NAIROBI, KENYA: While 2018 is still new, I’d like to share a few things that I believe we should aspire to do this year.
These are not New Year resolutions – which hardly last beyond January 5 anyway – but things that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.
1. Each day, do something foolish, something creative and something generous
This is something I’ve learned from Ben Graham, who’s known as the father of value investing. Remember, this is not a big long-term goal that should worry you by its sheer magnitude. It’s a daily task, which is much easier to follow. So, do something foolish, something creative and something generous in 2018.
2. Don’t worry too much about making money
Time spent earning enough money is time reasonably well spent. However, time spent earning money that’s far beyond that required to meet your needs is time wasted.
As far as saving money is concerned, take it seriously but not so much that you compromise your own and your family’s current situation.
If you’re making a reasonable income and are already saving enough, keep in mind what investor Warren Buffett says: “… who is to say whether it is better to defer a dollar of expenditure on your family – on a trip to Disneyland or something that they’ll get enormous enjoyment out of – so that when you are 75, you can have a 30-feet boat instead of a 20-feet boat?
“There are advantages to spending money on your family when it’s still young – giving them various forms of enjoyment, education or whatever it may be. But it’s crazy to be spending 105 per cent of your income.”
3. Investment returns, like your weight, are just a number
Work towards maintaining a reasonable portfolio for yourself, and be happy with what you have. People get into trouble when they begin to envy others and seek ‘who has the best of all’ answers from the mirror on their wall.
4. “What if I fail?” is not the question to ask this year
You will fail. So the better question might be, “After I fail, what then?”
If you’ve chosen well, after you fail you will be one step closer to succeeding, you will be wiser and stronger, and you will almost certainly be more respected by all of those who are afraid to try.
5. Don’t put off living happily ever after for another year
Don’t assume you’ll have another year. You don’t get this life again. No one will bring back the years. Life will follow the path it began to take, and will neither reverse nor check its course. Life will not lengthen at your command.
Stop being so busy. Tell the ones you love how much you love them, and say it often enough. You could very well be happy with almost nothing if you had a loving family, and if you weren’t competing with a lot of other people on who has acquired more stuff than the other.
6. Invest in becoming smarter and wiser
Becoming wise is a slow game, but wisdom builds up, like compound interest. You have to work at it for a long, long time, but the earlier you start, the more territory you can cover.
And the bigger and more important the ideas you can assimilate, the easier the learning process is.
7. Stay humble
Benjamin Graham’s book, Security Analysis, starts with an observation credited to Roman lyricist Horace: “Many shall be restored that are now fallen and many shall fall that are now in honour.”
Remember this quote as you celebrate the winners in your investment portfolio. Stay humble – you don’t want humiliation to force your hand.
Bonus rule: If you’re looking to get rich, do these three simple things: create value for others; contribute to someone’s life or business without keeping score; and learn something new, something scary.