How much knowledge is too much?

Editor’s Note: This is an addition to a series we are beginning on the “slow web” and how human curation and edification is the future of web media. Saitsky’s point below supports the concept that information overload alone is not the way to go — to truly flourish one must also act on learning. 

Whether you are trying to be a successful entrepreneur, parent or friend, it’s wise to calibrate your knowledge meter. How much knowledge is too much? Is there such a thing as having too much knowledge and if so, how do you know when knowing too much actually hurts you, rather than inspires you?

As an Entreprenuer, you might be focusing all of your attention on building the strongest team, raising money and/or developing a competitive product for the marketplace. As a parent you might be exploring ways to better motivate and teach your children to become the best versions of themselves.  As a friend, your goal might simply be to have as much joy as possible when spending an evening with a loved one; a goal that these days seems to be the most difficult to attain.

Everyone I know seems to be suffering from the same problem: they are addicted to the idea of connection. They seem to be reading all the right books and acquiring a tons of knowledge, but I do not see most actually taking the time to stop the consumption part and actually implement what they’ve learned.

I want to see more Entrepreneurs take what they’ve learned from books and seminars and actually build happier, more inspired teams in the workplace. I’d like to see parents who don’t just read parenting books and buy their kids toys, but who actually come home and have dinner with their kids and ask about their day without checking their email, and yes, it would be awesome to have a dinner party with friends with absolutely no cell phones at the table. I can dream can’t I?

Now do not get me wrong. I write a blog, and love my social media outlets, I am always thirsty for knowledge and curious about connection and new information, but most importantly I remind myself that none of what I learn matters if I do not take time to actually be present in, and enjoy my life. And sometimes, that means the phone must be put away. Yes, I said it and I mean it.

Knowledge can either supplement or detract from inspiration. It really boils down to perspective.

Daily, there is an abundance of insight into how things work, how to live and what we can do to achieve success in business, love and family life.  But how much of all this knowledge is actually inspiring to you? How much of it makes you the best version of yourself?

For me, the answer is simple: if I ask, “ should I stop?” then the answer is yes. When something feels like its too much, it usually is. It’s the same with love. When you know you love someone, you can’t explain it but you know it’s true. The same for knowledge and inspiration. Read, write, explore and take it all in, but then remember to give yourself some time to let all of it manifest, and savor all of the new information you’ve received before you move on to acquiring more.

Albert Einstein said, “ The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” I agree with him. For me, in order to have time to imagine anything, I need time to process my knowledge and let it inspire me.  I want to read an incredible book and then talk about it with friends over dinner and wine. I want to learn a new language and then actually go to the native country and speak it.

For me, inspiration is a grounding feeling, and for some, feeling inspired might make them feel like they can fly. Whenever a state of inspiration takes you, I hope you find a few minutes to slow down and let all the knowledge you’ve acquired take you there.

Svetlana Saitsky is passionate about exploring and sharing inspiration through her writing, photography and design. She is a contributing writer for Great Place To Work Institute, Delivering Happiness, Business Heroine Magazine and currently works with Adecco @ Google. Inspired and wanting more? Please visit her at www.about.me/svetlanasaitsky

  • sergeitoom

    Good day, Svetlana. The good news. I agree with you, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination with new knowledge for development”.

    • Svetlana Saitsky

      Awesome!

      • sergeitoom

        Hi, Svetlana. New opportunity for development – Social Media /Next Level, 100 GbE, by the IEEE 802.3ba – 2010 Standard/ & Nanotechnology / New IP of Nano/ give to SME’s for real growth.

  • Pascale MWM

    Great article ! TY Svetlana imagination and creativity are the true sign of intelligence : knowledges are only tools to serve our purposes/ goals … Enjoy your day :)

    • Svetlana Saitsky

      Thanks Pascale! You too!

  • Brian Eustice

    Well said. Balance in all things and not forgetting to live in the moment . Action speaks loudest- informed action yes but too much time is just spent posting and reposting -harvesting without use ; just storage until it goes mouldy!

    • Svetlana Saitsky

      yes indeed! Thanks for sharing Brian!

  • mengottiseverino

    it is true. I have benn asked to teach drawing ina school for olders in Palmanova-Italy. I had a lot of dowlands, i bought and read a lot of books, and I payed a course for learn acquaforte, acquatinta, cera molle tecniques with one of the most important print-artists of Italy. All ok, buta now I feel that I must learno to teach. I trusto in God, but iI am not sure that it is enough.

    • Svetlana Saitsky

      trust in yourself! :)

  • Cora Dugan

    As a hairdresser and graphic designer, I am a learning machine! I love to let ideas flow…it’s music to my spirit. Thank you for sharing this post! I loved it!

    • Svetlana Saitsky

      so glad you loved it!