Using Life's 'Why's" to Fuel Your Investing "How's"
By Anthony Rhodes
I would venture to guess that if you were to take a survey of successful individuals, regardless of their time period or vocation, you would discover a reoccurring theme that they all shared a motivating purpose which drove them to their lofty accomplishments. Some may simply have desired to improve upon the unfortunate circumstances under which they were born into, while others may have been driven to exhaust every ounce of their natural-given talent, but all would certainly agree that this "purpose", whatever it resulted in being, was the propellant which ushered them forward, and directed them to achieve the extraordinary feats for which they were so popularly known.
This innate desire is quite powerful. In fact, studies have shown that individuals that identify as having instilled purposes within their lives, actually outlive their more listless counterparts, and by a considerable margin. As our bodies' natural function is to enact the will of the mind, once these directives are no longer received, it, like any other machine, loses its reason for being, and begin to resign to the decaying forces of entropy.
What is your reason for investing? If your response is simply to make money, you should re-evaluate your answer; as money is not a purpose within itself, but rather, a means towards facilitating a desired end. It is this "end" for which we focus our attention today, as it could very well be the difference between having either a successful or under performing portfolio.
While having a motivation for investing is important, some purposes are clearly better than others. We are all familiar with the famous quote from the film "Wall Street" that "Greed is good.", but none but the morally bankrupt among us would subscribe to it as an actual reason for investing. The truth of the matter is that most individuals who have attained a certain degree of financial stability in life, divert their attentions to philanthropic interests, and would readily agree that the usage of their monies for these purposes, greatly outweigh their selfish pursuits of additional excesses. So, greed as a motivating factor fails to deliver, but zeal, however, does not. What are you zealous about? Whatever it is, focus your attention on that item as you go about your investing chores. Amazingly, you'll discover upon doing so, that your processes have become keener, and your selections, more profitable. When we visualize our desires, our conscious mind does everything that it can to help us to attain it, including calling on the resources of our subconscious to assist in the tasks' completion.
Another benefit which you will be alerted to upon developing an investing purpose, is how quickly you'll recover from the few mistakes that you do make. With the ending prize forever in your mind's eye, you'll have little time to focus on the stumbles along the way, and to readily begin anew whenever your strategies produce an undesired outcome. This action should not be understated, as many an investor has succumbed to the melancholy produced by their investing failures. But those with an identifying purpose which is yet to be fulfilled, are swift to move on when failures present themselves. Because the positives surrounding their goal, greatly outnumber the negatives produced by their missteps.
Goals are the mountains that populate life's otherwise easily navigable terrain. They dare us to perform the extraordinary, and challenge us to master the arduous, by placing in our path numerous obstacles to overcome, before eventually reaching the zenith of their piercing, skyward peaks.
Not all who ascend these mounds will be successful, with the majority yielding to pressure or fatigue, and silently returning to the safety of the flat-lands below. But for those who muster the fortitude to persevere, exaltation awaits. As they will experience the splendid grandeur which is only awarded to those who knew that the feat could be accomplished.
(Anthony Rhodes is the President and owner of wealth management firm The Planning Perspective www.theplanningperspective.com)