Skip to main content

The knowledge gap

By December 16, 2009July 11th, 2024Active Investor Psychology secrets, Uncategorized

We firstly need to understand what knowledge actually is. Many spruikers spruik that all you need is knowledge and they have the knowledge that you need to get ahead. Well I have some bad news for you, knowledge alone will not do the trick for you. There are thousands of well educated derelict people around the world.

Knowledge is the difference between being unaware of some information and being aware of it. It is merely the comprehension of some information that you didn’t comprehend before. In a sense, you create some information that is new to you by experiencing it through any of, or combination of your five senses.

This doesn’t mean that it is new to the universe or to everybody else on the planet. It has most probably existed in the universe since year dot, but you will have needed to go through the creative process to gain this knowledge for the first time, which makes it new for you.

When a new idea is created by a human being for the first time in the history of the Earth, this is an invention. There clearly have been thousands or even millions of occurrences of this over the centuries. Even so, investors merely uncover truths or combinations of truths that already exist but were not seen or known by them before.

But here comes the catch—being aware of something and applying it in your life are two very different things. It’s the application bit that causes the greatest trouble to the majority of human beings.

This is the gap between knowing and applying, or put differently, between knowing what to do and doing what you know.

The fact is that most people don’t apply new knowledge. To themselves and others around them, they appear to ‘give up’, when, in fact, they never even started in the first place. All they were doing was applying their existing knowledge—information that existed before the new knowledge came along. This is the way that our minds work. Our current beliefs, which are the caretakers or our current habits which, in turn, are the application of our current knowledge, will defend themselves to the hilt. It takes effort to change.

Being aware occurs in the conscious mind; applying awareness or knowledge occurs in the subconscious mind. The challenge for us all is to get new knowledge from our conscious to our unconscious minds at which stage it becomes a habit. Only then will new knowledge become an ongoing working part of our being. To develop a habit we must step through a process that embeds the new knowledge into us as a part of our personality, that is first nature, so it becomes effortless to use the new knowledge to achieve our objectives.

This is where sayings come from such as: ‘I tried that once and it didn’t work.’ Because it was tried a few times, people perceive that they have covered that ground and there is no need to revisit whatever they tried. Their current, maybe dysfunctional, beliefs even convince them that because they tried it once (or twice) before, they are an expert as to why it didn’t work and hence why they shouldn’t use it any more and just carry on doing what they were doing before. And carry on getting the same results as before! With the same old bad habits, beliefs and thinking patterns.

From there they move on and try the next thing that is novel to them. And so the endless loop of failure continues. Nothing will work not because there is necessarily a problem with the new knowledge but because there is a problem with the process of embedding the new knowledge into their being.

Embedding new knowledge to the habit stage requires repetition of experiences via our five senses, and this involves disciplined effort until the habit stage is reached.


  • Christopher Morgan says:

    Yes Gary, you are on the money. I work in a process based industry where many individuals get by in their day to day job roles based on what they have always known and done. For many it is just too much effort to re-educate one self on what has changed relative to a specific process method. More often than not these individuals are purely perceived as competent in their utilisation of the method which is purely “smoke and mirrors”. However when they come unstuck it is usually will considerable consequences. I can see where you are leading with this article, which is very reflective of many individuals whom make decisions based on past practice, I call this a culture that make critical decisions based on perception of what was, instead of considering what has now changed.

  • Richard Dodd says:

    I agree. It is amazing how many people do the same thing over and over and query why they don’t get a different outcome. They fail to realise that to get a different outcome they need to change the way they do things, and be accountable for that.

  • Marcadrian says:

    Nice article Gary. I like the way you explain the same concept in different ways as many of us traders know all of this stuff but love to hear it again. Perhaps that in itself is a process of moving that concious “knowledge” into the deeper parts of the brain.

  • Phil Kirk says:

    Interesting column.I see this reluctance to adopt new ideas almost every day in my line of work.People dont want to move out of their comfort zones. They wouold rather keep on performing the same process, one that they know and have used for a considerable time, instead of adopting a new approach.
    I suppose it is understandable their resistance to change a habit. The trick is to convince them it is OK to try something new and fully explore the possibilities before dismissing the whole idea. In some cases, people look for flaws in a new idea and not the positive aspects. Once a few negatives have been identified, their mission has been achieved and the whole process is scrapped.

    Have a good christmas.

Leave a Reply