Thoughts about being Number 1
John seemed concerned that I’d feel bad because his totals were higher than mine. But that’s not what this is all about. It’s not a game where there is just one winner. We can all be winners. The goal is not to have the best record. Not even…not even, to beat a benchmark like the S&P. The goal is to be successful, to make enough money at investing to support your family eventually and be able to purchase the goods and services that you need in life. I have never dreamed that I’d be the best investor in the world, or the most successful. Worrying about that will make you crazy. I just want to be a good, successful, investor.
This is something I learned when I went away to college. In high school I was 3rd in my class of 800 students and I really felt at the top of the totem pole. But then in college I discovered that there were always students who were much smarter than I was, no matter how smart I was. For example, I remember my chemistry class that was marked on a curve. This means there was a bell shaped curve with a long tail, and beyond a certain point on the tail you got an A. They posted everyone’s score and the cut off points. I might get an A on an exam, but there were other students who were so much further along on the curve than I was that they had to understand what we were being taught on an entirely different level than me. They were super-A’s. It was the same in all my courses. There were always students who were better than me at every subject. And I graduated with an A- average. I learned that I didn’t have to be “best”. I didn’t have to get the highest A. I just had to get an A.
You can think of possessions the same way. There will always be someone with more money, a bigger and better house, a nicer wedding ring, a more exciting vacation, whatever. Don’t sweat it. It doesn’t matter. Happiness isn’t getting what you think you want. Happiness is being content with what you have - on the way to possibly getting what you think you want. It’s today you want to be happy, not in the future. The future never gets here. It’s always today. And it’s guaranteed, if you get the biggest and best house around, the next week you’ll discover someone with a bigger and better house.
Just my musings for the day.
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In will add one more thing that holds for me at least. It should be fun. I could make larger stock market profits by adding methodologies that bore me to tears. But I don’t like being bored
The one thing I know for sure is that I have a finite amount of time in this world (probably not too long at my age) in which to enjoy life. Time spent drooling into my oatmeal at a nursing home or in chronic severe discomfort or pain from a terminal disease doesn’t count.
I no longer even keep track of profits as a percentage.
Why bother. If I have had a year in which I bought everything I really wanted to buy, was reasonably healthy, and had more money at the end of the year than when I started the year, that’s a good year. That’s all I care about.
And I agree happiness isn’t getting all you want. That would be very boring, nothing to look forward to. Always wanting “more” is a kind of disease of the psyche.
All smart people sooner or later reach a level where they realize they are no longer the smartest guy in the room. As more and more of the global population gets the opportunity and education to realize their abilities that will happen sooner and sooner… Fortunately to be a successful investor you don’t have to be the sharpest pencil in the box, just not a broken one.
It’s not a game where there is just one winner. We can all be winners. The goal is not to have the best record. Not even…not even, to beat a benchmark like the S&P. The goal is to be successful, to make enough money at investing to support your family eventually and be able to purchase the goods and services that you need in life.
Very well said! While I think I do okay, I KNOW that I’m not the best investor. I frequent your board because I have a lot to learn and there’s a lot of great information posted here. I really, REALLY appreciate the way you and others, such as golongWpicks and nevercontent, freely share information. Seeing how you and others analyze companies and the rationale behind what you do is very helpful. YES, we can all be be winners and help each other be winners.
I cannot thank you and everyone else here enough!
Great post! Keeping up with myself is a hard enough job without worrying about someone else. My experience has been that the ones with the latest and greatest tend to spend beyond their means anyway so I am not the least bit jealous. I will take learning to be a decent nvestor and leave best investor to others and not be disaapointed.
My name is Gigi and I am a professional lurker; this is my first post on this board but I have been around since late April. I wanted to take the time to thank you and the other great minds here for all their time and patience with sharing their knowledge. I have lots to learn I and I am VERY appreciative guys.
Best post I’ve read on any board in a long time.
Best post I’ve read on any board in a long time. Fletch
Thanks Fletch, That’s really nice of you to say. I appreciate it.
What a post Saul. Brilliant. I need to read this at least once a month. Tanks for a truly great post.
What a post Saul. Brilliant. I need to read this at least once a month. Thanks for a truly great post.
Wow, Chandra, I don’t know what to say. Thanks so much!
My name is Gigi and I am a professional lurker; this is my first post on this board… I wanted to take the time to thank you and the other great minds here for all their time and patience with sharing their knowledge. I have lots to learn I and I am VERY appreciative guys.
glad to have you on the board, Gigi. Now that you’ve broken the ice, don’t be afraid to comment or ask a question.
Good post, Saul. You’re right, of course. A good life is not worrying about being ‘Number 1’, while trying to stay out of the ‘Number 2’.
For me, what John and Saul have demonstrated is that each of us can take our interest in investing and improving the lives of ourselves (and families)…and be successful! And all of this interaction and sharing makes it fun as well. We are all a part of a tribe of improving our lives.
I also am especially interested in investing smartly, because like Gigi - I’m female. This is the one area in my professional life that I’ve found that my personal contributions directly determine my pay or income. I don’t have to encounter a pay gap - it’s all upon my shoulders.
John’s comparison prompted me to examine my own results. I have beaten the S&P 11 out of the last 13 years; some by a little, some by a lot. And that’s before I began to follow “my new found tribe” of Saul’s board, SA Options, and MFO.
I’m confident that each of us can take this common interest, add our own personal twist, be successful, have fun, and make a difference in the lives of others. Thanks to all of your for contributions - we all have much to learn and share.
A personal shout-out to Saul for embarking and creating this wonderful board!
Great and thoughtful post. Thanks Tracy