People are nothing if not predictable. I recently got back from a cycling vacation, the kind of thing where you eat breakfast in rural church basements and endure junior high school showers. Nothing fosters small talk like pancakes and nudity, so eventually the conversation turns from "Can you hand me the syrup/shampoo?" and moves on to the subject of employment.

After folks find out I write for the Fool, the next question -- accompanied by shifty eyes and a voice hushed down to a whisper -- is almost always, "Do you have any stock tips?"

What they want, of course, is for me to tell them about Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), but they want to hear about it before their respective little handheld devices launched their stocks toward the stratosphere. They want to hear me say, "BuyTaser (NASDAQ:TASR)" without having to listen to the bear side of the argument, something that's just plain foolish with a little "f."

They most certainly don't want me to tell them that something old and familiar like Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) looks cheap to me these days, or that I think fallen giants like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) have been unduly discounted.

But the whole growth-versus-value thing isn't the reason that my response is always the same. The reason I tell them all, "Visit and read everything you see," is that I want to help relieve people of the notion that their financial future is something that should rest on the divine Wisdom and timing of strangers, suited experts, or CNBC's screaming sideshow, Jim Cramer.

It's not that I'm opposed to giving someone a fish. I just happen to believe that the fillets should come with angling lessons. That's why we take the time to debate stocks, even our own newsletter picks like Taser and Home Depot (NYSE:HD), right out in the open. (For those keeping score, Taser and Home Depot are recommendations of our Rule Breakers and Inside Value newsletters, respectively.)

Our Foolish openness is why I'm proud to point cheap-stock lovers toward our Inside Value newsletter, where you not only get picks (and a free 30-day trial plus money-back guarantee -- click here to learn more), but also gain access to an entire community of interested, up-and-coming individual investors.

In short, we Fools believe that we can outperform the market, but we also believe that you can too. But the only way that's going to happen is if you take the steps to learn how to earn. In other words, you need to fill your brain before your investments will fill your wallet. No one cares more about making you wealthy and happy than you do, so take the time to invest in yourself, and soon enough, you'll be the one people will be hitting up for stock tips.

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Seth Jayson thinks pancakes taste better when they've flown at least 10 feet prior to arriving on your plate. At the time of publication, he had no financial position in any company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.