Taking Stock of Your Personal Habits
I recently had a conference call with my publisher Doug Hill.
During it, he asked me a direct question: “What are you personally investing in today?”
It’s a great question. And although I can’t share specifics of my personal portfolio with you, I can provide you with the general, and extremely important, guidelines that I follow when investing.
When we talk about “investing,” we often do so from a monetary perspective – I am investing in ABC stock, I am investing in gold, etc.
I believe this mindset is very limiting. It suggests that provided you put your money in the right places, you will end up “secure” and with “peace of mind.”
I have met many people who have loads of money and little if any peace of mind. But what good is being rich if you’re miserable?
Everyone knows this inherently, which is why when we talk about investing our money well, we’re usually doing so with the goal of obtaining “quality of life.”
But money isn’t the only thing that gets us there.
Invest Your Time and Energy Wisely
When it comes to investing to obtain quality of life, you need to think about other things besides just money. Specifically, you need to think about how and where you invest your time and energy.
Are you investing your time and energy in things that get you closer to the quality of life you want… or are you simply coasting through life assuming that you’ll somehow end up being the person you want to be, living the life you want to live, by chance?
There is no “buy and hold” investing when it comes to our time and energy.
You cannot simply say, “I want to be fluent in a second language,” and then wait for it to happen. Accomplishing anything – whether it’s learning a new language, becoming a day trader, or finding peace – requires active, daily choice.
Personally, I’ve decided to consciously invest my time and energy in things that are geared toward “quality of life.”
For me personally, this has meant intentionally choosing to avoid people that don’t bring anything positive to my life.
If someone is dishonest multiple times in front of me – a person I know directly or a talking head on TV – I choose to avoid that person. Why invest my time and energy in someone who isn’t willing to be truthful?
Similarly, if I find that something has a negative effect on me, I try to avoid it as much as I can.
What good is watching the news to “be informed” if it only puts me in a terrible frame of mind that makes me unpleasant to be around? How does that improve my quality of life?
You only have 24 hours a day, of which a handful are free to you outside of work and responsibilities. Why invest those precious hours in things that don’t make your life better?
So for me personally, I’ve been using the last 12 weeks to invest my time and energy in things that make my life better. This has made me a better person, which in turn has resulted in me having a more positive impact on those around me. And in the grand scheme of things, that makes the world a better place.
In terms of personal habits, I’ve been working out a lot more. I try to read more rather than watch TV. And I’ve started journaling for both the purpose of writing down significant events in my life and my family’s lives, and to track my progress on the various projects and habits I’m working on.
The great irony of all of this? Investing my time and energy wisely has had a profound impact on my success in the financial markets.
A Positive Life Can Lead to a Positive Portfolio
My own trading is dramatically impacted by my state of mind. If I’m tired or in a negative state of mind, it doesn’t matter how good the setups are, I don’t perform well.
In contrast, when I invest my time and energy wisely, I approach the markets from a well-grounded and neutral state of mind that allows me to be more flexible and precise with my trading.
The results are incredible.
My biggest losers/worst days have occurred during those negative periods.
My biggest winning streaks/portfolio growth have occurred when I’m maintaining discipline with how I invest my time and energy.
And that’s the key: discipline.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no “buy and hold” investing when it comes to time and energy.
You have to choose how to invest those things on a daily basis. And I can tell you from personal experience, the better you invest your time and energy, the better your monetary investing performance will be.
And best of all, you will obtain that quality of life you’re seeking.
Editor, Money & Crisis