When to Unlearn What We Have Learned
We rely less and less on certain investing tools over time, but you have to master them first before casting them aside.
I spent about 11 years as an alpine ski racing coach. I mainly worked with high school and college-age kids. By this time, they had been in racing programs for at least 5-6 years and would spend 2-4 days a week on snow. They had more or less mastered fundamentals and technique, and had a decent sense of navigating a course at the fastest speed possible. I wasn’t working much with beginners.
At this time in their racing careers, I think the most common thing I would say to them was, “ok, now that you have mastered how to do this one thing, throw it out.” Many things you are taught early on don’t necessarily apply when you have invested a certain amount of time into a pursuit. Kids had to unlearn many things to go from a good skier navigating a course to a good racer looking to squeeze every one-hundredth of a second out of their finishing time.
The world of investing is no different. We, as investors, need to learn a core set of skills over time: Detach ourselves from our base emotions of fear and greed, read financial statements, identify competitive advantages, etc. Over time, we need to unlearn some of the lessons to improve our investing prowess.
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