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Action vs. Learning? A False Dichotomy, My Friend!

Question from a reader -

"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." So how do you weigh learning vs. action? (implementation).

I've had great potential all my life.. but wasted it from being unfocused or a lack of discipline. Also I love learning.. too much. Too much information can quickly be paralyzing. I love the internet marketing niche. I have gone the whole 4 hour work week, Education of Millionaires, Uncollege type route. I've had success.. my own website.. and recently the launch of my own course. Recently I've been following a paleo style diet.. walking everyday and working out three times a day. I'm starting to use TimeDoctor and I plan to build a time diary fashioned off of yours. I sincerely appreciate any response or help. Take care.


D, I get this question sometimes.

Going from Goals to No Goals

On Spiritual Technology

Leo Babuta recently blogged about Achieving Without Goals reminding me of the discussion he had with Tim Ferris (Tim Ferriss vs. Leo Babauta Showdown: On Whether Goals Suck) with Tim playing the pro-goal devil's advocate. I believe, and as they touch on in the discussion, that this is a false dichotomy. 

Leo's post reignited my own internal debate on this subject. On the one hand, I am very satisfied and feel productive when I spend my day on a self-imposed schedule consisting of daily habits and goals. On the other hand, the idea of wandering, being open and of following my intuition and inspiration very much appeals to me and is my ideal lifestyle. 

The downside of the structured, goal-oriented route, is that I very rarely can achieve all that I plan to do and when I am not on my schedule (which is most of the time) I feel frustrated and dissatisfied. The downside of unstructured wandering is that you may succumb to passive entertainments and default routines rather than remain in a spirit of curiosity and openness.

Of course, neither path is the "right" path, as implicit in Tim and Leo's discussion. They both rely on aspects of the opposing approach to balance their main approach. Leo, for example, uses guiding principles or values as a loose structure in his goal-less approach.

What is largely missing from this discussion, and ironically most self-development approaches, is the recognition that approaches should change and develop progressively. You can play a guitar solo without any training (unstructured approach), but your range of expression with be quite limited. However, after much practice (structured approach), the expressiveness of your solo will be much greater. The structured foundation of practice supports and enriches the unstructured expression.

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