Growing with Jesus – Intro: Information Overload!

As we blaze trails into the future, we are becoming more and more connected with each other and the concept of the ‘personal brand’ is growing. For those who have not heard of this term, it is when a person brands themselves as an expert in a particular field using their name as the brand. Examples are with financial coach Dave Ramsey, business consultant Brian Tracy, and motivational legend Zig Ziglar. These names have come to mean more than just the opinions of one particular individual—they stand for ideals that have become greater than any of them would have dreamed at the beginning. (Jesus also had a ‘personal brand’ but He approached the concept from a completely different angle than we do today.)

With the growth and boom of the personal brand, primarily fueled by the Internet revolution, we are seeing information becoming more and more readily available as each new person is bringing a unique take on their field of specialty. This information age revolution is wonderful; however, it also has some dark sides as well.

With the growth of information’s availability, we need to find ways to wade through the sea of information to find the information we are looking for. In the realm of the Internet, search engines have done the majority of the heavy lifting, and they do their best to find the best sources of information for what we are looking for, but even a simple Google search will yield millions of results.

As the world shrinks while the population grows, the personal brand will both transform and clutter our lives further.

The dilemma we see when we look at the ocean of information is that it can easily consume us and we look similar to a deer, paralyzed and staring into the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. With the wealth of information comes the lack of time. With the lack of time comes burnout and with burnout comes depression.

There are ways to curb the negative trend. We’ve even talked about several of them. Regular periods of rest are vital—more so today than ever in history. Discerning how you actually spend your time is another way to curb the negative effects of this trend—when you feel as though your time has been used wisely, you will be less likely to feel guilty over time wasted.

However, with the information, talents, and knowledge we have been given, we must actually find appropriate outlets to use these gifts we have been entrusted with. Like a river becomes a lake if given an open are to fill, the same lake will become contaminated with bacteria and algae if not given an outlet to channel its water into. In other words, we must recognize the skills we have, and learn how to apply them in our lives to help others otherwise we will become stagnant.

This can directly tie into the area of information too. With more and more people, myself to some extent included, building personal brands, the temptation is to become an ‘info-holic’ (someone who is addicted to gathering information). On the low end of the spectrum is the person who has to be included and be a ‘hub’ for all things ‘gossip’ related. On the upper end of the spectrum is someone who must have all their questions answered, all the problems solved, and all issues dealt with before committing to anything. One end is shallow talk; the other end is paralysis of will.

In the past few years, I have seen some of this played out in my own life. I’ve read many books, subscribed to lots of newsletters, and learned countless new pieces of information, however I had no outlet to channel this growing lake of information. I soon began ignoring 90% of the new content that was being delivered my way—primarily because I didn’t have the time, energy, or motivation to actually do anything with it.

How does one actually solve this problem? As we have mentioned earlier, rest and discernment are ways of moderating the severity of the issue, however, another way is actually the personal brand—and we can see the converging of technology, our internal need to be valued and loved, and the overwhelming wave of information creating the perfect climate for this to seed to grow.

But while personal brands are growing in popularity, the quality of the majority of the content they provide will decline. This brings back to the focus a need for discernment. Everyone has an opinion, and opinions, while they feel completely valid to each individual, can be based on ideas that are separate from facts. To protect our minds from overload, especially as we blaze ahead into the unknown, connected with our neighbors, and information rich future, we must pre-decide what we are going to stand on and return to as an anchor to test the validity of the information. For me—and for the future of this newsletter—the anchor will be the Bible that we believe is God’s word and one of the ways that He has revealed himself to us.

Following the release of this newsletter, I am planning to take a look at much of the content I have subscribed too and scale back—not because the content isn’t good or simply because I don’t have the time, but because my energy and effort is better used building a solid outlet for the information that I value. I want to spend energy gathering information that supports the Bible’s teachings, and sharing positive and uplifting concepts that have the power to transform our lives for Jesus.

In the coming weeks of this newsletter, we will spend time helping each of us craft a solid connection to the anchor of the Bible. The ocean of information is vast, but with the Bible as both our anchor and our compass, we can navigate our slice of history and become the men and women that we were created to be!


P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!