What Different Jobs Can Teach You About Investing

As investors, we often make the mistake of only concentrating our reading towards the fields of finance, business and economics. This is a huge mistake as it is more productive to read around one’s field than in one’s field. By learning about different fields of work, you increase your worldly wisdom as well as look at the bigger picture. With this in mind, these are some things you can learn from others professions.

  1. Biologist: All environments change, and the best protection against those changes is the ability to adapt.
  2. Gambler: Bet when others think the odds of success are low (that’s where there’s big payoffs) but be able to survive when those other people are right most of the time.
  3. Politician: The winner is not always the most accurate, but the most persuasive.
  4. Engineer: Break down a complex problem into its simplest series of steps.
  5. Therapist: What people present to the world is a tiny fraction of what’s going on inside their head.
  6. Pilot: Ninety percent of the job is uneventful to the point of automation; ten percent of the job is terrifying and requires complex skills and a flawlessly calm demeanor.
  7. Lawyer: No argument is ever 100% air tight.
  8. Cop: By the time people get caught they’ve probably committed a crime dozens, maybe hundreds, of times. The bad behaviour you hear about is a small fraction of the bad behaviours that occurs.
  9. Accountant: You can lie more easily with numbers than you can with words. People associate numbers with math, and math with facts, leading them to be more gullible with numbers than they are when confronted with words alone.
  10. Waiter: Incentives are powerful when your pay depends on the ability to satisfy customers this moment.
  11. Customer service rep: Patience often stops short of the ability to realise how difficult other people’s jobs are.
  12. Financial advisor: People think they want expert advice, but what they really want is advice that sounds like something an expert would say.
  13. Pediatrician: You don’t know how important communication is until your customers are incapable of talking you.
  14. Banker: The combination of leverage and a momentum can make ordinary people look extraordinarily talented.
  15. Cab driver: Nothing teaches the concept customer acquisition cost better than driving across town to pick someone up for a $4 fare.
  16. Construction worker: You cannot argue with physics.
  17. Poet: Quality does not scale with the number of inputs. You can make a more powerful point in 10 words than you can 10,000.
  18. Doctor: The cumulative effects of small daily habits – both good and bad – add up to something enormous over time.
  19. Dietician: Solutions to problems can be shockingly simple; Getting people to adhere to simple solutions can be shockingly difficult.
  20. Psychologist: People are amazingly good at convincing themselves of things that are untrue but justify unpleasant parts of their lives.