Information Overload and Frictionless Mastery

The dilemma


I face something of a dilemma in creating an information product and promoting it online.

On the one hand, my product is simple and timeless: a set of universal methods and principles that facilitate frictionless language learning at any level of proficiency. 

On the other hand, Internet algorithms currently favor sites that produce a steady stream of new content. Most of my successful online colleagues are on a never-ending treadmill of producing new content on a near-daily basis.
In the language learning business this might look like this:

"Check out this cool new app that helps with language learning!"
"10 Top Tips for Travelers"
"Video of me talking to strangers in French while in France"
"How I Fund My Travels"
"How to get the most out of [X] language learning website"
"I thought you would like this cool video"

Internet algorithms encourage this behavior, even though it is potentially destructive both to the producer and the consumer. Both can easily get caught up in dopamine-triggering activities which are antithetical to Deep Work: an impulsive tweet here, a random video view there, an email and Facebook check here, a skimmed blogpost there. 

The most clever content producers actually live a life of highly protected, undistracted deep work while managing to produce a steady stream of new content that may hinder deep work in their readers. 

Truth:

1. Producing distracting new content is one of the primary keys to online success.
2. Distractibility, or lack of focus, is the antithesis of mastery.

So here is my dilemma: how do I promote tools to help others focus deeply, as I have, on language acquisition, without becoming yet another source of distraction for those I am trying to reach? 

My ideal reader


My ideal reader is not someone who is hooked on my content and keeps coming back for more. This would be a direct violation of my own language learning principle of "a 3:1 ratio of practice to study." To get anywhere in language learning, you must finally stop your search and start learning by doing. I don't want to deceive readers by producing content which appears to offer something novel that might reignite their search. This is what the Internet is all about these days, and content producers exploit this.

My ideal reader finds themself intrigued by something I've written or said online or offline, spends at most several hours reading and reflecting, and immediately starts implementing my recommendations in practice.

At this point, what more do I have to give my ideal reader? Hopefully nothing. 

Some readers, however, might be "close to ideal," but just need a bit of additional encouragement or explanation. They might need a reminder or a kick in the butt from time to time to get them back on track. They might need a bit of inspiration from people who are clearly on the path to mastery. They might have specific question on methodology that they need guidance on. They might benefit from a language immersion camp or a workshop.

I want to help these readers, too. But I also want my readers to internalize a few basic principles so deeply that they will not need someone to hold them by the hand and pretend to help them while milking them for clicks or money. 

The solution as I see it


I hope to observe the following principles in my content production:

- continuously refer back to basic principles
- provide illustrative examples of basic principles and methods
- inspire others to pursue mastery

And what I want to avoid is:

- posting for the sake of posting
- overcomplicating things
- adding content without showing its connection to basic principles

This will take discipline on my part. If you feel I haven't kept my own standards, you can help me out by writing me at frictionlessmastery@gmail.com and explaining why. 

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(c) 2016-2017 Richard DeLong.