Did you know that if you want to write a business plan and go to Google and search “Business Plan” – you will have 1,740,000,000 sites to help you write the best business plan? What is the probability that some of them would be excellent; perhaps 1%? Surely there are some, right? Therein lies the problem – how in the world will you find the 1% out of 1.7 Billion sites? We are in the information age and there is now an abundance of information available to all of us. Regardless of your interests, all you have to do is go to Google and search until your heart is content. This process is like being in a hall with 1.7 billion doors and opening each one to see what is inside. Friend or foe, valuable information or useless drivel – every door promises you the answer. The vast majority mislead you with false promises of actionable knowledge. Plus, who has the time for that? It is intoxicating to get an idea then “Google It” to open these doors for a brief visit. Occasionally, you find a friend and agree to correspond – by downloading a white paper, answering a question, ordering a book, or eating a “cookie.” Often those friends tell their friends and now you have many people sending you their latest and greatest idea. They are so polite and so enticing. 3 Ways to improve your health, the shank proof wedge, 10 steps to wellness, 5 ways to transform your marriage, lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes. Who can resist that when you are an information junkie?
As for me, I am an information gorger. I consume so much information looking for the one idea to unlock the secrets of success, peace, health, life, learning, reading, cooking, golf – you name it. I am obese; no I am morbidly obese with excessive information. Obesity is an excessive amount of body fat, information obesity is an excessive amount of e-mails and subscriptions. I receive hundreds of e-mails daily from all the “cookies” I have eaten, books ordered and white papers downloaded that I must live through a couple hundred – “gotta second” moments on a daily basis. You know what I mean, “ding” the envelop appears and I wonder who is sending me an e-mail. Oh, great – Gymboree is having a sale. O.K., my children are 16 and 19, and Gymboree still wants me to know that their spring line is 30% off. Last week, I decided enough is enough. I went to therapy and came away with an action plan. UNSUBSCRIBE. It is like a data cleansing. Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? Darn right – bye bye!!! I had a great week saying goodbye to Gymboree and hundreds of other sites who steal my attention, one e-mail at a time.
Back to that business plan. What if you really need a business plan? What if you should know what “Additive Manufacturing” is all about? (Yes this promises to revolutionize the US Economy and I first heard about it this week. I was eating so many cookies that I missed a major event – another consequence of being obese) Maybe the key to unlocking knowledge is not online at all. What if the best learning comes off line? Frankly, I have concluded there is a big difference between information and wisdom. I really don’t think you get wisdom from 1.7 Billion websites. My two years in the Loyola EMBA program were the most intense and rewarding exploration of wisdom and truth. That program was off line. It was an intense journey with a cohort of likeminded professionals with real accomplishments. They had both knowledge and wisdom and when the program ended I did not want to learning to end. I guess I wanted to replace that process with the internet and 4 years later, I was left wanting. My spring cleaning has been sweeping out the inbox and looking for ways to regenerate the offline process. Maybe you should too.