It used to be that the person with the access to the most information had a distinct advantage in the marketplace. In many industries this is still true but to much less of a degree today than in the past. However, in most situations it’s not having access to the information that gives you the edge, it’s your ability to convert information into wisdom that does.
We live in the age of information stimulation. We are bombarded by more data than we can handle or manage effectively. In fact, in many cases it can become a huge distraction from the tasks we are focused on. Between the sources of information (the web, social media, etc.) and the number of devices we are connected to (iPhones, laptops, Blackberries, etc.) the flow is endless. We need to be focused and strategic in how we handle and manage information so that we can put it in context and gain insight or wisdom. It’s the wisdom that we gain from the effective management of the information that is the desired outcome.
How often have you found yourself looking up X online to gain understanding or clarity and found yourself somehow on YouTube looking at an unrelated video or an obscure website reading an article on something irrelevant? So how do we take advantage of living in a time that gives us access to so much?
I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer to that. For some the use of software platforms (such as Evernote) can be helpful, for others it may be as easy as raising your level of awareness relative to how you are spending your time. Surfing the web alone does not yield wisdom, it can help you gather information. Make sure what you are gathering is in line with what you are seeking. Carve out the time you need to dive into the information and see how it can yield a new insight.
It’s become more difficult to spend the time we need contemplating and pondering information. If you can break out the gathering process from the thinking process as opposed to trying to do both simultaneously you’ll be able to move from stimulation to information gathering to wisdom much more effectively.