🧠 Do You Really Want to Become a Great Investor?

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Given the option, would you choose to become a vampire?

If you’re like us, your immediate answer is: “Of course not!”

But forget the scary movies for a second; let’s assume you could become a vampire without causing anyone harm; all of your friends had already become vampires; you’d live forever, become incredibly rich, and get superpowers.

How about now?

The decision would at least require some thought.

Philosopher L.A. Paul puts it succinctly:

You cannot know what it is like to be a vampire until you are one…This means that, if you want to make this choice by considering what you want your lived experience to be like in the future, you can’t do it rationally.

Believe it or not, we can substitute “great investor” for “vampire,” and the analogy holds — except in the opposite direction. Whereas becoming a vampire looks more appealing, becoming a great investor looks less appealing.


In 2005, a team of researchers ran a 20-round coin-flipping game. Participants started with $20. If they correctly guessed heads/tails, they’d win $2.50. If they were incorrect, they’d lose $1.

One group of participants outperformed the rest: those with brain lesions that inhibited their ability to feel emotions.

Great investors often pride themselves on not being emotional. But if you cut off emotions in one area of your life, you’re likely to also cut them off in the other areas.

Imagine feeling no joy, excitement, or contentment for the rest of your life.

One of the study’s authors quipped that the greatest investors may be just “functional psychopaths.”

Are you still interested in becoming a great investor?

Thankfully, there’s a way to become a successful investor without losing your emotions: practice mindfully accepting all of your emotions in real-time.

That means allowing yourself to feel the emotional rush of watching your portfolio rise 50% — without becoming overconfident in your investing skills.

It also means allowing yourself to feel the gut-wrenching pain of seeing your portfolio being halved — without wanting to sell everything to stop the pain.

Practicing mindful acceptance isn’t easy; it might be one the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

But as Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön puts it, it’s worth it:

“[The practice] nails us right to the point of time and space that we are in. When we stop there and don’t act out, don’t repress, don’t blame it on anyone else, and also don’t blame it on ourselves, then we…encounter our heart.
When we really begin to do this, we’re going to be continually humbled. There’s not going to be much room for the arrogance that holding on to ideals can bring

As you might’ve guessed, Chödrön was talking about life, not investing.

But many of life’s most important lessons can also be modified to make you a better investor.

Wishing you investing (and life) success,

– Brian Feroldi, Brian Stoffel, & Brian Withers

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