This simple philosophy has been my compass for most of my adult life. It has guided me in investment decisions, work problems, love, and just dealing with the stresses of everyday living.
Some might say, it is the hallmark of a contrarian. Others might say, it is a crafty defensive mechanism to not deal with reality.
I prefer to quote “The Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffet, who says, “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when people are greedy.” It’s the same exact thing. Take for example if you where in a room of 100 people. Everybody decides they wanted to buy a pen. The prices of pens shoot through the roof. At some point, everyone has more than enough pens than they could ever use. So just because pens were the “hot” thing at one point, after everyone has bought pens, you don’t want to be buying pens—right?
You can use this philosophy in every aspect of your life.
When things are bad:
More than ever, this is when you need a positive mental attitude. I am a true believer that things ALWAYS work out for the best. It might not seem like it at the time. In fact, it might take years for you to actually realize it. Divorce, bankruptcy, and short of illness…we always end up better, smarter, and more experienced.
When things are bad, opportunities are present. People do things that they normally wouldn’t do. Prices can be lower and people can be more motivated. You want to keep “gunpowder” dry for this kind of period, and it comes, it always does.
Here in Dubai, in 2005 people said it was over; the real estate market was crushed (just like in the U.S. Newsflash). But now it is ranked second highest in world and back like nothing even happened. The smart money bought things up.
In the U.S. the stock market collapsed after the 2008 mess. I remember seeing General Electric for $5.58 ( I know! I tried to buy it at $5.50), but it is now $23. When Gold was $245 an ounce, people said it’s a worthless asset, non-income producing, but that was 5 years before it hit $1900 an ounce. Where and when can you spot an opportunity (out of those that everyone considers to be bad)?
When things are good:
This is a little harder, since people feel that situations will always be like this. I once had a manager tell me: “Don’t worry about how to spend the money, you’ll have plenty of time to worry about that later–make the money while you can!” Did I listen? NO!
When things are good you have to know where someone can attack you. If you are running a business, who can sue you for some foolish thing? In love, am I taking for granted my other half just because things are going great? In investing, when can some politician open his mouth to make the market drop or will there be an unexpected rise in rates that will change the landscape?
Using Gold as an example again, at $1900, everyone said it was the best and top investment. That was last year. It is $1400 an ounce now. Apple stock, once at $700, was on its way to $900 or higher? Run!
It’s trading at $400 now.
Keeping your antenna up in good times and bad will keep your “chin up” when you need it and your head down when you might not expect you need to.
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