We live in an age of information. If you ever found yourself nursing a headache after a long, overly-stimulated day, or feeling unable to make a simple decision in the middle of a thousand sources of input, you may be suffering from an overload of information that, without proactively filtering it ourselves, naturally crowds our lives through our many screens and media sources.
The term, information overload, was first used in Bertram Gross' 1964 book, The Managing of Organizations, where he defines it as follows: “Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur.”
The inability to make proper decisions is just one of the side effects of information overload. When it comes to receiving and applying knowledge for spiritual growth, an overload can lead to a sense of congestion and distraction, especially in the areas where truth needs time and space to sink in and dig deep roots. Sometimes we can’t always control what is being presented to us, whether through T.V. commercials, too many podcast episodes, your Facebook feed, or radio hosts, it’s wise to set some checks and balances for the type and amount of information we take in.
The Internet scholar Clay Shirky puts it well: "There's no such thing as information overload. There's only filter failure." If your filters aren’t developed and being put to use, there will always be too much to attend to, and never enough time.
Here are 8 simple ways to filter the information overload we face in our daily spiritual walk.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Robin Worrall