it's becoming hard to filter for useful information. how you choose to do so will dictate who controls how you grow to think

How to Practically Filter for Useful Information

Information can be used to control us, suppress us, and to misdirect us. Information can be key to attaining power, and misinformation can be the trigger to losing it. Information does not come labelled and sorted for us. We seldom know if the information we take in is beneficial to our goals or detrimental to our success. Our time is susceptible to being wasted by useless information, with others can benefit from the attention that we show. The more you think about it, the scarier our lack of control over what we allow to influence our thoughts and actions is. Some people try to save us with the information they present, some try to improve us, and some try to exploit us. How do we know who to trust and what to focus on?

This article hopes to encourage you to rely on your basic instinct of curiosity to act as the primary filter for the information you intake. Your curiosity will set you apart from others who fail to utilize theirs. It will define you as a leader on the search of information, rather than a follower who has no say on what information influences their way of being. This article aims to motivate you on your journey towards independent thinking in an age where it’s become difficult to become an independent thinker. There’s an overwhelming feeling that everything’s been thought of, all has been written about, and every sentence has been spoken. There’s tremendous pressure to paralyze ourselves with information which does not lead to positive action, but rather inhibit it. Let’s take a stab at embarking on a journey toward independent thinking.


Begin All Input With a Question


Our curiosity is a solid start to the path toward Independent thought. If you find yourself browsing aimlessly and in-taking wasteful information, ask yourself what point you stopped following curiosity and started following the triggers demanding your attention. Begin every information-finding session with a sincere question based on your own curiosity. Take a moment to think about what you want to know, rather than what the world says that you should know. Make the information that you seek a proactive venture, rather than a reactive series of wasteful clicks.

Become skilled at asking your own questions and stay away from others dictating what you should be asking. Allow your curiosity to take you where no one else has been before. Allow others to label your path as wrong, as wasteful, and as ill-informed. Know that everyone else is merely following their own curious thought, and that you should always remain loyal to your own. If your curious thought pulls you in the direction others are traversing, don’t hesitate to follow. However, be very careful in shaping your curiosity to align with someone else’s. If you do. you’ll find yourself on cognitive journeys you didn’t choose to travel, and you’ll be pressured to think somebody else’s thoughts.

Remain loyal to your curious thoughts, and always allow them to lead you towards information you truly want to know. Begin any search for information with a question stemming from what you’re curious about most. Ask yourself, “What do I want to know at this moment in time?” Then venture toward that goal. Make your search for information a conscious effort rather than a passive following of triggers others put in place.


Connect Anything You See/Hear to Improving…


1. Yourself

Your first priority for learning information is to clearly label reasons it improves you. How does knowing the information you’re intaking at this moment improve you as a human being? List the reasons why. They should be clear and they should be obvious. You’ll notice that you spend a large portion of your day intaking information which does not serve to improve you in any obvious way. You’ll let information make its mark on your mind, to influence your way of thinking, and dictate how you spend your time. Without clear and conscious analysis of how the things you intake improve you as a person, you’ll let others dictate how it does. Without always auditing the things that we intake, we let others do it for us. We’ll listen to the opinions of others when we have no reason to, and we’ll consider useless information seriously when we shouldn’t.

Respect your curiosity by always auditing the information you intake. Ask yourself if you’re truly curious about what you’re learning at this moment. If you’re not, then stop its input at once. Shift to the things you’re curious about and repeat the process. Respect your curiosity by allowing it to lead you. Respect your curiosity by not allowing it to be ignored. Trust your curiosity to look for things which improve you as a person, and make sure to check on this improvement along the way.

2. Family and Team

Once you’ve established that the information you’re intaking is beneficial to your own well-being, then it’s time to see whether you can use it to improve the ones around you. On your path to influencing others, you should be charitable with where your curiosity leads you. Test whether your friends, team(s), and family are also curious about what you’ve learned. If the information you learned served to improve you as a person, there’s no reason for it to not improve those you care for most.

Thinking about sharing what you’ve learned with those around you serves to place more responsibility on your shoulders. You’ll begin treating information as something of value, and be more mindful of what information you take in. We care for our loved ones and want the best for them. Connecting those you love to the information you take in will force you to filter what you learn with a level of seriousness. Treat all the information you take in with the intention of sharing it with those you love. Always have an answer to how the information you take in will not only improve yourself, but those you care for most. If you do, you’ll be less likely to fall victim to malicious misinformation which benefits others at your own expense.


Is the Information Actionable or Merely Theoretical?


The last thing you should ask yourself is if the information you come across is actionable. How much will this information change your behavior in everyday life? Can you use the information at hand to take beneficial action? Or is what you’re learning merely going to stay inside your mind without leading towards any sort of action. If the information you take in has a direct path towards action, ask yourself whether this action is beneficial to you and those around you.

Strive to take in information which is actionable and leads toward beneficial results. See the path from input into action, and measure information you take in based on how much positive impact it has on the actions you commit.

Book Recommendation: 

The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons

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