A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.
I have a tiny pile of money that I play with (lose) in the stock market. It’s a very infrequent hobby for me.
So last week I picked up The Education of a Value Investor, which I thought might be an investment book. But I didn’t find any advice on stock picking. Nothing on mutual fund investing. Nothing even on buy or sell signals. None of that.
Instead I found JOY. A prescription for living a life of joy and happiness.
Warren Buffet, the legendary 84 year old investor, is quoted extensively. “I know people who have a lot of money and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster. That’s the ultimate test of how well you’ve lived your life.”
That’s really hard to accept when you’re young and full of testosterone. As newly minted engineers, we imagine ourselves as inventors, company presidents or principal engineers with ego walls full of awards. We imagine the large bank balances, the expensive vacations, the big home in the suburbs, the fast cars and all the rest.
Some of us never get past that Outer Scorecard – what others think of us, how much money we have, what we’ve accomplished, the house we live in. The list goes on.
Age, at least for me, seems to have lifted that fog. As I get older I’ve come to realize how much more important it is and how much more rewarding it is to just be the best me I can be. That Inner Scorecard – being the good friend, the authentic, interested listener, being of service to others – is not only less stressful, it’s a much more joyful way to live.
That’s exactly the life transition that Guy Spier, the author of the book, describes. He began his career on the street, Wall Street. There’s no place in the world more focused on the Outer Scorecard. It’s a place where who you know, how much you have, and how smart you are is more important than anything else. It’s a place where compromising your integrity and values is the norm.
The book is about how Spier transforms himself from a Gordon Gecko wannabe to a spiritual, authentic, caring man who values friendship and love over everything else in life. He doesn’t specifically detail the values and principles he came to embrace, but I’ve cataloged twenty-seven of them, including:
· Be Grateful. When you practice gratitude, you find things to be grateful about. And that is the seed for endless joy.
· Be of service to others, especially those who can’t do anything for you.
· Be Authentic. Be the real you and it will draw people to you.
· Find heroes and model them. Adopt their best attributes.
· Take care of details. All business and personal success is related to taking care of the details.
· Take Responsibility. Whatever happens, be responsible.
Behavior determines outcomes in life, and your behavior is defined by whether you pursue the Inner or Outer Scorecard. I’ll admit that for a lot of my life I’ve been about that Outer Scorecard. I am thankful that with age, that haze has lifted, and I can focus on being authentic, being a great friend, being of service and being grateful.