When we consume too much information daily, we may overburden our senses and burn out. Our comprehension level drops and we become less effective.
Reading is slow...
With reading we can expand our knowledge and find new worlds. But it's slow—every character we go through takes from our time. I have noticed that I can read around 150 pages per day when I'm fully concentrated and nothing disturbs me. This is my cognitive limit and I can't force myself to go faster if I want to understand properly what the text is about. By skipping pages, we also skip meaningful connections, which is a compromise.
The language in which a text is written can affect the speed of reading. For example, many words in Finnish are very long, which slows us down. On the other side, the dense Chinese characters that allow for faster reading and apprehension.
...so people prefer to scan
We can scan for more valuable content if we feel that parts of the book could have been omitted. Many authors fill in books with more pages, not necessary with better content. This quickly tires their readers and they don't have the time to finish their creations. To be more readable and maintainable, a text needs to convey the most important ideas in the fewest amount of characters. This way, both reading and scanning speeds increase and readers feel that they could find things faster.
Listening is less tiring
When we get tired of the visual perception of information—which is also the most memorable,—we aren't forced to stop growing. We could switch to auditory one to continue on our path. With podcasts being everywhere, there is now plenty to listen to. Listening also requires high concentration, but even if we miss something, we can go back and forth the timeline to replay it. Two podcast resources I found interesting are the 100 Best Small Business Podcasts 2009 and Inside Personal Growth.
Life-long learning improves our lives and can help us:
- better understand why we do particular things
- inspect ways to transfer knowledge from other fields into our area of expertise
- be aware of new trends
Switching our senses fosters a more balanced learning over the long run. But we must remember that our knowledge is there to be used and shared, otherwise we prevent other people's progress.