Too Much Information = Too Little Action?

AMA1-13-14A little knowledge, so they say, is a dangerous thing. But in an age of 24/7 access to information about anything, too much knowledge may not be a good thing either. As psychologists, efficiency experts and financial advisors point out, it’s all too easy to become paralyzed by the constant need to learn more, stay ahead of the curve, get the latest tips and tricks – and never take real action at all.

Whether you’re just starting out or a longtime pro, ongoing education is essential for success, in any endeavor. And investing and money management are no exception. The first of Jason Hartman’s 10 Commandments of Real Estate investing is “Thou shalt become educated.” Learning about investing, about markets and strategies, allows for better control of investments and better decision-making. Becoming educated about investing lets an investor make smart choices about taking (or ignoring) advice and choosing the right team of professionals to make things happen.

Learning can be had with the click of a mouse. Courses, seminars, workshops and consultations abound — and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and paralyzed, trapped by the sheer enormity of the available information relative to what you actually know – or need to know.

And that creates paralysis.a constant state of being stuck in learning mode without moving on to the next step. Too much information can leave a learner feeling hopelessly inadequate, sure that there’s one more piece to learn, one more strategy that will prevent a newbie from making a disastrous mistake. With so much to learn, how can anyone ever feel competent to compete with others – who clearly have acquired all that knowledge?

That inadequacy is fed by the never-ending stream of new information. The world changes fast, and staying current with the newest trends become nearly impossible. Sp it’s easy to stall, to put off taking action toward a goal until you find out just one more thing, take one more class, read up on one more investing trend. But it’s never enough.

The key, say learning experts, is to accept that you’ll never know all there is to know – and that some lessons are best learned from experience. The key is focus – to get a clear goal in mind and plan what you need to learn to achieve that goal Take courses, consult with experts, read up. Then – do something that pushes your goal forward now.

Learning is a lifelong process, and in the ever-changing world of investing there’s always something new to know. And it’s always important to stay informed. But in an age of too much information, a little knowledge, combined with real action, may not be a dangerous thing at all. (Top image:Flickr/Ju-x)

The American Monetary Association is the source for financial and monetary policy news you can use. Read more from our archives:

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