What is the cryptocurrency enthusiast mantra?
No, it’s not HODL. The ultimate cryptocurrency enthusiast mantra is “Do Your Own Research” (DYOR). This simple phrase is far more complicated than it appears. “DYOR” is used frequently in cryptocurrency debates to assign responsibility to the individual for making investment decisions. For example, it is common to see some form of this warning to new investors “if you don’t DYOR, you are responsible if you invest in a scam project.”
The problem with the DYOR concept in cryptocurrency presently is that it assumes the consumer has access to third-party reviewed/created information on the investment project in question. On the contrary, the proliferation of content marketing in the cryptocurrency industry has created a glut of advertorial content that dominates page after page of Google search results. Additionally, DYOR requires a critical thinking mindset, which is not natural for everyone and may require training.
This is where regulatory authorities will usually step in to ensure that consumers have the information needed to make informed investment decisions. In the absence of comprehensive cryptocurrency regulation, DYOR can only be approached as an exploration into the unknown – where sources are suspect, information is manipulated, and the outcome is never as expected. Fun, right!?
These three steps will up your DYOR game if you put in the work:
- Empty your cup
- Get to know what you don’t know
- Think critically
Step 1: Empty Your Cup
You are a unique person, with a lifetime of experiences leading up to this very moment.
That is your biggest obstacle in DYOR.
“By the time we reach adulthood we are so full of information that we don’t even notice it’s there. We might consider ourselves to be open-minded, but in fact, everything we learn is filtered through many assumptions and then classified to fit into the knowledge we already possess.”
Each of us has developed a series of biases, opinions, and feelings based on our collected life experiences. Great DYOR begins by recognizing your own biases and identifying your learning opportunities. In order to do this, you must Empty Your Cup.
The “Empty Cup” fable invokes the image of a wise teacher counselling an eager student who has become frustrated with a perceived lack of progress. The teacher hands the student a cup, then fills it with tea. The student is perplexed when the teacher allows the tea to overflow the cup. Stop, the cup is full!
The teacher explains that the student’s mind is like that cup, with no room for new information. Nothing the teacher tells the student at this point will be absorbed. The cup must be emptied before more tea can be poured and consumed. Likewise, the student needed to “empty” their mind of preconceived notions of progress.
Are you willing to empty your cup?
Step 2: Get to Know What You Don’t Know
DYOR operates on the “get to know what you don’t know” premise. This is an uncomfortable form of thinking for some people, especially those with “know-it-all” personalities.
When presented with the unknown, it is crucial to set any preconceived judgements aside. Instead of approaching a DYOR effort in support of a position, find every way possible to question the position.
“Step away from your desk and do something, see something, read something or listen to something that has nothing to do with your work. Do something that has nothing to do with what you know.”
Consider the many perspectives that exist, and ask questions from those views to the best of your ability. Reach out to others who may offer different perspectives on the questions to ask. In the process of formulating these questions, you will begin to find those things that you do not know. Some of these things you do not need know, others will rise to the top of your research list.
Step 3: Think Critically
Once you have “emptied your cup” and figured out what you don’t know, you are ready to analyze information critically, recognizing that both you and your sources are impacted by bias.
“People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked.”
Fundamentally, critical thinking recognizes that humans are subject to bias and that we must take these biases into account when analyzing information from other humans.
The Foundation of Critical Thinking summarizes critical thinkers as someone who:
- Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely.
- Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards.
- Thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences.
- Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
How many of these describe you? Or, better yet, how do you know if you are no longer thinking critically about a topic? Heightened emotions are an indicator! If you are passionate about something, you may have a hard time separating feelings from facts. The moment you feel the need to defend a position, you will want to check your ego and bias.
It is impossible to perfectly DYOR in the cryptocurrency industry at this moment. The best a person can do is gather information, assess the sources, analyze the data and make somewhat educated decisions. Before you begin the DYOR process, make sure to take these three steps: empty your cup, get to know what you don’t know, and think critically.