One rainy afternoon in 1940, an inspired 15-year old boy named John Goddard sat down at his kitchen table in Los Angeles and wrote three words at the top of a yellow pad, "My Life List." Under that heading he made a list of everything he wanted to achieve.
In the words of that celebrated US Philosopher, Elvis Presley, “we need a little less conversation and a little more action please”.
Attention is a precious resource.
And as with any resource, scarcity creates value.
In the digital age where noise is everywhere, those who can capture the most attention are said to win.
In Leo Tolstoy’s great novel ‘War and Peace’, a Russian general charged with defeating Napoleon and expelling the French from Russian soil argued against rushing into battle, saying the strongest of all warriors were “time and patience”.
Kids do it all day long. “Mum, can I have this, go there, do this, do that, please, please, please?” They can be relentless. And it works for them!
It sounds simple, but the act of asking is actually very difficult for many of us.
I like camping. I hire all sorts of gear. One year I was encouraged to hire a dog as a companion and protector. The dog’s name was “Worker” and he cost me $5 a day. “Worker” was a great investment – loyal, dedicated and great company.
The truth is, ambitious goals can intimidate and demoralise as much as they can motivate and inspire. Big goals can seem overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s just simpler and less stressful not to make any promises!
In between thinking about what I was going to do on the weekend and just plain staring out the window, I did actually learn something in Year 11 Biology. There was survival of the species, the structure and function of living things and the evolution of these systems.
Successful businesses constantly take inventory. They look to see what is selling and what’s just sitting on the shelf. They find out where they get a good return on their investment in time, effort and shelf space. They look at the stuff that's just collecting dust. If they can’t move it, it gets marked down to whatever price it takes to get rid of it.
“It can’t be that simple, surely”, is something I hear a lot.
People just assume that money management is complex. That’s no surprise really, as the traditional financial industry is built on the premise that complexity equals value or to be more pointed, the more complex the solution, the more someone should pay for it. The industry is very willing to sell you this crap. The media don’t help either as eye-grabbing content sells.