In this day and age of factoids, time saving gadgets, news that’s more infotainment than real news, and our harried pace of life, most of us find ourselves just skimming the surface of information, hobbies, and work skills. We absorb what we need to get by and then move on to the next thing. What gets overlooked in all this flitting around is that there is value, both financial and personal, in delving deeper into information, skills, and hobbies. While it may not seem like spending more time absorbing information and strengthening your skills can have much value, here are five ways that, “going deep” can help you.
It makes you an expert
The more you know about a topic, or the more advanced your skills are in a given area, the more valuable you are. Specialists often earn more money than generalists, particularly in occupations that require specialized skills or knowledge. Being an expert also makes you more valuable in the wider marketplace beyond your employer. Experts are often invited to speak, write books or articles, teach, or do other things that earn money. The only way to become an expert is to immerse yourself in the information or skill set of interest. Skimming the basics won’t cut it.
You get more out of what you own
When you go deep, you find yourself getting more value out of your possessions. The more you learn about cooking, for example, the more you’re likely to use all those gadgets sitting on your counters. If you learn more about carpentry, you use those tools you bought. In my case, I love boardgames. Playing a game once or twice doesn’t do much to recoup its value or to reveal all the intricacies involved in the game. Playing it more often and fully exploring it gives me the full value of the game. It’s the same with video games, books, and even movies. (Do you ever watch those bonus features that came on the DVD you bought?) When you really engage with the things you own and explore all they have to offer, you get your money’s worth.
You don’t spend as much money flitting from thing to thing
Skipping around can be expensive. If you jump from hobby to hobby without fully mastering one, you’re just tossing money around. Dabbling in the piano, then painting, then the guitar, etc. means spending a lot more money than taking the time to fully master one hobby. When you go deep and really take the time to master the skills and use the supplies you’ve bought, you usually spend less money.
You learn more about finance and issues that impact your finances
When you spend time learning about money, you become better at managing it. You may be able to get by just knowing about checking and savings accounts, but when you understand topics like investing, retirement, and insurance, you can do so much better. And the deeper you go with those topics, the better you can do. Even better, when you understand political issues or world events that can affect your money, you improve your ability to prepare and plan for your future. You don’t acquire this knowledge by flipping channels or skimming forums.
It improves your concentration
Concentration is a lost art these days, yet it is required if you want to be productive and successful. Spending the time required to upgrade your skills, study, absorb information, and become an expert can help improve you concentration which, in turn, makes learning easier. It’s a cycle too many people avoid, thinking instead that skimming is “good enough.”
Sure, we’re all pressed for time and it’s hard to carve out time to learn more skills, absorb information, or pursue our hobbies in depth. But it’s worth it in so many ways. It will help your finances, your mind, and your personal growth.
(Photo courtesy of kevygee)