“How you do anything, is how you do everything.”
One of my biggest life projects over the past six years has been educating myself as much as I possibly can about the subject of investing. I’ve read books, subscribed to industry-leading publications, listened to podcasts, and attended conferences. What I’ve learned—no surprise here—is that there are seemingly infinite strategies for compounding capital. There are day traders, commodity traders, option traders, momentum investors, value investors, and so on. In spite of their differing styles, they all share a common foundation: before you can be a great money manager, you need to be good at allocating everything else.
If you visit my homepage I share, “My mission is to invest my time, energy, and attention to the important things in life.” To be the best investor I can be, I need to practice managing my time, energy, and attention as carefully as another person’s retirement portfolio. The challenge, is that this is way harder to do than it sounds on paper.
David Foster Wallace probably said it better than anyone in his famous commencement speech, This is Water:
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
I’m slowly improving at awakening from my “default setting”. I don’t just want to satisfy random desires, I want to learn as David Brooks says in his new book, to invest what resources I have in pursuing the best desires.
I don’t have a billion dollars of leverage right now. My theory is that if I can first learn to manage my fundamental resources well, the billion will take care of itself.
I’m curious, what resources are the most important to you? Do you allocate them well? Feel free to share your thoughts by responding to this email if you subscribe or in the comments below.