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This Secret to Personal Growth Will Open the Door to Success in Life

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Is it better to know a lot about a little or to know a little about a lot? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Auren Hoffman, SafeGraph CEO, on Quora:

It is much better to be deeper in knowledge than broader.

The more you concentrate on your strengths, the faster you grow.

The power of compounding.

The power of compound interest isn’t just a phenomena in investing, it is also applicable to learning and growth. Think of everything you learn in a topic as compounding on the knowledge you have already mastered. The more you master, the more opportunities you have to go deeper and deeper. Malcolm Gladwell also discusses this knowledge growth through his 10,000 hours lens in Outliers.

Knowledge building blocks are essential to getting to the next level. If you are trying to maximize for growth, you are likely to be more successful by going deeper rather than getting broader.

The key thing is to understand an important truth that very few others understand.

The way to get escape velocity in life and career is to have a deep understanding of an important truth… and ideally be one of only a few people in the world to have such an understanding.

If you only know a little about a lot, you will unlikely be able to get to that understanding.

But this doesn’t mean you need to be the foremost expert in just one topic. You can instead focus on the join of two (or three) topics… and be the expert in that join. For instance, you can know a lot about computer science but not be an expert, and you can know a lot about dolphins but not be an expert. But when it comes to the join (Computer Science + Dolphins) you are the expert. That is powerful. You might be able to invent a new way of transmitting information because you have a good understanding of how dolphins communicate over long distances through water and you can translate that into code.

Compound, compound, compound.

Dive in. Build knowledge on top of knowledge and watch your growth compound. Of course, at any given time it will be hard to understand you are growing exponentially… so you need to have faith in the power of compound interest.

If you have a job, you want to really focus on being great at what you do. Ideally your colleagues think you are in the top 10% of people they have ever worked with… that will compound as you will keep getting more and more interesting projects to work on.

Longer hours are a hack to compounding faster.

Working longer hours isn’t necessary to growing super fast, but it will certainly help. If you are not 100% sure of your growth strategy, working long hours can be a great hack to to help you grow.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

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