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RS Weekly Update-Munger Says Use It Or Lose It



July 24, 2011 – Comments (0)

Dear Fools,

Picking up where we left off last week, here is tendency #19 in Charlie Munger’s take on the psychology of human misjudgment from Poor Charlie’s Almanack.

Tendency #19 – Use-It-Or-Lose-It Tendency

OK, all joking aside, there’s a lot to be said for this one and it’s pretty much just like it sounds. Use what you’ve got; the longer you lay off of something, the more it fades away. For me golf is the perfect example. I’ve played golf for close to 35 years and it’s more or less like riding a bike for me at this point in that I know the basics and how the game is played. But the finer points, the nuances that make the difference fade away if not practiced.

Munger makes the distinction too of why one may be learning a skill and how this can affect the bottom line. If one is learning for fluency or mastery as opposed to just trying to “pass the test”, then in most cases the skill is lost more slowly and also comes back faster when refreshed with new learning. Again, I would say this rings very true for me in golf. I view it (and investing) as a game for a lifetime.

While mastery in investing can be different for everyone and certainly subjective, the point is to never stop learning. There’s always something else to glean and always a new way to look at things. The world changes so fast and we need to keep up with that. Having a process in place that you can rely on as an investor provides a wonderful base from which we can go many different directions. So whether it’s reading, or writing in a journal or just talking stocks with friends (or perhaps hanging out at and trolling the discussion boards), do as Munger says: Use it or lose it!

Foolish best,

Jason (TMFJMo)

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