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GOLD! If You're Doing This, You're Fooling Yourself That You're an Independent Thinker

MTF

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I love to define myself as a free thinker. I follow my own path, make my own conclusions and trust myself.

The truth is, I've been fooling myself the entire time.

And if you believe you're not following the herd, chances are you're fooling yourself, too. I'll explain this with a recent example from my life.

Over the past couple of months I've been learning as much as I can about investing. I've been spending several hours a day reading about this stuff from a wide variety of sources to discover all the pros and cons of different investment vehicles.

When I woke up today, it dawned on me that during all this time looking for an investment opportunity for myself, I didn't think for myself. I let the other guy think for me.

Most people who enter the investing world decide to invest in ETFs, bonds, or maybe in a rental property just because these are all common choices. However, behind their decision there's usually a successful investor who they respect and want to imitate. Warren Buffet said invest in ETFs, so they invest in ETFs. They respect Robert Kiyosaki, so they go into real estate. Or MJ shares his money system in Unscripted, and suddenly their investment world constricts to the few choices made by MJ.

It's understandable. You don't know much about something, so you listen to somebody who does. But the truth is, nobody's perfect and your chosen expert's choice might not be a good choice for you. They might be wrong, too.

There are real estate billionaires and there are stock market billionaires. Some people will tell you that the stock market is overvalued, yet there are still guys making a killing there. Some will tell you there's a real estate bubble, yet there's always somebody making money this way. Then there will be people saying that both the stock market and real estate are useless and they invest in something entirely else.

Granted, some investment approaches are indeed dumb and there are certain rules that you need to heed no matter what, but there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Switching One Dogma for Another

Now, back to my story. I didn't think for myself because all I did was switch the mainstream financial dogmas for the dogmas of several investors I respected.

@GlobalWealth said that the stock market is overvalued so I shouldn't invest there. Instead, I should follow his strategy of acquiring apartments for short-term rental apartments all over the world even though I'll probably never travel even half as often as he does (please note that none of these people specifically told me to do so; it's just a figure of speech). @SteveO prefers direct real estate ownership, so REITs are out. @MJ DeMarco says that you should be as liquid as possible, so I should avoid real estate and stick to income-producing vehicles only. Simon Black prefers investing in private companies and agriculture all over the world so I should buy farmland in Chile. Peter Schiff likes Australia, so I should buy Australian stocks and hold the Australian currency.

All of these guys are smart investors and know what they're talking about, but suddenly I'm out of options because all the advice is contradictory. And worse, I stop asking myself what I personally think and instead I seek what another guy thinks about it and do what he says to do. If, say, Peter Schiff recommends investing in CHF, I don't ask myself why - after all, Schiff says so, and he can't be wrong, right?

This way, I don't think for myself. I follow the herd, albeit a different one that the mainstream one.

How I Got Fooled That the World Is About to End

I further discovered that my main filter for the best investment opportunity was motivated by the belief that the world was about to end. I'm optimistic about the future, but somehow this belief still anchored itself in my head. This made me believe that the only worthy investment is real estate because it exists in the physical world. And you know, the world is about to collapse and soon there won't be Internet, electricity, banks, and the stock market. Stock up on real estate before they pull the plug.

The objective truth is that the world today is increasingly more digital, and if it were ever to revert, it would be the contents of your pantry that would be valuable, not the pieces of paper proving you own a certain building (which, by the way, would be as worthless as your stocks or bonds). I should have learned how to invest in canned food, not real estate.

And brainwashed by all this, I not only stressed myself out preparing for the incoming collapse, but I also forgot one important rule: you should make investments that are compatible with you, not with the other guy. Upon this realization, I understood that my thinking process wasn't my own. I would invest in the real estate industry because some guys like it and believe the world is about to end, and not because it would be the most productive investment for me.

I'm still not sure which investment vehicle to choose, but I know one thing: I'm going to think for myself and invest my resources in what I personally believe in, not what other investors believe to be the right choice.

Don't Outsource Your Thinking

If you often find yourself looking for specific advice on what to do, chances are you aren't a true free thinker, either. There's a difference between looking for information to educate yourself about something (like, say, how to prepare a proper lease contract) and outsourcing your thinking process by seeking what an expert has said and blindly following his or her advice without running it through your own filters.

It isn't limited to investing only.

You might follow a specific diet just because a blogger you respect writes about it - even if you don't really like certain aspects of the diet (and I mean the subjective aspects, not the objective science-based nutrition principles).

You might follow a specific workout because of some fitness guys proclaiming it the only effective approach - even if you hate it (I did it for a long time and refused the thought that an entirely different approach could be as effective, if not more, than the one I was following).

Or you might ask here on the forum if your business idea is viable and stop working on it simply because one or two random guys said they don't like it.

Or pursue e-commerce just because @biophase is doing well with it.

Or get into self-publishing because @ChickenHawk quit her job thanks to it.

Or avoid a B&M business because @Vigilante doesn't enjoy managing employees.

They are all smart guys, but their preferences, strengths, and backgrounds are completely different than yours. I'm not saying don't listen to them - learning from them as much as you can is obviously a pretty smart move. I just want you to be aware that blindly following their advice might not always work for you, particularly if you never ask yourself what you personally think about it. This can lead to dangerous lazy thinking habits like "if X said so, then it must be true."

If you want to be a free thinker, accept that freedom comes with risk. Not all your decisions will be right, but so won't be the decisions made by the people you follow. Beware the dangers of dogmatic thinking, regardless of whether you blindly trust the mainstream experts or those who swim against the current.
 

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GlobalWealth

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@MTF, as you said everyone needs to make their own choices based on their personal situation.

When you asked me once about investments, I told you MY strategy, not that I think it should be YOUR strategy.

It is certainly good to hear different perspectives as it can spark ideas that you hadn't previously considered.

But the investment strategy for a 50 year old guy with 4 kids living in Kansas running a B&M business should be different than that of a 30 year old single guy living in Portugal running e-commerce sites.

Our knowledge, experiences, and life choices are all very different.

@SteveO told me a couple of years ago over bourbon (at least that's what I was drinking), that he liked a lot of the things I do and my lifestyle, but it was not for him. He doesn't like to travel that much. He likes where he lives and enjoys his daily routine.

And that lifestyle does not suit me either. It also affects how I invest as well as how he invests. He is big into local real estate because he can more easily manage it.

@MJ likes to be liquid because it suits the lifestyle he wants to live. That liquidity gives him security. But 25 year old MJ I doubt would need so much security even if he had investable cash.

Do your homework. Find what you understand and enjoy investing in and that gives you YOUR acceptable level of comfort. Don't get hung up on 1 or 2 basis points of yield.

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ExaltedLife

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YES, this thread is gold. Here's an amazing book I recommend for anybody who wants to learn how to think independently: "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" by Ayn Rand.

She basically lays out what concepts are, how they relate to reality, and how to ensure that your thinking is based on what you know rather than what other people say.
 

MarekvBeek

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With this said, how do I now know I'm a free thinker? Because @MTF said that if you follow advice from others, you're not really a free thinker.

P.S. Just kidding, it's an amazing peace of content, thank you very much for sharing this with us! It got me thinking about some tought patterns I 'borrowed' from others...
 

Mainstream7

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Think for yourself. Be UNSCRIPTED.

I found that all this "modelling" of expterts is due to self-improvement advice found in books and courses. i.e. Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy.
It´s dangerous following "experts" advice without thinking for yourself.

In the end it really depends on YOUR personal preferences, and YOUR decisions.
 

ArcherCarmic

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This absolutely is a gold thread. There is value in learning, and in modelling, but if you ever find yourself with internal conflict and getting torn between various guru's advice and your own, go with your gut.
 

MarekvBeek

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To add some extra value to this thread...

Actually I had an argument last week with someone.

I said, what if everything we know about our history isn't our true history? We just take it for what it is.

What if there was no WWII WWI? Of course that was not the real question. The real question was, what if the things that has been told to you are not true (the fundamentals about life)?

It shows that you can only truly believe what is true when you see it 100% with your own eyes.

The rest might be 99,78%
 

MJ DeMarco

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The essence of UNSCRIPTED thinking is not to think like me, or to think like anyone on this forum. It is also not to think in the terms of normalcy -- it is education -- too look at all options, it is to gather all information, and then make an educated decision based on YOUR life, YOUR goals, and YOUR meaning/purpose.

Be an educated leader of your life, not a blind follower.
 

SteveO

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@SteveO prefers direct real estate ownership, so REITs are out
Great post. I like where you went with this.

I do what works for me. Value-add real estate deals. It does not even matter if I ever have ownership as long as I can get the bump in value. I don't see that option done efficiently with a reit. Too many hands in the pot.

There are millions of ways to invest. Due diligence helps clear the mud off the lenses. Keep doing what you are doing and you will find your way with this.
 

SteveO

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@SteveO told me a couple of years ago over bourbon (at least that's what I was drinking), that he liked a lot of the things I do and my lifestyle, but it was not for him. He doesn't like to travel that much. He likes where he lives and enjoys his daily routine.
I'm never sure if someone drinking bourbon will even remember having a conversation. Much less remembering what was said... Most people will not do what you have done. You have even influenced a number of people. It all makes us look better!

I completely agree with what you stated.

He is big into local real estate because he can more easily manage it.
Manage the real estate "value-add" process. I am not really into managing properties.
 
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MTF

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@GlobalWealth, I definitely agree with you. Somewhere along the way I just forgot that it wasn't about asking people what to do, but about researching all potential options and then choosing for myself.

Here's an amazing book I recommend for anybody who wants to learn how to think independently: "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" by Ayn Rand.
Awesome, thanks for the recommendation. I'm going to read it.

It got me thinking about some tought patterns I 'borrowed' from others...
Thanks. Yeah, this borrowing process often happens unconsciously and then one day you suddenly realize "where do all of these thoughts actually come from?"

In the end it really depends on YOUR personal preferences, and YOUR decisions.
Amen. And Tony Robbins, as helpful as his concepts can be, can't decide for you or choose your preferences.

There is value in learning, and in modelling, but if you ever find yourself with internal conflict and getting torn between various guru's advice and your own, go with your gut.
Definitely. Even if you fail, I greatly prefer failing due to my own mistakes than because I listened to somebody else.

The essence of UNSCRIPTED thinking is not to think like me, or to think like anyone on this forum. It is also not to think in the terms of normalcy -- it is education -- too look at all options, it is to gather all information, and then make an educated decision based on YOUR life, YOUR goals, and YOUR meaning/purpose.
It takes balls to say that because many people here would probably blindly follow everything you'd tell them to do (at least business-wise). That's why Unscripted fits so well with the Fastlane approach. I recently realized that I should start spending more time with Unscripted people, whether they're entrepreneurs or simply people who refused certain dogmas and live their lives differently.

There are millions of ways to invest. Due diligence helps clear the mud off the lenses
I agree. Due diligence is helpful to clarify what you want. Just gotta be careful not to let the collected information switch your priorities or outsource your thinking ("this guy said in this book that you need to evaluate a real estate investment using this process so you should never do it in any other way").
 

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GlobalWealth

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Manage the real estate "value-add" process. I am not really into managing properties.
By "manage" I didn't mean property management. I just meant that the proximity of the deals gave you the ability to effectively control the situation. Sorry I wasn't clear earlier.

And I wasn't the only one with an adult beverage...[emoji6]



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GuitarManDan

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Great post - Ive been trying to read the gold threads not to come to the conclusion of "I should do ecommerce or invest in real estate" but instead to focus on the underlying process and see patterns of successful people on here.

It seems like the successful processes can be applied to many other business ventures.
 
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MTF

MTF

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focus on the underlying process and see patterns of successful people on here.
It's a good approach. Then pick what fits your strengths or what you consider best for your particular situation and take it from there.
 

Mattie

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I love to define myself as a free thinker. I follow my own path, make my own conclusions and trust myself.

The truth is, I've been fooling myself the entire time.

And if you believe you're not following the herd, chances are you're fooling yourself, too. I'll explain this with a recent example from my life.

Over the past couple of months I've been learning as much as I can about investing. I've been spending several hours a day reading about this stuff from a wide variety of sources to discover all the pros and cons of different investment vehicles.

When I woke up today, it dawned on me that during all this time looking for an investment opportunity for myself, I didn't think for myself. I let the other guy think for me.

Most people who enter the investing world decide to invest in ETFs, bonds, or maybe in a rental property just because these are all common choices. However, behind their decision there's usually a successful investor who they respect and want to imitate. Warren Buffet said invest in ETFs, so they invest in ETFs. They respect Robert Kiyosaki, so they go into real estate. Or MJ shares his money system in Unscripted, and suddenly their investment world constricts to the few choices made by MJ.

It's understandable. You don't know much about something, so you listen to somebody who does. But the truth is, nobody's perfect and your chosen expert's choice might not be a good choice for you. They might be wrong, too.

There are real estate billionaires and there are stock market billionaires. Some people will tell you that the stock market is overvalued, yet there are still guys making a killing there. Some will tell you there's a real estate bubble, yet there's always somebody making money this way. Then there will be people saying that both the stock market and real estate are useless and they invest in something entirely else.

Granted, some investment approaches are indeed dumb and there are certain rules that you need to heed no matter what, but there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Switching One Dogma for Another

Now, back to my story. I didn't think for myself because all I did was switch the mainstream financial dogmas for the dogmas of several investors I respected.

@GlobalWealth said that the stock market is overvalued so I shouldn't invest there. Instead, I should follow his strategy of acquiring apartments for short-term rental apartments all over the world even though I'll probably never travel even half as often as he does (please note that none of these people specifically told me to do so; it's just a figure of speech). @SteveO prefers direct real estate ownership, so REITs are out. @MJ DeMarco says that you should be as liquid as possible, so I should avoid real estate and stick to income-producing vehicles only. Simon Black prefers investing in private companies and agriculture all over the world so I should buy farmland in Chile. Peter Schiff likes Australia, so I should buy Australian stocks and hold the Australian currency.

All of these guys are smart investors and know what they're talking about, but suddenly I'm out of options because all the advice is contradictory. And worse, I stop asking myself what I personally think and instead I seek what another guy thinks about it and do what he says to do. If, say, Peter Schiff recommends investing in CHF, I don't ask myself why - after all, Schiff says so, and he can't be wrong, right?

This way, I don't think for myself. I follow the herd, albeit a different one that the mainstream one.

How I Got Fooled That the World Is About to End

I further discovered that my main filter for the best investment opportunity was motivated by the belief that the world was about to end. I'm optimistic about the future, but somehow this belief still anchored itself in my head. This made me believe that the only worthy investment is real estate because it exists in the physical world. And you know, the world is about to collapse and soon there won't be Internet, electricity, banks, and the stock market. Stock up on real estate before they pull the plug.

The objective truth is that the world today is increasingly more digital, and if it were ever to revert, it would be the contents of your pantry that would be valuable, not the pieces of paper proving you own a certain building (which, by the way, would be as worthless as your stocks or bonds). I should have learned how to invest in canned food, not real estate.

And brainwashed by all this, I not only stressed myself out preparing for the incoming collapse, but I also forgot one important rule: you should make investments that are compatible with you, not with the other guy. Upon this realization, I understood that my thinking process wasn't my own. I would invest in the real estate industry because some guys like it and believe the world is about to end, and not because it would be the most productive investment for me.

I'm still not sure which investment vehicle to choose, but I know one thing: I'm going to think for myself and invest my resources in what I personally believe in, not what other investors believe to be the right choice.

Don't Outsource Your Thinking

If you often find yourself looking for specific advice on what to do, chances are you aren't a true free thinker, either. There's a difference between looking for information to educate yourself about something (like, say, how to prepare a proper lease contract) and outsourcing your thinking process by seeking what an expert has said and blindly following his or her advice without running it through your own filters.

It isn't limited to investing only.

You might follow a specific diet just because a blogger you respect writes about it - even if you don't really like certain aspects of the diet (and I mean the subjective aspects, not the objective science-based nutrition principles).

You might follow a specific workout because of some fitness guys proclaiming it the only effective approach - even if you hate it (I did it for a long time and refused the thought that an entirely different approach could be as effective, if not more, than the one I was following).

Or you might ask here on the forum if your business idea is viable and stop working on it simply because one or two random guys said they don't like it.

Or pursue e-commerce just because @biophase is doing well with it.

Or get into self-publishing because @ChickenHawk quit her job thanks to it.

Or avoid a B&M business because @Vigilante doesn't enjoy managing employees.

They are all smart guys, but their preferences, strengths, and backgrounds are completely different than yours. I'm not saying don't listen to them - learning from them as much as you can is obviously a pretty smart move. I just want you to be aware that blindly following their advice might not always work for you, particularly if you never ask yourself what you personally think about it. This can lead to dangerous lazy thinking habits like "if X said so, then it must be true."

If you want to be a free thinker, accept that freedom comes with risk. Not all your decisions will be right, but so won't be the decisions made by the people you follow. Beware the dangers of dogmatic thinking, regardless of whether you blindly trust the mainstream experts or those who swim against the current.
This is just my theory, but every thought you have contributes to someone else's thought system. Are you really ever 100% a free thinker. You'd have to fly into space by yourself, isolate yourself from humanity, and sit for a year, and figure out how much of your thoughts are actually your own and how much you've picked up from the world.
I believe we try our best to be free thinkers and sure to a certain degree we do, but I'm always asking myself I'd like if I could come up with some original idea or thought that isn't already out there. :) Ha ha! There are times I think I've thought of something, only to find out it's been said and written before. :)
 

Andy Black

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Tremendous post @MTF

As soon as someone prefixes anything with "You should", "You need to", or "You have to" then I pretty much shut them out. I've noticed the successful people know there's more than one path. Those that insist there's only one path often seem to be commenting from an armchair.


As for consuming... I find it a very slippery slope. I'll do research to solve a problem right in front of me, and end up getting sucked down rabbit-holes. There's so many people out there who's goal is to turn us into their consumer. (If I hear another word about funnels, webinars, and marketing automation I'll go spare! The world seems to have gone mad for sales funnels and Facebook bots - or so my Facebook feed would have me believe).


Someone recently told me something when I said I was performing the great unsubscribe:

"You don't need to be on any lists brother."

"All you need is within now."

"Be a leader not a follower."

(and previously)

"You are enough."


Powerful words that help me to forge my own path and avoid the rabbit-holes.
 

Millenial_Kid5K1

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I really love your post. Rep+ because I think it can help people.

Over the past couple of months I've been learning as much as I can about investing. I've been spending several hours a day reading about this stuff from a wide variety of sources to discover all the pros and cons of different investment vehicles.

When I woke up today, it dawned on me that during all this time looking for an investment opportunity for myself, I didn't think for myself. I let the other guy think for me.
Personally, I think you have to have some exposure to learn something. Until you've learned the opinions of several experts, you're constrained to the opinions of the ones you've listened to. Until you've gotten your hands dirty, you're constrained to a mixture of your favorite bits from each expert.

Or MJ shares his money system in Unscripted, and suddenly their investment world constricts to the few choices made by MJ.

It's understandable. You don't know much about something, so you listen to somebody who does. But the truth is, nobody's perfect and your chosen expert's choice might not be a good choice for you. They might be wrong, too.
I think the brilliance of MJ's approach is that it's universally applicable. You try to figure out how to match market need, provide value, and get as close to total CENTS as possible. It's such a logical approach, and it's been verified to work in every application from real estate to widget invention.

@GlobalWealth said that the stock market is overvalued so I shouldn't invest there. Instead, I should follow his strategy of acquiring apartments for short-term rental apartments all over the world even though I'll probably never travel even half as often as he does (please note that none of these people specifically told me to do so; it's just a figure of speech). @SteveO prefers direct real estate ownership, so REITs are out. @MJ DeMarco says that you should be as liquid as possible, so I should avoid real estate and stick to income-producing vehicles only. Simon Black prefers investing in private companies and agriculture all over the world so I should buy farmland in Chile. Peter Schiff likes Australia, so I should buy Australian stocks and hold the Australian currency.
There's a little bit of wisdom in all these pieces of advice. All you can do is figure out what's most important to you. Is getting rich quick and having liquid capital important to you? If so, find out which roads cause these outcomes and follow them. That's as easy as looking at the personal life stories of the people you've mentioned, or others who've found wealth by any number of different roads.

I further discovered that my main filter for the best investment opportunity was motivated by the belief that the world was about to end. I'm optimistic about the future, but somehow this belief still anchored itself in my head. This made me believe that the only worthy investment is real estate because it exists in the physical world. And you know, the world is about to collapse and soon there won't be Internet, electricity, banks, and the stock market. Stock up on real estate before they pull the plug.

The objective truth is that the world today is increasingly more digital, and if it were ever to revert, it would be the contents of your pantry that would be valuable, not the pieces of paper proving you own a certain building (which, by the way, would be as worthless as your stocks or bonds). I should have learned how to invest in canned food, not real estate.
I tend pretty closely to this bleak view of the future as well, but remember: Every apocalypse is a little different. The one you're describing is more akin to a complete societal breakdown from a disaster you'd see in a movie than a realistic scenario. Do a worst case analysis. What's the worst that could happen, your country getting nuked and occupied? A communist revolution? You've gotta find the right balance between wealth building and disaster-hedging yourself, based on your vision of the next 5 years and desire to funnel money into pure growth.

Edit: I'm probably farther from freedom than most on this board, so take my opinion with a tonne of salt. I'm just stating how I see it, and I'm sure my opinion will mature as my business takes root and grows larger.
 
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This is just my theory, but every thought you have contributes to someone else's thought system. Are you really ever 100% a free thinker. You'd have to fly into space by yourself, isolate yourself from humanity, and sit for a year, and figure out how much of your thoughts are actually your own and how much you've picked up from the world.
No man is an island. You're always exposed to other opinions, thoughts, etc. I guess the key to be a free thinker is to be open to all ideas (from others or from you) and then form your own opinions. It's usually easier not to do that - people read an expert's opinion and claim it their own because it's too hard to read about a few different viewpoints, ask yourself what you think about it all and then form your unique opinion. And then there's also confirmation bias, but that's a different discussion.

Those that insist there's only one path often seem to be commenting from an armchair.
Definitely true. If they don't allow people to change something, it probably means they're too stuck in their ways (and while sometimes it might be good, it also exposes you to mistakes and slows down your growth).

Personally, I think you have to have some exposure to learn something. Until you've learned the opinions of several experts, you're constrained to the opinions of the ones you've listened to. Until you've gotten your hands dirty, you're constrained to a mixture of your favorite bits from each expert.
Thank you for your thoughts. Learning is good and I'm not saying don't do research or don't learn what experts say or do. I only refer to blindly following them instead of learning about different options (including trying to come up with your own ideas that might be original) and then taking action based on what you feel is best.
 

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@MTF Thanks for bringing this to my attention. It's a great reminder! Your post also reminded me of the importance of (1) questioning the underlying assumptions, (2) understanding the fundamentals, (3) sniffing around to figure out the zeitgeist.

I read 2 recent articles in the WSJ. 1 article was about how the prices of the major asset classes are trending together upwards. Since there's nothing obviously really cheap to invest in, different experts say go stocks or bonds or gold or bitcoin based on what they're comfortable with. In the paper version of the article, one hedge fund manager says his fund is holding a cash-heavy position waiting for the impending market crash. Another said he's investing in REITs, not because RE is cheap but because everything else is so overvalued. Meaning there's no consensus, even among people who do this professionally for a living.

2nd article I really enjoyed this week was about people trying to trade on the VIX. What I loved about this article was that some people made a bunch of money shorting the VIX ETN and others lost a lot of money because they didn't understand the underlying mechanics of the product they were trading on.

Reinforces the idea that following others without truly understanding the underlying mechanism and therefore consequences (to returns, lifestyle changes, flexibility, liquidity, etc) is a recipe for losing money in the market.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Meaning there's no consensus, even among people who do this professionally for a living.
When it comes to the markets, no one has the answers. No one, not even Buffett, Ackman, or Icahn. While those guys can move micro-markets, they can't predict macro-market movements. We're all equal.
 
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Reinforces the idea that following others without truly understanding the underlying mechanism and therefore consequences (to returns, lifestyle changes, flexibility, liquidity, etc) is a recipe for losing money in the market.
Exactly. I'm extremely glad I didn't go with my previous idea of commercial real estate. After pondering on it, I realized it wouldn't fit my lifestyle AT ALL (I was only fooling myself that it would).

When it comes to the markets, no one has the answers. No one, not even Buffett, Ackman, or Icahn. While those guys can move micro-markets, they can't predict macro-market movements. We're all equal.
And it's great because it rewards those who have patience and don't invest emotionally thinking they can predict the market. If you don't try to generate wealth with the stock market (because your Fastlane business is for wealth generation), you can be pretty successful in the long term because you won't feel forced to liquidate when the market goes down, you'll just keep buying more.
 

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lowtek

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You've touched upon a fundamental truth that applies equally well to how we invest our time as it does our money. Many visitors here see the riches made by the more prolific posters and attempt to replicate that success.

The forum is filled with lots of valuable threads on how to make fat stacks by any of the following (and more):
  • start an eCom business
  • make money through copywriting
  • make money by selling HTML websites to businesses
  • Make money by doing adwords
All of these are valid paths to building a business, but they come from people who are well suited to those activities. Many see the success that people like @Fox, @SinisterLex, @Andy Black, and @biophase have had and attempt to replicate it. They quickly find they were chasing riches rather than staying true to themselves, and the end result is that they achieve some mediocre success and have to move on.

What is missing in these posts (and it's certainly not a malicious omission, it's simply taken for granted) is the mention of the fact that the success these people achieve is dependent on the path they took their entire life. Their success in their businesss is the by product of an entire lifetime of experiences that some random forum dweller on the internet can't replicate.

That's certainly not to say that the information those folks give can't be leveraged for others to find success, rather that it may not be the best fit and is fitting the proverbial square peg in the round hole. It can result in mediocre success that doesn't match the experience of the original poster, a feeling of disconnect from ones' purpose and goals, and a quagmire of self doubt when expectation and reality diverge. In the worst case scenario, some people may be lead to conclude that they simply aren't cut out for business, when the reality is that they aren't cut out for whatever type of business they are trying to replicate.

Just as you've got to filter information through the lens of your own life with respect to investments, people should do the same when considering what to do in their Unscripted ventures.

I know that I have made that mistake, and I'm certain I'm not the only one.
 

biophase

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You've touched upon a fundamental truth that applies equally well to how we invest our time as it does our money. Many visitors here see the riches made by the more prolific posters and attempt to replicate that success.

The forum is filled with lots of valuable threads on how to make fat stacks by any of the following (and more):
  • start an eCom business
  • make money through copywriting
  • make money by selling HTML websites to businesses
  • Make money by doing adwords
All of these are valid paths to building a business, but they come from people who are well suited to those activities. Many see the success that people like @Fox, @SinisterLex, @Andy Black, and @biophase have had and attempt to replicate it. They quickly find they were chasing riches rather than staying true to themselves, and the end result is that they achieve some mediocre success and have to move on.
Yes, I chose Ecommerce because I don't like selling and don't like talking to customers, I'm good at photography, I'm anal about quality...

I would suck at a copywriting business because I hate that style or writing.

I hate programming so I would never start a development business.

You have to find what works for you.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I chose Ecommerce because I don't like selling and don't like talking to customers
Now that you mention it, this was my thinking years ago when I had the chance to buy a limousine service.

I'm not a fan of salesmanship, talking to customers and being social. The opportunity didn't jive with my comforts so I passed.

The internet gave me the opportunity to leverage my better skill -- writing, email, and display communication.

At the end of the day, gravitate toward your strengths, acknowledge and improve your weaknesses, and unionize that with a need. Mission accomplished!
 

Elbert Dockery

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wow....this is an interesting thread.....I'm glad I read everyone's thought on this topic. Considering that we all made a CHOICE to separate ourselves from the "normal" part of society. But, as someone was hinting at....by nature we all have a little sheep in us. Sometimes when you don't know what to do(in my case as I'm trying to get my first customer) you read and or listen to people that seem like they know what they are doing. But that could hurt you because it might have been tailor-made for that specific person. But I guess that's the thin line between learning and researching things but still having the confidence within yourself to make a final decision. Excellent thread!
 

kiwiana

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When it comes to the markets, no one has the answers. No one, not even Buffett, Ackman, or Icahn. While those guys can move micro-markets, they can't predict macro-market movements. We're all equal.
Plus, can't forget that whatever some of the above mentioned experts say, they usually have a self-interested reason for saying it like when Ackman was trying to tank Herbalife because he had a short position in it. When I finally realized why they are so frequently speaking in the media, puts a whole different spin on their "advice".
 

kiwiana

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commercial real estate
I read some of your thinking about real estate and I'm glad you figured out it was not for you. Recently read the book Rework and I wonder where commercial RE is going with so many companies moving towards remote working environments. Probably unclear how it will shake out in commercial real estate.

I think residential rentals could still be good in some areas of the US. Takes a lot of work to set up but then it's quite passive with a property manager. But still requires interest in RE to sustain the work it will take to do it.
 
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kiwiana

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when the reality is that they aren't cut out for whatever type of business they are trying to replicate.
You have to find what works for you.
At the end of the day, gravitate toward your strengths, acknowledge and improve your weaknesses, and unionize that with a need.
So much value in these quotes. It's a big challenge to figure out what works for you though. Requires trying a lot (I think experimentation is probably the only way to know) and therefore failing a lot to figure it out. Maybe that's why it's hard work and people don't want to do it?
 

Andy Black

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So much value in these quotes. It's a big challenge to figure out what works for you though. Requires trying a lot (I think experimentation is probably the only way to know) and therefore failing a lot to figure it out. Maybe that's why it's hard work and people don't want to do it?
This has been my experience. Pick a direction and go. Come up for air and take stock. Listen and observe what others do, but know they are following their own paths. Find your own by moving down it rather than navel gazing.

The video in this thread was an aha moment for me:

Knowing yourself is super important. Sometimes that requires giving yourself space to think.
 
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Yes, I chose Ecommerce because I don't like selling and don't like talking to customers, I'm good at photography, I'm anal about quality...

I would suck at a copywriting business because I hate that style or writing.

I hate programming so I would never start a development business.

You have to find what works for you.
And that's the the key right there. I suspect that most people who see your success think that since you're doing so well, it's because it's the best business idea there is. But it's not that you think it's the best business ever - it's because it's the best business for you and your preferences.

I'm not a fan of salesmanship, talking to customers and being social. The opportunity didn't jive with my comforts so I passed.

The internet gave me the opportunity to leverage my better skill -- writing, email, and display communication.

At the end of the day, gravitate toward your strengths, acknowledge and improve your weaknesses, and unionize that with a need. Mission accomplished!
I sold my Software as a Service business for the same reason - I hated selling, talking to customers, managing my employee (just for a month and it was already enough), etc. Now that I think about it, I started this business because there was a guy saying how great SaaS businesses are. I bet he's an extrovert who loves talking with people and that's why he chose this business. I should have went into self-publishing the first moment I heard about it.

It's the same with real estate investing. It requires you to be pretty social and involves negotiation, both of which are not my strengths. If I had gone into real estate, I would have been an unhappy person today.
 

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