“The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.” — Donald B. Calne
The Motley Fool has a way with words. Their mantra is simple — Get smart. Have fun. Make money. What I like about their focus is they teach people how to think long term and leverage proven practices for results. I also like that they share their insight in an actionable way.
I always look forward to their Motley Fool Stock Advisor because it’s some of the best copywriting I ever come across. The March 2012 edition really caught my eye:
We are All Rocket Surgeons.
What a headline. Their point is simple. We’re all intelligent and have the ability to do wildly wonderful things, if we avoid being ruled by our emotions, and if we keep it simple.
I just had to share the words and wisdom from Tom Gardner of the Motley Fool.
It’s Simple, but It’s Not Easy
When you really master something, you can usually express it simply. But expressing it simply, doesn’t make it easy, and knowing what to do, isn’t the same as doing what you know. Tom writes:
“Believe it or not, you have the requisite intelligence to be a great investor. No, you don’t need a Ph.D in finance or a handful of acronyms attached to your name. You don’t need an MBA. As legendary investor Warren Buffet put it, investing ‘is not a complicated game.” It’s simple, but it’s not easy. You have to have an emotional stability.’”
Check Your Emotions at the Door
Emotions are the juice of life. They can also be our Achilles Heel or downfall. A good metaphor is the elephant and the rider, where the elephant is the emotional side, and the rider is the rational. Tom writes:
“… I pushed to include ‘check emotions at the door’ as a key principle for investing the Stock Advisor way. So many investors out their fall prey to their emotions. As they gain some investing experience, they trade more frequently, or they dabble in penny stocks, or they take on dangerous leverage in the quest to boost their returns like the Wall Street banks do.”
The Simplest Solution is Usually the Best
Simple works. Just like how something sounds too good to be true, something that sounds too complex, usually is. Fight for simplicity and challenge yourself to know the simple truth. You can always add complexity on top, but in the words of Bruce Lee, “Hack away at the unessential.” Tom writes:
”If this sounds familiar, keep in mind a principle attributed to the 14th century Franciscan friar William of Ockham, of Occam’s Razor fame: The simplest solution is usually the best. Or consider this more contemporary and germane advice from another legend, Peter Lynch, “Never invest in any idea you can’t illustrate with a crayon.” It doesn’t get simpler than that.”
What’s the call to action here? Simple. The next time somebody says you can’t do something, challenge the assumptions. Challenge them and challenge yourself. First find the simple story. Next ask, “Is it worth it?” Finally, if it is worth it, don’t ask yourself,, “why” you can’t. Ask yourself “how” you can.