Jump first, fear later
When we dedicate ourselves to relentless pursuit of knowledge, are we doing it to get closer to our goals, or to keep ourselves safe from the dangers of actually doing the activities required of us to reach those goals?
It feels good to read a book about your business, job, or hobby. You gain insight and witness costly mistakes made by others without suffering the cost of making the mistakes yourself. There are endless books, periodicals, and blogs in any field that you can fill your days reading, making you an expert in the field.
If we took all the time we spend reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching videos about our business and instead spent it 'pounding the pavement' making sales, or experimented with innovation of new products, would we be further along in the growth cycle of our business?
Who would become an expert swimmer in a shorter amount of time? The person who walks up to the pool without hesitation and just jumps in, or the person who sits safely on land reading about the propulsion of the human body through water? On race day they'd both drown.
It seems that it takes a combination of real world experience with the study of those who have had success and failures in your field. Make a plan based on what you've learned and then test that knowledge in the field. Make mistakes and adjust the plan. The faster you repeat this process, the faster your business grows. Put your toe in the water, jump off the diving board, and repeat.