Monday, May 20, 2024

Respect, Not Idolize

There is always a GOAT (greatest of all time) or several legends in any field; we have Lionel Messi in football, Albert Einstein in physics, Napoleon Bonaparte in tactical warfare, etc. Other than those mentioned above, you may have your GOATs and legends in your own field of expertise and interest. In investing we have a few greats, too, such as Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Peter Lynch, and many others. 

These people are/were at the top of their game due to several reasons. Perhaps they have some skills or “powers” that others do not possess, or their contributions were recognized and impactful, or probably a combination of the former two reasons. Whatever it is, these greats would, in the eyes of those who appreciated them, have a strong sense of charisma, and surrounded by a huge field of positive aura. With this, the phenomenon known as fandom emerges and thus, we see so many people supporting their GOATs and legends.

While it is natural that these positive emotions on a person or a group of people may evolve into idolatry, it is perfectly OK to be like this as we humans are emotional creatures. Although we may like them, it is not advisable to go overboard to the point that one’s life is being dictated by them. Things like stalking or doing drastic things when an idolized great is doing what was not expected of them, are extreme acts one could go to if uncontrolled and unchecked; to put it mildly, an obsession.

In the realm of investing, such obsessions are a definite no-no. We all know that it must be approached with an objective, business-like attitude. The greats are there to learn from, such as the methodologies, the analyses, the rationales and reasonings, and with all these, their success stories. Sometimes, you may have heard of people fawning over the famous investors to the point of following their trades, quoting their quotes (much often without context) and so on, to the point of idolizing them. This is not good.

The great investors, or sometimes called super investors, are just like you and me, normal human beings. We make mistakes, and so do they. They might have “predicted” (read: guesstimated correctly) the fragility of the sub-prime markets back in 2007, or they knew the stock price of a certain electric car company will rise n-fold over a few years, etc. but they do not get it right all the time, yet we have people treating their words and/or actions as the gospel truth or future. This is dangerous, for the only person who is right every time is a certain “Mr. Market”.

Hence, we respect these investment greats for what they had done and taught us, not to idolize to the point of being obsessive and without critical thinking.

Related post:

Do They Know Something That We Don't?

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