Charting Change with Course Corrections

Slowly but surely chipping away at my Pocket queue, I came across an article entitled "If You're Too Busy for These 5 Things, Your Life is More Off Course Than You Think."  An article combining mindfulness with aviation was pretty much custom written for me!

At times in my career, I've been very frustrated by the "busyness" of business, as I've often found that my best work comes when I have chunks of time to tune out the world and really focus on a project.

The flickering ticks of the markets, as well as people and projects that demand attention, can distract you from giving your full focus and best effort to your most important responsibilities.

Here are three quotes from the article and how I would relate them to improving your relationship with your past, present, and future.

"Research has repeatedly found that when behavior is tracked and evaluated, it improves drastically."

On the golf course, I often find myself saying, "OK- new hole, new opportunity!"  Perhaps the best thing I could do is spend a few minutes thinking about my last shot that ended up in the bunker and how I can avoid that next time.  But no, it's way more fun to move on to the next hole and another opportunity for glory.

As investors, we love to ignore the past and focus more on the excitement of the present and the promise of the future.  How often do you review your worst call/trade/recommendation/investment over the last six months?  When do you look through your misses and see how you can upgrade your toolkit and improve your chances for outperformance?

Even the most successful stock jockeys have made some pretty bad investments at times.  The investors I respect the most are the ones that acknowledge their mistakes and really try to learn from them.

"It's really easy to get off course in life.  Like airplanes, we constantly need to make course corrections."

In preparing for a long solo flight, I would review the wind forecasts so that I could figure out the proper heading to get from one location to another.  During the flight, you were always adjusting based on the actual conditions you were observing.  

What happens to a fund manager who has a well-researched and organized investment process, yet consistently underperforms because they fail to recognize that the market conditions have changed?  

They're not a fund manager for very long.

Informed investors have a market awareness.  They observe what's happening around them.  They know that their portfolio doesn't exist in its own little bubble.  They recognize when conditions change.  They survive to invest another day!

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now."

Any time I speak at a university, I encourage students to "always be a student of the markets."  The financial industry is a place where even if you've had a successful career for forty years, you still have plenty to learn.

I've attended many industry events over the years, and what often strikes me is the diversity of age and experience levels.  The one factor that brings everyone together at these events is a desire to improve oneself.

Why not start right now?  There are books to read, podcasts to absorb, conferences to attend, and people to meet.

Your future self will thank you for taking the time now to become a more well-rounded and better prepared investor!


Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as financial advice.  Please see the Disclaimer page for full details.