We live in a world of abundance. Abundance of ideas, data and information. The challenge is there is so much we can be overwhelmed.

As the noted economist and Nobel Prize winner, Herbert Simon said we are living in a world with a “wealth of information”, which is creating “a poverty of attention”.

He’s right. We often don’t know where to focus our attention and so this abundance of information, often leads to a paucity of knowledge.

But worse, in an era where the prevalence of fake news is rising it is becoming harder than ever to know what information sources you can trust.

You can’t always believe what you see and hear, particularly as the cleverness of AI and technology is creating the ability to manipulate words and images.

Here’s a brilliant example where Jordan Peele and BuzzFeed teamed up to produce a fake clip of Barack Obama.

For success in life, and in particular when you are leading in a complex, changing world, you need to know who you can trust.

How do you know that the information you are relying on is reliable? How do you know that you are accessing all that you need to be able to make a good and wise decision?

It starts with looking at your sources and ensuring it has breadth, depth and character.

Breadth

  • Look beyond the obvious sources you always go to. Look at information that is outside your industry or profession because that is often where the real gems are, and it on the fringes that change is happening
  • Establish a knowledge diet that is expansive and full of books, journals, talks, podcasts and so on, that is insightful and healthy

Depth

  • Set up a routine where you read daily. When it becomes a daily habit, you are far more able to consume and digest information.
  • Dig deeply into information that you are curious about. Ask lots of questions. Wonder why it is so. Don’t take things on face value, instead seek to validate what you read and hear

Character

  • Listen to and read material from people that you don’t agree with. See if you can understand their perspective. If you only seek information from people that you agree with you will never get your ideas challenged and tested

The wonderful thing about life, is that every day you have the opportunity to learn something new. How awesome is that?

And remember the words of the famous US jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes, “A mind once stretched will never go back to its original dimension”.

 

Getting you ready for tomorrow, today!

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and  ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].