I recently came across this quote and knew I had to share it with you:
“People often overestimate what they can accomplish in one year. But they greatly underestimate what they could accomplish in five years.”
Which is nothing new. We've heard it over and over again throughout our lives. Daily actions will lead to big results. So why can't we stick with the things we know are good for us? Why is it so hard to follow through on habits we know will make us better?
Here's the answer, I think...
Our need for quick results. We want big change, now. And if we don’t get it, we quit. It's the kind of thinking that makes grand plans for you on December 31st but completely forgets about them by January 27. As humans, we tend to overestimate short term results and underestimate long term ones.
✨ Our relationship with money is no different. ✨
We need to talk...
We need to acknowledge our obsession with rarity. As we've discussed before, there are virtually no actionable lessons we can learn from the Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates of the world. Yes, they've accomplished some admirable things— depending on what you consider admirable, @jeffbezos 👿 — but their stories are extremely rare. We need to shift our focus from rarity to consistency.
Shifting that focus is hard because of something called the Narrative Fallacy. That's why abstract statistical information doesn't tend to light our fire as much as a good story does.
In order to compromise, I think we should find a middle ground and explore a good story about consistency.
Say hello to Grandpa Buffett
Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite books, The Psychology of Money, that demonstrates Warren Buffett's rare ability to be consistently consistent:
Consider a little thought experiment.
Buffett began serious investing when he was 10 years old. By the time he was 30, he had a net worth of $1 million, or $9.3 million adjusted for inflation.
What if he was a more normal person, spending his teens and 20s exploring the world and finding his passion, and by age 30 his net worth was, say, $25,000?
And let’s say he still went on to earn the extraordinary annual investment returns he’s been able to generate (22% annually) but quit investing and retired at age 60 to play golf and spend time with his grandkids.
What would a rough estimate of his net worth be today?
Not $80 billion.
99.9% less than his actual net worth.
Effectively all of Warren Buffett’s financial success can be tied to the financial base he built in his pubescent years and the longevity he maintained in his geriatric years.
His skill is investing, but his secret is time.
Although it's not likely we'll follow Buffett's exact trajectory, we can take advantage of the time we have left.*