Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Pieces of the Puzzle

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. 
Don't lose faith. 

Steve Jobs
When most young children are given a puzzle to solve or put together that is especially challenging, most will make a good effort at solving it, but if unsuccessful, will soon lose interest and abandon it. Some will even become angry at their failure to solve it and may throw a tantrum.

Contrast that with the experienced puzzle player (Editors Note: read experienced investor / trader) who proceeds to put the puzzle together with an air of certain confidence that they will complete it. They know that they have all of the pieces of the puzzle before them so it is only a matter of finding out which pieces work where and once that’s done the puzzle will be complete. Putting a piece in the wrong place is not a cause for concern, it is simply another step toward putting all of the pieces in their proper place.

I think of all the times in my life when I acted like a young child in dealing with the current markets or investing puzzle. Instead of turning over and trying the next piece, I got angry and walked away from the puzzle, seeing the puzzle as a problem instead of as an opportunity.

Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, knew Thomas Edison and Henry Ford personally. He said of both men that the ONLY thing that was different about them from everyone else was their persistence. Which gives rise to an interesting thought. Where would our civilization be today if either man had treated his puzzles like the impatient young child?

If you don’t have all of the pieces of your puzzle on the table, then stop, identify them and get them on the table before proceeding. If, however, you’ve got them on the table, then take the approach of the experienced puzzle player (investor). When they don’t fit --- don’t quit --- try another piece or move them to another place. While you’re at it, learn another valuable lesson from great puzzle players. They don’t just enjoy completing the puzzle, they delight in putting it together.

Napoleon Hill thought Persistence was a pretty important key to success --- he used the word 97times in Think and Grow Rich and he devoted an entire chapter to it. Some of his wisdom includes, "The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard, and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on DESPITE all opposition, until they attain their goal. These few are the Fords, Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Edisons. There may be no heroic connotation to the word “persistence,” but the quality is to the character of man what carbon is to steel.”

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