The Surface Area of Your Knowledge 🌈

You can’t invest in something you’re not aware of. For most of my life, I was largely unaware of the investing universe.

Stocks, real estate, the implication of new technologies…the surface area of my knowledge was not big enough, so I missed out on a lot of interesting ideas.

But even when I heard that people invested in Apple and Google stock—emerging giants that I grew up with—it never occurred to me that I could invest in them. The surface area of my knowledge was shaped by culture: go to school, work hard, get a job. That culture was a natural limiter on my curiosity.

Curiosity expands the surface area of knowledge, and openness makes it permeable, such that new ideas can flow through.

Thank goodness for books and the internet: portals to knowledge.

Reading books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and 4 Hour Workweek fueled my curiosity. But it’s perhaps the conversations with different thinkers that most expanded the surface area of my knowledge.

If it wasn’t for a previous roommate who gushed to me about the wonders of blockchain, I may have never invested in cryptocurrency. One individual blew open my investing world, forever expanding the surface area of my knowledge.

Being open to new ideas doesn’t mean you have to agree with them; it just means you’re open to considering different possibilities.

If you’re reading this right now, then you’re already an open-minded person who took a chance to read an internet stranger’s thoughts. You should feel good about yourself, because research suggests that this sort of behavior has a whole host of other benefits:

  • Blending individual and group work increases performance and creativity. The improvement comes from “exposure to others’ experience” (source)
  • Learning by observing others reduces cognitive bias, and improves decision making (source)

Talking about investing is also a way to develop a sense of conviction. If you can debate the merits of various stocks and come back expanded point of view, then you stand to develop two other investing skills: making informed, big bets and developing diamond hands when the going gets tough.

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