How much does the media influence you? Go to CNN, Fox News, the Huffington Post, Facebook, turn on the radio, and you will hear all about the crazy things going on in this world. You’ll get distracted with news of ISIS, election recounts, cop killings and stock market crashes. Everywhere you go you are hit with pieces of information. How much data are you taking in every day? Different sources have opposing agendas and people are left searching for what is the truth. If you don’t rise above the noise, you will be left skeptical and confused.
I was recently online at CNBC looking on the topic of mortgages and on one single web page I saw six different subject lines about mortgages. There was conflicting data, with one headline saying mortgage applications dropped while another headline said they were creeping up. One headline said homebuyers were pulling back while another headline proclaimed there is a home buying surge. Conflicting data is everywhere. This doesn’t just happen in opposing mediums -- you often get conflicting pieces of data in the same exact place.
The middle class trusts headlines. The whole idea of “knowledge is power” fails to take into account the power of conflicting "knowledge''. You have to challenge where you get your information. In the new internet world that we live in, getting data isn’t the problem. The problem is too much data and too much wrong data. Knowledge is power, but what if the knowledge is wrong? Why do people give up on learning? I don’t believe it is laziness or being too comfortable. People become skeptical because they’ve received so much incorrect information that has failed them.
There's never been more content -- books, ebooks, podcasts, TV, radio, internet, apps -- than in 2016. You can read and listen to just about anything. It seems that the more information out there, the dumber people get. Have you been noticing that? Why is this? With so much information available, why are people not smarter today than 30 years ago? If there is one thing true in 2016, it’s the fact that smart phones have not made people smarter.
Most people go to school for 17 years and learn nothing, except when they learn a bunch of things that they will later need to unlearn. When you remove false knowledge, answers are still there. The middle class has false data on ideas about buying a home, college, debt, jobs, how to make money and how to invest -- just to name a few. Get an education, buy a house, a penny saved is a penny earned -- all of these ideas come from the influences in your life that taught you how you should act in the world.
Here are two truths about knowledge:
1. Wrong data distorts
Think of receiving information as putting on a pair of glasses. The right pair lets you see clearly, but if you put on someone else’s prescription glasses, it completely distorts the world around you. The wrong glasses prevent you from seeing things how they really are. Looking at it financially speaking, an understanding of what glasses you are wearing is the first step to getting out of the middle class. Too many people have the wrong pair of glasses on, so their view of the world is distorted. Choose your glasses wisely.
2. The data you have will influence your actions.
The information you have serves as a mental steering wheel that moves you where you believe you should go. If you are what you eat, aren’t you also what you choose to watch, read, and listen to? People should be just as careful with the media they consume as they are with the food they eat. Just as downing a few doughnuts is going to make you feel differently than eating vegetables, different pieces of information is going to influence your mind. How you think is how you act.
When it comes to your money, if you aren’t happy with your income level, its because you have wrong information. If you had the right information, you’d already be a millionaire. If you want to increase your income, you need to start looking at the world differently. Most people see money as a scarce thing when in reality there is abundance everywhere. People think a 40-hour work week is normal and that they deserve frequent holidays. If you wear the same glasses as the middle class, then trust me, you will stay in the middle class.
You don’t need to be confused when it comes to money, investing, and creating massive amounts of wealth for you and your family. I went from broke at 25 to hecta-millionaire today and you can do the same. I know if I can, you can. You just need the right data. Knowledge is power, but knowledge isn’t power if it leaves you confused. This is why you must filter your data intake.
Start reading and studying people who have what you want to have. Who do you read? Who do you study? You get information from either legitimate or illegitimate sources, and just because someone wrote a book doesn’t mean you need to get their advice. Don’t read 30 books from 30 different people -- that will make you confused. Be selective about where you get advice from and read everything from one or two people. Go deep before going wide.
My personal rule is never to take advice from a quitter. If a woman has quit on relationships, don’t take advice from her on relationships. She thinks all men are pigs because she has some false data. I would never take advice from my father on health issues because he let himself go in that area and his heart blew up in his chest. There are too many people out there giving data to others about things they know nothing about. This is why there is so much confusion and skepticism.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by Entrepreneur.com.ph.