Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Success Happens

Nassim Taleb, known within investment circles for The Black Swan, came out today saying that people shouldn't enter into the finance world. Here's the relevant bit from the article: "[investment professionals] rise to the top for no reasons other than mere luck, with subsequent rationalizations, analyses, explanations and attributions".

I agree. Because what I've come to learn is this: hindsight isn't 20/20. In fact, hindsight is worse than making decisions in real time. I've been in quite a few situations where a person's success happened due to circumstances out of their control. And they walked away drawing bad conclusions about what happened and why it happened the way it did.

There are so many milestone moments in your life that you have very little control over. And when they happen, your life trajectory changes. If Kobe Bryant goes 8/8 on threes one night, we can say with high confidence that the very next game he plays, he most likely isn't going to shoot 100% on 3 point tries again. But life doesn't work like that. We don't play the same game over and over again. Events happen. Things change. And those changes will have a huge impact on the future.

In 2007, when I was working at a temp summer job at Northrop Grumman, one of my coworkers started talking about investment strategy for stocks. And it got me to read my very first book on investing. After that, I started reading the WSJ daily. And then I read more books. And then I used my paychecks earned from that temp job to get me started in investing.

To this day, I have no clue how different my outlook on finances and saving would be if I hadn't talked with that coworker. But I'm pretty sure it'd be a hell of a lot more different.

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