Generally, being diversified is something you associate with investment strategies. Jim Cramer on Mad Money runs a segment where he asks the question “Am I diversified?” Rightly so, being diversified affords you protection. Diversifying means that as an investor you create a portfolio that will shield you and provide a maximum amount of protection without exposing you to excessive risk and still have plenty of upside potential. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?
“Cover all five bases, and you’ll have a portfolio that can win in any market.”
What does being diversified have to do with living a happy life?
It has everything to do with it! Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in the one basket”? Why don’t you do that? Because if something happens to that one basket, you are up “You know what creek” without a proverbial paddle. We don’t apply this logic to our lives even if we do apply it to our finances.
What would happen if we did?
What basket are all your eggs in metaphorically speaking?
We all lead busy lives. As life gets busier it can also tend to get narrower and the people you interact with become fewer. Who do you spend most of your time with? Human beings are social animals wired for connection. Part of our self-esteem is derived from our relationships. If you spend almost all of your time with your work colleagues what happens when you move? If you spend all of your social time with your partner and family without investing time and energy outside your familial circle what happens when they are no longer around? You will feel isolated and alone. Self-esteem alert! Make a point of expanding your social circle so you are not so heavily dependent on any one individual.
Shift up your experiences
Have you noticed that almost every platform from Amazon to Pandora to Netflix uses software to analyse your purchases. They then use this software to make ‘helpful’ suggestions as to what you might like to read, what music you might want to listen to and what movies and TV series you would be interested in based on your purchasing history. That’s all well and good. It is fast and efficient and it pretty much guarantees that you will be warm to their suggestions. Here is the downside of that. You begin to exist in a world that gives you more and more of the same.
This in turn means your life’s a lot of the same, same. Where is the opportunity for growth? Think about it. As babies and children we are exposed to a myriad of people, subjects and skills. As adults and particularly in today’s environment the learning slows dramatically unless you seek it out. No growth is akin to stagnation.
Diversify the types of people you hang out with
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
What gives life its richness and its texture is variety. Take a look at the people you associate with it, whether they be at your work, your local pub, Church, or clubs you are a member of. What is the level of diversity there? If you have similar backgrounds, racial profiles, age groups you will have a high chance of having your life experience mirrored back to you. From there it is a short step to living in an echo chamber where your ideas are agreed with rather than challenged and you can become out of touch with everyone and everything outside your reality bubble.
Here is a challenge if you are up for it…
- Read something you would not ordinarily read or go to a genre of film that you have never considered.
- Tune into a radio station that has a play list that is alien to you.
- Take up a hobby that is left field for you.
- Plan your next holiday in a culture that you have very little understanding of.
Become diversified across your life today! Why? It will expose you to different ideas and ways of living and expose you to a life and realities beyond your own. It will broaden your horizons and shake up your thinking. Best of all it will also make you a more empathetic person and God knows the world could certainly do with more of that.