Most people don’t value themselves enough. I think this is why.
There’s a story I love about the art professor and his grand-daughter.
She asks him, “Grandpa, what do you do for a job.”
He says, “I teach art at the university.”
She looks confused.
“I teach people how to draw.”
She looks at him shocked, “You mean they forgot?!?”
This journey is a dance between your innate skills and talents, and the skills and expertise you acquire – between who you are and what you learn.
We live in a world and are products of an education system where value is entirely placed on your ability to master technical skills.
You can get a piece of paper that says you completed a Cert IV in Exotic Stamp Valuation, but there is nothing to say that you have a talent for colour schemes, an instinct for architecture, and knack for negotiation.
And so, sadly, we don’t value our talents enough. We don’t celebrate them or give them enough credit, and we don’t let them have enough influence over the trajectory of our journey.
For instance, I had a student who started with us and threw herself into every thing numbers. She mastered feasibility studies, financing, cash-flow analysis. People actually started asking her questions rather than me!
And that was great, these things were awesome. But one day I asked her, “Why are you doing this?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve thrown yourself into this stuff head first, but it doesn’t really feel like you, you know?”
“Oh yeah, I’ve always hated numbers. I still find it a massive head-trip. But this is what it takes, isn’t it? This is what you need to do to become a sophisticated and successful investor…
.. isn’t it?”
Actually, not so much.
As I was saying, it’s a dance. So yes, you do need to have at least a workable mastery of the technical aspects of investing.
(Though, that said, it’s not rocket medicine.)
But it’s also not everything. For it to be an enjoyable (and therefore sustainable) journey, you need to create space for your innate talents and interests to come through.
For her, she was a people person. She thrived in negotiations. So the ideal team for her was one where she was riding point, and she had some solid number people behind her.
Not one were she became the numbers guy herself.
But so many of us make this mistake. We don’t value ourselves and we don’t value what we bring to the table, before we’ve even opened the first module of the course.
You have a wealth of life experience. You have natural talents. You have particular interests.
These are all wonderful and they need to be given room to breathe – to come through into your investing strategy and career.
Play to your strengths and you will be a much better investor and have a stack more fun.
Remember how to draw again.
You’ve never really forgotten.