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Knowledge And Action Are Nothing Without Subtraction

October 06, 2019

Knowledge is power.

Or is it?

It certainly was when Penicillin was discovered in 1928. If you had an infection and knew that it could be cured by an antibiotic, that is powerful.

Knowing that would save your life.

In a world with scarce information, knowledge can be a tremendous thing.

But as education and knowledge has increased in the world in the last 100 years, knowledge on its own wasn't what it used to be.

To get where you want to go in life, you will also need...action.

If you read any self-help books from the 80's, you may notice a new twist on the old idea of knowledge is power:

Knowledge is potential power. Real power comes from taking action.

It is not enough to know something. You must act on it or it is worthless. You should act on it!

This is the belief that our modern society is built upon: action.

Most of the people I meet (myself included) feel overwhelmed, not by their knowledge, but all the things they know that they should be taking action on:

  • They should be working out more.
  • They should be reading more books.
  • They should be eating healthier.
  • They should be writing more.
  • They should be improving their entrepreneurial skills to start their own company or succeed in the one they're in.
  • They should spend more time with their family and friends.

It's a surreal first in human history that we live in a time when we have so much knowledge that our biggest problem is that we can't get ourselves to take action on all of it.

If you want to learn to play the piano, there are 1000's of articles, videos, books, and $10 e-courses. Each with plenty of knowledge, opinions, and recommended methods of learning.

Some will say start with chords. Others will say learn rhythm first. Brand name music schools will start you with studying sheet music.

Where do you start? How do you handle conflicting ideas? What do you take action on?

That's just for something fun like playing the piano. What about information on starting a business, making diet choices, or curing an illness?

Again, it's time to question where the power in our lives really comes from.

If knowledge is only potential power...

And in this tech-crazy connected world, opportunites for action are so abundant that it causes a new form of paralysis...

Then it's not knowledge we need, it's not action.

It's subtraction.

Subtraction is power.

I'm not just talking about subtracting items on your to do list so you have less to do (although that can help). This is more than just "focusing".

I'm talking about subtracting your thoughts, identity, and beliefs about the world and who you are in it.

THAT is where the power is.

The more we throw out and subtract the automatic meanings and stories our brains generate every minute...

The more we see clearly...

The more action we take...

The more wisdom we find in the knowledge we have...

And the more power we have to make life what we want it to be.

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