I think that bitcoins are a big deal. Maybe not this year or next year, but within the next five to ten years, I believe that there's a good chance that they will revolutionize online financial transactions. So I bought some a few months back with the intention of holding them for many years, selling only once each one was worth thousands of dollars.
And yet... I was obsessed with the ticker price of a bitcoin. I had a plugin for Chrome that always showed the current price at the top of the window. On my phone I had a widget to see the price at all times. For weeks, I was never more than a few dozen minutes out of date with the price.
Eventually it occurred to me that I was never going to do anything with the knowledge of the current bitcoin price. If it actually did rise to the level at which I'd be willing to sell, I'd certainly hear about it through other people. So I cut myself off. No more tickers, no more checking the price. My little stash of bitcoins remains encrypted and backed up, and I'll check the price in a couple years.
The amount of access to information that we have is extraordinary. We're so used to it that it's hard to think of it in historical perspective, but we literally have easy access to millions of times more information than people had just fifty years ago. Acquiring this knowledge feels valuable, but often really isn't.
Most smart people I know don't read the news. Why? Because it's full of information that is not actionable. You are probably not going to change the course of politics, the economy, or crime. You're probably not going to change your own life with the information, either. If there's any information in those categories that even approaches being actionable, someone will tell you about it.
It's a good idea to limit the amount of information you take in that you can't act on, but be liberal with what you allow. I know that there's zero chance I'll sell bitcoins until they're worth thousands, so I don't check that information. But I do read books on a variety of subjects because I believe that the parallels I draw from them may affect how I act. Cutting out information I definitely won't use affords me the luxury of time to learn about things that I might use.
Photo is from the Bellagio indoor garden, which is one of my favorite things in Vegas. Another favorite is the tea room at the Mandarin Oriental.
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