experience? Because it involves a great deal of effort.

We can read and be knowledgeable about all the techniques on real estate investing, but it takes a great deal of effort to put that information into action.

We can read about how to lose weight but it takes a great deal of effort and time to put all those nice advice into practice and shed some pounds.

We can read about how to get a good tremolo but it takes a great deal of effort to turn that information into a rippling tremolo at your fingertips.

There is one bright spot in all this, however.

If you are successful in turning information into experience, you’ll be one of a rare breed, the select few, the chosen ones – because the majority of people will not.

Here’s another powerful quote I read, I forgot from where:

It’s easier to sit on your butt than to turn information into experience.

2 Responses to “The uselessness of information”

  1. Miguel de Maria Says:

    Hi Philip–so true! There is the proverb, supposed to be from the Chinese (maybe you have heard it in the original?: To know and not to do, is not to know.

  2. Philip Hii Says:

    Miguel, yes, I’ve heard something to that effect too, but sadly, not in the original. There’s another one that goes:

    I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.

    It’s attributed to Confucius, but not too sure about that.

Leave a Reply