Sticking With It...Or Not
A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked if I had watched the most recent season of House of Cards. I responded that I had stopped watching partway through the 5th season because I was no longer enjoying it. My friend and his wife were slogging through the final season, determined to finish it even though they too weren't enjoying it.
Over the past few years, I have become much less likely to continue reading or listening to books, watching TV shows or movies, or playing video games that I wasn't enjoying. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari? Set it aside after it kept putting me to sleep. The Walking Dead? Stopped watching after season seven shambled on what seemed like forever. Far Cry 5? Deleted from my PlayStation 4 after growing tired of boring fetch quests.
As I've gotten older I've become more conscious, and more protective of, my free time. Call it the Marie Kondo Effect: Why waste precious time on something that doesn't bring me joy?
We all love instant gratification, but not everything has to bring you instant or constant joy. Sometimes challenging things are worth it. The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my all-time favorite books, but parts of it drag. Still totally worth it.
I know this will shock you, but I often relate things to investing. The decision about whether or not to stick with something that no longer brings us joy is similar to what happens when we invest. Sometimes we hold on for too long; sometimes not long enough.
Hopefully, the decision to buy or sell an investment isn't based on emotion, such as joy. Instead, the decision should be made based on logic and quantitative measures, such as price, expenses, and the need for diversification.
Sadly, as I've written previously, investing is hard. Humans are emotional creatures and we're often lousy at making rational decisions. We buy high and sell low. We take on more risk than we need to.
My advice: Try to reserve your emotional decisions when choosing things like books, TV shows, movies, and video games. And, if you've given something a fair chance and you aren't enjoying it, don't be afraid to let it go. Unless it's The Count of Monte Cristo. You need to stick with that book.
When it comes to investing, check your emotions at the door.
It's difficult to believe that ten years ago this month the S&P 500 finally hit the bottom. Check out the chart below to see how it has bounced back.
Reading / Watching / Playing
Here's what has my attention right now:
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The rise and fall of Theranos and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, is a fascinating tale of corporate fraud, greed, and the insanity that is Silicon Valley. I'm about halfway through the book and it is fantastic. Highly recommended!
Marvel's Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4. The thrill of swinging through the man-made canyons of Manhattan never gets old. I'm no fan of spiders, but maybe getting bitten by one that's radioactive wouldn't be so bad. PS: There's a cameo by the late Stan Lee that is simply perfect.