Information Is Cheap, Action Is Expensive

Remember how understandable it was to be late 20 years ago? It wasn’t like the world will collapse if you’re late 5 minutes. There were no cell phones. If we had to meet you, and you were late, we first assumed that you simply forgot. After more than 15 minutes, we simply decided that you didn’t want to meet us anymore and think of a way to sort this out this next time we meet. And then went on with our lives.

20 years ago, if you wanted to go from point A to point B, you had to rely much more on action, than on information. Action meant to just start and see how you’re doing later on. Get on that train and figure it out while you’re on it. Get on a bus and negotiate your arrival later. Just be out there somehow. Action was the cheapest merchandise out there. Everybody had it and used it.

Information, on the other side, was very expensive. To know a lot of stuff was a ridiculously difficult task. Most of the time, information was confined within thick walls, like libraries or laboratories. And if it wasn’t that, it was distance. It was very difficult for you to visually experience a tea ceremony, for instance. Because the information had a very slow propagation speed. There was no internet. Only TV, printed papers and books. All very, very slow in spreading information.

Now, things are completely different. We know everything we need to know about point B, but, most of the time, we’re unwilling to foster the necessary resources to get there. Information is no longer confined within thick walls, we can learn everything we want about everything we can imagine. Yet, we almost never get on a bus, ready to negotiate our arrival later on.

In a strange and almost imperceptible way, action became prohibitive to us. Information is everywhere, but the ability to act on it is almost a dream. It’s all backwards now. Information is extremely accessible, while action seems to became the most expensive merchandise in the world. We seldom take real action on what we want. We spend our lives processing and consuming incredibly high amounts of information, but we almost never take action on what we know.

For instance, it’s very easy to spot an opportunity business now. You have the internet and most of the time, all you have to do to get some information is to google it. You can verify if somebody else already implemented your ideas in minutes. 20 years ago this was basically impossible. We have lower risk barriers now. Yet, we don’t take the necessary action to actually make it happen.

I experienced this on a few levels, but the most visible is by far the business level. I meet very often with young entrepreneurs, and they’re telling me their brilliant ideas. Some of them even have presentation skills. Some of the even have enthusiasm. But almost none of them has the guts to actually implement that idea. Most of the time, they mask their inability to take action behind the “we need seed money” excuse. But even if they get seed money, they don’t have the necessary internal resources to make the best out of their business idea.

The incessant race towards more and more information drastically affected our ability to act. And if I would be a tabloid journalist, I would write now a very strong sentence about the end of the world. Luckily, I’m not a tabloid journalist, so I will just write this: it’s an incredible opportunity, folks! While others are spending their lives watching that twitter stream, you can start a real life conversation with a potential business partner. Just go ahead and do it! It won’t cost you more time or resources than any of those dozens of meaningless – yet incredibly rewarding from a psychological point of view – interactions on Facebook you have anyway. Instead of reading blogs (including this one) just go ahead and DO something with your life. Your action doesn’t need to be perfect. On the contrary, even if you screw things up, you may end up in a much better position than those who are not even screwing their life up.

From an economical point of view, the value of information is constantly degrading. Information is cheap and not only it gets cheaper to be consumed, but it also gets cheaper and cheaper to be produced.

On the other side, the value of action is keep getting higher and higher. The harder it gets to find a product or a service on the market, the higher its price. Action, any action you may be able to create, it’s now more rewarding than information.

There is only one exception to this rule, and that is this very article. The information you got from it it’s very precious. 😉 Now go out there and DO something about it!

15 thoughts on “Information Is Cheap, Action Is Expensive”

  1. you couldn’t have written a more useless article …nothing has changed over the years . The proportions are the same as they were 20 years ago and this is how they will remain in the future

  2. really enjoying your blog, thx. i might add my time is more expensive regardless if i’m getting information or in action. how do we create or find information that others don’t have with so much available?

  3. Hi Dragos,
    Nice article. There is loads of information available today on any topic under the sun. Getting information is pretty easy but taking action on it, pushing yourselves out of your comfort zone is really difficult. I think this is what differentiates successful people from the ordinary folks. They take action, lots of it.

  4. It’s funny, as a whole industry has grown up around providing info products. I’d be curious to know the number of people that buy them but never get around to implementing them, or find it too complicated, etc. But they still might buy the next “short cut” info product nonetheless!

    And I have make a confession, I also have one or two products still waiting for me to go through – let alone implement!

  5. To give a historical figure’s account of what Carolyn and your article talks about, Teddy Roosevelt said the best thing you can do in a situation is the right thing, the second best is the wrong thing, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all. Very nice article! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hi Dragos– I’m enjoying checking out your blog and I loved this part of your post: “Your action doesn’t need to be perfect. On the contrary, even if you screw things up, you may end up in a much better position than those who are not even screwing their life up.”

    I was an interweb spectator for a long time– and now I’m taking the advice to just participate, even if it’s messy and imperfect– and the rewards are beautiful. My relationships with other bloggers have grown through my use of twitter and of commenting on other blogs now to the point that I’m making skype appointments to talk to them– it feels amazing to have the support of people on the other side of the globe.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. 😉

  7. Couldn’t agree more. The more information we seem to get /provide the more stuck in analysis paralysis we seem to become. Digital distractions themselves do a good job in providing food for the procrastinate in all of us, but the act/art of just moving forward with purpose and passionate enthusiasm seems all to rare. Myself included. Great post. Thanks.


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