A thought on the human condition
I have a friend, we'll call him Joe Bob. JB is a nice guy, fun to argue with, smart and fairly insightful, whatever. He is married, I don't know his wife all that well, but she seems like a pretty good catch. He's got a job, working for one of his buddies for a modest but decent wage (frankly, well higher than his buddy would need to pay someone to take the job). He has a house, nice place, not too expensive, minimal down payment, mortgage, wife works some job at some bank or other.
The other interesting aspect of ole JB's life is that he has a rather organized and routine life, a good one, I'm not knocking it. Get to work at this time, leave at this time, bed at this time, probably on a weekly basis see's just a handful of people and as far as I can tell never takes any risk of any kind. 30 years old and still working the counter at his buddies business, despite having been sick of the job and feeling like he deserved better for 5 years at least. He has had the exact same sandwich at the exact same time of day from the exact same gas station with the exact same amount of mayo and mustard every day for many, many years.
Now contrast that with his friend checklist, who at the age of 23 decided to go into business in an industry he knew nothing about with no idea how to make the product in question or even any idea if anybody actually wanted such a thing. (we moved quickly on from that first business concept). Polar opposite people. One guy who wouldn't risk having a different lunch, one guy who wakes up one day and says "screw it, these hedge fund guys are wrong, and since I don't even know what a debt/equity ratio is and have never even heard of more than 10 stock tickers, I'll just invest every cent I have on the planet, the entire ssum of money I have ever made, myself, right now. I'll figure it out on the fly".
And from our lives, we have indeed reaped the pains and rewards of our choices. He's probably never had a stressful day in his life, or if it seemed stressful it was because he broke up with his girlfriend and had to be single for 3 weeks until he met a new one or something similarly silly. I have had my hair fall out in chunks and thrown up plenty of times from stress over my various choices, and spent hundreds of nights eating humble pie after some form of epic failure or other , business and otherwise. He has probably never missed his favorite TV show, and I have gone many years on end without having enough free time to even know what TV was, and been so poor for many of those years that I in fact didn't have TV. And he has that job that really isn't enough to make it through adulthood and I have a fortune vast. Back in the day he had a very nice girlfriend and I was dating the winner of the local nightclubs bikini contest. Back in the day he had a circle of 10 friends, I had 200 people come to my house on Saturday nights. Etc. I AM NOT saying one is better and one is worse, and in fact I don't think that one is better or one is worse, I am just observing the differences.
On a somewhat side note, here is an interesting aspect of our differences that you wouldn't expect. He is very bold, he talks LOUD, he is so COCKY, he pimps around, chest out... in his world of literally 5 or 10 people. He won't go out with me 95% of the time, because he's worried that my rich friends might think he isn't as cool as them (I don't actually have ANY rich friends, lol), but in his world he is very "pimpin" and bold. I am actually, in my old age, a polite person who is generally nice to everybody and rarely pimps at anyone. Bad behavior when druk is discounted here. so if you met us at a pub, say, you would probably think he was more confident than me. But anyway...
And as a result of these differences and my, eventually, getting much more of everything out of life (except relaxation), he has a habit of trying very hard to find flaw in me and point it out. He had asked me to go with to a big city strip-club over the weekend (he loves those places), and I agreed as it was just part of the day which also involved him escorting me on shopping for my new condo, which was nice. I HATE STRIP CLUBS, this is a key factor here. I sat around and didn't order any lap dances because I HATE STRIP CLUBS, and just had some drinks. Later he asks me "does being so rich rob you of your ability to enjoy life". No, I HATE STRIP CLUBS. I became perturbed and issued this lecture:
Imagine that there are just two personality types in the world, for all of people. I know generalizations are hated and never perfectly accurate, but they are also necessary for thinking about and understanding people so go with it.
The first personality type is a type X, we'll say. They are driven by a desire to accomplish stuff, to win. They may sit, as 13 year old boys, in all of their spare time reading books, that they spent all their christmas money on, about pitching or hitting and practice. They may strike out their first 41 times to the plate and it may not even somewhat deter their desire to be a big league baseball player. They will go back up to that plate, with an ego shredded and bleeding, being mocked by many, with parents who won't come to watch because they suck so bad, until they win. They start businesses, they take risks, this is what they do. They are the worlds biggest winners and biggest losers. The most important thing to them is winning, accomplishing something. If they fail while trying that is acceptable.
The next personality type is a type Y, we'll say. They are driven by comfort. They strive to be in situations where the outcome is predictable, they struck out in baseball in gym class so they didn't join the team because they figured they wouldn't be good at it. The most important thing to them is avoidance of pain. They love couches and playstations and stuff.
There are pro's and con's to each personality type, to be sure. Frankly, the type Ys tend to be happier when young. They get a nice girlfriend and they are happy with that, they get a job and they are happy with that, they get an apartment and a playstation and they are happy with that. type X's are always restless, its the nature of the beast, so they get a job and they want a better one, want a raise, want the best section in the restaurant, want to work at the main bar. They dream of Ferrari's and as such don't really bask in the glow of the Honda they can afford. The type Y's get 2 grand and they go on a 3 grand vacation, enjoying it the whole time, and just put the rest on a credit card. The type X's get trading accounts and start businesses.
So the type X's are always malcontent when sitting around, not that they are sad or lonely or anything, they just want to accomplish something and that - the goal, the purpose - is really where they find their contentment. They couldn't imagine wasting evening after evening watching TV when you could do something - get drunk, work on something, draw up some ideas, SOMETHING. The type Y's are by contrast, generally happy. They love that TV show, they love that playstation, they love a beer, their couch, they pimp around in their honda instead of dreaming of that Ferrari.
One spends their energy on accomplishing stuff, one spends it on enjoying stuff. As a result, the type X's are frequently restless (always?) no matter what the outer facade or any given moment reveals. So they lose, right?
Well, no. Well, sometimes. But lets say you have a type X that wins, gets theirs, retires early, makes those 400 friends in college when that was all-important. All that energy and effort afford them escape velocity, eventually, freedom. The type Y's never hit escape velocity, because they spent all their energy on relaxing. So as a result they wind up LESS relaxed because they have to work until 70 and have a boss and all of that.
The frustration of the X's is genetic, built in. That restless drive to try and hopefully win. The Y's do eventually recieve their comeuppance, in a way that leaves large massive hoards of them bitter and miserable, because all that relaxing and pimping about leaves them never able to relax. Eventually that credit card debt starts to hurt, eventually they realize they can't have that vacation anymore, and they have to, for 50 years, do that one thing they dislike most: not relax, via going to work. And no good paying job is easy and relaxing, or very few anyway.
Alot of the malcontentment you read on investment forums right now, gun to my head without ever having met one person, are a bunch of type Y guys mad at the world because their life of sitting around relaxing and pimping about left them unhappy with their station in life and angry at having to still work and being in debt and everything else. "@$#^$, this sucks, this is BS, I am pissed at the world. Why the frick should I not be able to just pimp about and relax? this is crap". For real, I think ALOT of the bitter, anti-USA, stuff you read on seeking alpha etc is exactly that.
And therein lies one of the most incredible ironies of the human condition: in the end, everybody loses, both X's and Y's, and faces malcontentment that is a direct function of our nature. The only way to win is to change teams at some point, re-invent yourself.
Type X's will, at some point, have to finally say "ok, thats enough, I won enough. I can't throw every party (long lost part of my life, i'm pretty boring these days), I won't make the big leagues, for god's sake I am rich enough" and relax, or they will be forever fretting and restless.
Type Y's will, at some point, have to finally realize that you cannot spend your entire life in a perfectly safe cocoon of comfort. They will have to save some money that they REALLY want to spend on the latest Call of Duty game, get out of debt, get a real job, accept that sometimes that real job will not be perfectly comfortable, etc.
This is, at least, as much of a lecture by me to me as it is one to my buddy JB. And, for the rest of the world, a thought, worth hopefully at least what i charged for it.
sorry for no market relevant content.