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Millions rank the Internet right up there with canned beer, sliced bread, and automatic transmissions.
I think it's the single biggest impediment to profitable investing in the history of mankind.
Never mind all the false news that's making headlines lately – pun absolutely intended – or even the acerbic nature of it. The Internet is simply overwhelming.
There's so much information that many investors are hopelessly confused about what to do next let alone how find profitable investments.
If you're one of 'em, you're not alone. And, you've come to the right place.
What Really Works on Wall Street
If you're of a certain age like I am, chances are you recall futurist Alvin Toffler's groundbreaking 1970 book, "Future Shock," in which he addressed the concept of "information overload" and popularized the notion that huge amounts of information can overwhelm our own limited cognitive processing capacity.
Back then, the average person was subjected to around 500 video, audio, and print ads a day. Now, the figure may top 20,000 exposures a day, which represents a staggering 3,900% increase. It's a sensory assault in the purest sense of the term.
There's simply no way you're going to absorb but a fraction of what you see – and here's the kicker – even if you go looking for it.
That makes investing especially problematic these days.
Contrary to what legions of diligent multitaskers believe, studies show that your brain cannot register really important data when you're hit from all sides by unrelated information – the search you just ran on high dividend producers, a joke from your buddy, the note from your children about an upcoming school play.
One way to deal with this is to limit the use of technology. Experts like London School of Economics Professor Paul Dolan suggest turning off your smart phone a few hours a day. But that doesn't do much for the laptop, your desktop, or the constant "crawlers" you see invading every television screen.
Another is to learn how to "drive" the information superhighway. Companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) are trying to teach their employees how to navigate the relentless cycle of information, but have done very little to address the fact that some people measure self-importance by sending out emails you just "have" to answer… off time or not.
Still a third is to have the filtering done for you.
Google, for example, is working ruthlessly to simplify its searches, which is a lesson in irony considering I just got 3.86 million results in .00005 seconds when I googled "information overload." Never mind the privacy invasion that has to happen in order to make this possible.
Not to get too literal here, but there's a reason your smartphone is 18X dirtier than a public toilet seat. We're being hit with so much information today that many people find the only moment they have to themselves is when they're doing their business.…
About the Author
Keith Fitz-Gerald has been the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Morning team since 2007. He's a seasoned market analyst with decades of experience, and a highly accurate track record. Keith regularly travels the world in search of investment opportunities others don't yet see or understand. In addition to heading The Money Map Report, Keith runs High Velocity Profits, which aims to get in, target gains, and get out clean, and he's also the founding editor of Straight Line Profits, a service devoted to revealing the "dark side" of Wall Street... In his weekly Total Wealth, Keith has broken down his 30-plus years of success into three parts: Trends, Risk Assessment, and Tactics – meaning the exact techniques for making money. Sign up is free at totalwealthresearch.com.