Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Podcast Episode – Meir Statman

With the Recent Events in Ukraine, Should I Make Changes to My Portfolio?

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

Author: Carl Richards

Risk is What’s Left Over

 

We are really good at managing risk by looking backward and preparing ourselves to handle a situation we’ve already seen. But we’re not very good at managing risk by looking forward and preparing ourselves for something we can’t even imagine.

The problem is, “something we can’t even imagine” is precisely what we need to be prepared for. Because risk is what’s left over after you think you’ve thought of everything.

It’s not the car you see coming that will kill you… it’s the one you don’t.

Bummer, right?

Let me be clear: This doesn’t mean you should cover yourself in bubble wrap and lock yourself in your house.

The point is simply to foster general resilience. You know—like an emergency fund.

And guess what, emergencies will happen. When they do, general resilience provides a margin of safety.

That’s what will protect you from the thing you never saw coming… not trying to predict the future and certainly not bubble wrap.

Normal Volatility

Imagine it’s a very still day, and you’re in a boat on the ocean.

There’s no wind.

No swell.

The water is as flat as a mirror.

The calm goes on just long enough for you to start to feel like it’s normal.

When a small wave finally comes… it feels big. When a regular wave comes… it feels huge.

As scary as it might feel, it’s important to remember that waves are normal.

In fact, occasional storms are normal.

And the last thing you want to do when you get into a storm is abandon ship.

Things Helped By Worry

Worry is a terrible strategy for solving problems.

But I have a confession to make: for a very long time, it was the only one I knew.

For example, each time I wrote a column for The New York Times, I was worried my editor would say, “Sorry, Carl, this just isn’t very good, I’m afraid that is the end of the Sketch Guy.” And then I would have to crawl under a rock, never to be heard from again.

I would bring my worries to my business partner (AKA wife). I would go on and on about, “What are we going to do if this happens?!” And when she seemed totally calm, I would say, “Aren’t you worried?!”

Because she’s generally unflappable, she would say, “I could be, if you want me to be, but I don’t see how it would help.”

It might feel like worrying helps. But as Shantideva put it:

“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you can’t solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”

Worrying endlessly about something that may or may not happen in the future doesn’t help. But making a plan for what to do if that thing comes to pass does.

So now, when I catch myself starting to worry—which is often—I try to sit down and make a plan. And then I take that plan, file it away, and stop thinking about it.

That’s it. I don’t need to worry about that scenario anymore, because I have a plan.

Next time you find yourself in one of those cycles of worry, remember what Shantideva said. Action is a strategy, worry is not. So make a plan, put it away for safekeeping, and get back to work.

Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Podcast Episode – Meir Statman

With the Recent Events in Ukraine, Should I Make Changes to My Portfolio?

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

Hill Investment Group