With Independence Day approaching in the U.S., people are planning fireworks displays, decorated bike parades and massive feasts of food.
Red, white and blue desserts adorn food magazines at checkout stands.
Not to mention the red, white and blue decorations, paper plates, napkins, beach gear, clothing and so on located in every big box store, grocery store, etc.
People will spend hours planning, inviting, buying and baking for parties, festivals and events.
In fact, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Independence Day survey conducted by BIGinsight, 67.6 percent of Americans will celebrate the 4th of July by hosting or attending a cookout, barbecue or picnic, more than any other time in the history of the survey.
Spreads of food like this remind me of how a lot of people equate intellectual input to eating food.
At picnics, cookouts and barbecues for special occasions like this, there is always more food than can be consumed which prompts one of two actions: Try everything—stuff yourself until you have to undo the top button on your pants, maybe even go for seconds. Others will just fill their plate once, trying their best not to overeat.
Of course, special occasions that tempt you to “try everything” are not “normal” behavior.
It’s more common for people to believe, if the refrigerator’s full, they don’t need more. If they can’t clean their plate, they most assuredly don’t want a second helping. That’s being sensible about food.
You don’t really want your belly in endless expansion.
But the mind is different. You want all the stimulation it can get and not just on special occasions. The mind is fully capable of expanding to meet it, to sift and sort and organize as much as you can put on the table in front of it—much like a 4th of July smorgasbord .
Furthermore, you don’t need to fully digest and use everything you read, listen to or watch in order to get ample value from taking it all in.
The value isn’t in quantity consumed. It’s in gems unearthed. (Like that new recipe you discover from trying every dish at the 4th of July party you attend.)
Personally, I process information by the pound and am happy to find a few little things I can use profitably.
One such goodie in a year’s time justifies my reading a newsletter every month. And value does not even require revelations of brand new things—if the input reminds you of knowledge already in your possession, nudges you into acting on some slow-simmering idea or intention, pushes you past procrastination on just one useful action, counters negative and gloom ‘n doom media blather, it earns its keep.
If you feel the need to excuse yourself for not acquiring, investing in and processing information, look for a smarter one than (a) I can’t use it ALL, or (b) I’m not using everything I already know. That’s NOT the thinking of exceptionally successful people.
Donald Trump says he gets up every morning at 5:30 am—to read. Several daily newspapers, professional newsletters and books. I imagine the overwhelming majority of what he finds he already knows or has little interest in. I’m confident he’s smart enough not to care about that, but to be steadfastly hunting for the rare find or something he did not know or a fresh, different perspective that triggers profitable thoughts.
I’m fortunate to know a lot of very rich entrepreneurs. I can’t think of any who don’t have piles of books they’re always behind on while buying more, who aren’t in constant pursuit of more information and ideas and inspiration.
The playwright Archibald Macleish observed that the only difference between a man and a pig is his mind. Both man and pig must feed their bellies—and do, often with disturbingly similar gusto. Only some men feed their minds as regularly, constantly, continuously and enthusiastically.
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