The easiest advice to give to someone, yourself included, is to read more. Read more books, do a course, study more. It is a no-brainer advice.

The problem is that reading feels very productive, and unless you actively try to make a dent in the real world, it is no better than playing video games. Sure, it feels good, and it makes you feel smarter. To be fair, it does make you smarter; reading generally improves your understanding of the world. But it comes with hidden costs and two big risks.

First, it creates a bias towards inaction. It can create a negative feedback loop where you are never ready to act, because you don’t know enough. I was reading an interview of Pavel Zhovner, one of the founders of flipper zero where he was talking about this exact phenomenon. He was describing how many friends of his get ‘stuck’ in this endless studying/reading mode and never move forward. The interview was in Russian and I can’t find the link now, so just take my word for it. This observation really resonated with me, and the point was passed through even over google translate.

Another hidden cost is that you can get too influenced by the opinions of others. You become a consumer and learn to depend on other minds to form yours. Influences and inspiration are great things and core in every creative endeavour, but if left unchecked, they are going to deteriorate your creative abilities, not grow them stronger. I still remember reading an interview from Taf Lathos, a very creative Greek musician, saying that he doesn’t read many books (or if at all, guess what, I can’t find the link so you’ll have to take my word again). At first, I found that admission very perplexing. Then I realized the cost that this artist was trying to avoid, i.e. the cost of losing his originality.

I’ve read/heard more people, especially in the art domain, to follow a similar strategy. Another greate example is Marco Pierre White, who has said that he doesn’t eat at other chefs’ restaurants.

I wouldn’t go as far as denouncing reading. As the popular maxim advices, ‘Παν μέτρον άριστον’ - everything in moderation. Just remember to bias towards action.