# How to choose your sources and inputs To achieve great results, you need to carefully choose your sources and inputs. This applies to many domains. The popular [[Garbage in, Garbage out (GIGO)]] expression certainly applies here. If you consume low-quality information, then you won't learn much, the concepts will remain obscure and unclear, and you won't be able to do much with what you've learned. [[Consuming low-quality information can be just as harmful as eating unhealthy food]]. The information you consume heavily influences what you think and believe. So be careful. [[Mahatma Gandhi]] and [[Buddha]] agree about this: - [[We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think]] — [[Buddha]] - [[A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes]] — [[Mahatma Gandhi]] Filter out, and eliminate bad content. Watch out for [[Cognitive bias]] such as [[Confirmation bias]], [[Narrative fallacy]], [[Coherence bias]]. Avoid [[False arguments]]. Avoid the [[Dunning-Kruger effect]], uncover the unknowns in front of you. Keep in mind that whenever you consume a piece of content, you're giving authority to the authors. Don't give authority lightly, because it *will* impact you. [[If you don't control what you choose to consume, you lose control over your thoughts]]. Consider that social media platforms have their own incentives, and those are not aligned with yours. Their goal is to grab your attention for as long as possible. Select more valuable sources. Increase the [[Signal to noise ratio]]. Your goal is to set the bar higher. Consume more *intentionally*. Apply the [[Pareto Principle]], and focus on the 20% of content that will provide you with 80+% of the value. You can keep track of the valuable sources you find by using an RSS reader such as Feedly or Raindrop, and adding the RSS feeds of those sites, so that you know about their new content. Creating your own feeds helps a lot to regain your [[Freedom of thought]]. Luckily, many sites still publish RSS feeds. Be wary of fresh information. Keep the [[Law of staleness]] in mind. If you can find solid references that have stood the test of time (e.g., wisdom from ancient philosophers such as [[Socrates]], [[Aristotle]] or [[Marcus Aurelius]]), then it's probably a safer choice for information consumption. [[In something new, there is always a level of opacity that only time can dissipate]]. [[Time is a cleaner]]. Focus on things that stood the [[Test of time]]. Cfr [[Lindy effect]]. With that in mind, a valuable skill that you should develop is your ability to differentiate between "perishable" and "timeless" information. In addition, you should be able to figure out who the experts are, where they hang out, where they publish information, etc. You want to learn from experts and from top-level references (i.e, what everyone is referring to and citing). Next up, focus on content created by small creators, indie bloggers. Many of those want to share their passion, which has often led them to acquire valuable knowledge and insights. Explore X (Twitter) to discover those. Another angle to better choose the information you consume is to identify your [[12 favorite questions or problems]]. If you know the most important things you want to learn more about, explore, or solve, then it will be much easier for you to select the right information to consume. When it comes to books, don't overthink it, and don't pressure yourself needlessly. Let your current projects and goals guide you, but always follow your curiosity. It will lead you to interesting places. A few sanity checks: - Did it pass the [[Test of time]]? - Is it well documented (i.e., does it list its references) - Is the author objective and unbiased? - Did multiple persons recommend that book?