Maybe it's because I've been out of formal education long enough to start to miss studying, or maybe it's the influence of my thought-provoking fellow columnists, but I've been thinking and writing a lot about lifelong learning lately. This interest has turned up a host of benefits of continually feeding your brain, as well as useful tricks to make learning faster and easier.
But recently it also turned up something unexpected -- a rare argument against making space for more learning in your life.
OK, the Medium post by Slice Planner CMO Max Lukominskyi isn't exactly saying that you never need to crack a book once you have your diploma. Like everyone else, Lukominskyi recognizes the value of keeping your skills and your knowledge base current and giving that big lump of gray matter in your head a regular workout.
But in addition to these truisms, he makes an excellent and rarely made point -- learning is awesome, but sometimes it can be procrastination in disguise.
Is all your learning enabling action or just postponing it?
Here's what this problem looks like in practice, according to Lukominskyi. You have some goal or dream in mind but you tell yourself that in order to get started on reaching it, you need just one more skill or a little bit more knowledge.
"You consciously postpone the first step justifying this by your eagerness to broaden the knowledge and learn new things. You put the start date off justifying this by your desire to pick up new skills that would help you succeed faster. You procrastinate over chasing your own aspirations because doing the things on your own and creating your own story of success is far more complicated than reading about someone else`s one," he writes.
Sometimes, you really do need that one essential skill to get going, but other times, he warns, learning isn't actually about enabling action, but instead a means to perpetually postpone it. This can be a particularly dangerous trap, as "no one would really reproach you for wasting your time," he points out.
The truth is, no amount of learning will ever making accomplishing difficult things smooth and easy. "No matter how good your theoretical knowledge is, you will face a lot of obstacles while applying it. You will have to deal with issues that have never been described or covered in any book. You will have to look for the solutions and make the spontaneous decisions that no one probably has ever thought of. You will have to design your own road to success," Lukominskyi insists.
So how do you ensure you're engaged in success-enabling study rather than procrastination dressed up as learning? In short, get started on your dreams and let your actions drive your intellectual investigations.
"Stop learning by consuming. Start learning by creating. Stop learning by researching. Start learning by doing," the post advises.
Have you encountered the problem of procrastination dressed up as learning in your own life?