Do not follow the shepherd: 3 aspects to rethink on your road to success when broke
On self-improvement and being productive on a budget.
You see it everywhere.
People that advice on self-improvement, how to become rich, how to have a successful something — be it life, channel, blog, etc.
Once you found it, it spirals into your social media channels.
The self-help and ways to be productive that will encourage you to find the road to riches. However, not all words of advice are of universal-use.
Numerous of these recommendations address the productivity aspects that would lead you to a successful path.
Based on my experience and observations, these are the most accessible tools that people address on acquiring knowledge, resulting in productivity:
- online courses
- books to buy
These tools, however, can be expensive for some of us. Before you spend money on self-improvement tools, revise the following three points first to keep learning within a budget.
1. The Audible trap
Listening to books to be more productive is a fascinating idea — that is, if you are an audible person.
Let me explain the latter. Various advice suggests listening to a book while commuting or doing activities that can be combined with multitasking (for example washing dishes and listening to an audiobook). But, if you’re like me — a visual person — words will just come and go while you are visualising the pages or numbers that the narrator is reading.
Combining listening with other activity is not productive, because you end up missing a significant percentage of the content.
If you are listening and acquiring all the knowledge, probably it would be better to just listen and not to do something else at the same time. As research shows (Ward et al., 2019), dual-tasking (performing simultaneous tasks) leads to a slower response while a study at UCLA corroborates that information is also lost amid dual-tasking:
Multitasking adversely affects how you learn. Even if you learn while multitasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialised, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily. (UCLA, 2006).
So, multitasking is out of the question if you want to retain the information as thoroughly as possible.
1.1 Free or paid
Various of these advice combine listening with a link to audible — a seller and producer of online audible books. After your first few free weeks or months, there is a a payment.
You can take advantage of these discounts or free one-week accounts to enjoy as many free audiobooks as you please— just remember to cancel the account once you reach your free limit, if you want to save money.
Besides, if you prefer to listen, you can also find various free audiobooks online. Google is your friend.
2. Online knowledge
Another issue that appears with words of advice and pseudo-recommendations are online courses. Preferably, they suggest theirs, but some other people recommend following an online course to acquire the knowledge you are looking for to become successful in your field.
Knowledge is power — but sometimes expensive.
There is nothing wrong with following online courses, I do that too. But do not just jump into the well and buy the online course. Reflect on how this will help you.
If it is something that can help you attain your goal, buy it — within a budget and always evaluate it first (see point 3).
But first, ask yourself… Can I have this knowledge through another medium? Ideally, a free one.
Perhaps you can find the book online, or a Google course, or an edX class which can teach you more (on professional terms) about this subject. Many valuable and certified professionals upload content online for free. Enjoy it and be critical.
3. But above all be critical
When I was studying, university professors always told the class:
“… be critical, think for yourself, don’t believe everything that is written — be critical of us!”
It’s hard to be critical of someone you respect and has years of experience, but it’s worth trying.
As you realise that some writers (popular or academic), repeat what other authors say but with other words. They change the term to their own “but here I call it xxxx…” For instance, the advice that Robert Kiyosaki or various YouTubers give on financial education is the same as the O.G. book: “The Richest Man in Babylon” (1926) by George Clason. Maybe you are already familiar with the phrase “save 10% of your monthly salary and invest it”.
Overflowed with pseudo-gurus and sourceless information that floats on the Internet like plastic in the ocean, in today’s society, thinking, analysing and being critical of your favourite writers, YouTubers, family, or news anchor is essential. And, it’s crucial when you are on a budget, as money is time, and time is precious.
Do not be the sheep that follows the shepherd, be the pink sheep that cut its wool.
University of California — Los Angeles. “Multi-tasking Adversely Affects Brain’s Learning, UCLA Psychologists Report.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060726083302.htm>.
Ward, N, et al. “Building the multitasking brain: An integrated perspective on functional brain activation during task-switching and dual-tasking.” Neuropsychologia (V 132), September 2019, 107149. <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028393219301940>.