Munger shares his wisdom at this year’s Daily Journal meeting
By Brian Flores,
During the most recent Daily Journal (NASDAQ:DJCO) investor meeting, Charlie Munger (Trades, Portfolio), as usual, was surrounded by people asking him questions to get a grasp on one of the best minds of his generation. In his direct, no-games style, Munger answered lots of questions, sharing his wisdom with the attendants. There were two questions, however, that stood out as I read the transcript. These questions deal not only with our investments, but our lives and the way we conduct them.
One question was “How can we reduce errors in life?”
avoid multitasking, Charlie Munger, clear your mind, constant search for wisdom, follow your passion, identifying the right opportunity, importance of patience in investing, investing in yourself, investment wisdom, life lessons, life wisdom, live frugal, long term investing, quality over quantity, recognize the luck factor, taking time to think, unclutter your mind and schedule, waiting for the fat pitch
“Warren and I and JP Guerin do two things. One, we spend a lot of time thinking. Our schedules are not crowded, and we look like academics more than businessmen. It is a soft life waiting for a few opportunities, and we seize them and are ok with waiting for a while and nothing happens. Warren is sitting on an empire, and all he has on his schedule is a haircut this week. He has plenty of time to think. Luckily so many of you groupies are so obscure, you’ll have plenty of time to think. Second, multitasking is not the highest quality thought man is capable of doing unless you’re chief nurse of hospital. If not, be satisfied with life in shallows. I didn’t have a number two plan; I wasn’t going to dance lead in Bolshoi Ballet or stand on the mound in Yankee Stadium. The constant search for wisdom or opportunity is important. It applies to personal life too. Most of you aren’t going to have five or six opportunities to marry a wonderful person. Most of you aren’t going to get one. Most of you get an ordinary chance, which leads to an ordinary result.”
It looks like a very simple answer, but as we analyze it, there are a lot of components here.
Taking the time to think: Many of us are living on a tight schedule, with the constant rushing and hurrying. These investors make the time to read, think and avoid procrastination and distractions. With this, they have been able to outrun other investors, including high-frequency traders and other hedge funds.
On living frugally: Munger and Warren Buffett are very famous for avoiding fancy lifestyles, even choosing hamburgers and soda over dinner courses. With this, they make it clear that once you reach a certain financial security, success is about enjoying what you do and being there with your family. I say a certain level because Munger has made it clear that he always wanted to leave poverty, so to have a certain degree of ambition is not a bad thing if it makes us better humans overall.
Avoid multitasking: Munger has previously stated that one of his biggest skills is the ability to concentrate for long periods of time on a single task. If we do not divide our attention, we can achieve more and in less time. To achieve this, however, we must shun common distractions such as our mobile phones for example.
Find and follow your passion: As Munger said, he had no Plan B. He was willing to give investing all he got, acquiring all the skills he deemed necessary to do so successfully. The first step is to recognize our talents, which are generally found in activities that we enjoy and would do without any other incentive.
Recognize the luck factor: Buffett has always mentioned that he won the ovarian lottery. Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers,” mentions that we cannot take out the luck and circumstances factors away from extraordinary success. Even though he discusses marriage, his remarks apply to every aspect of our lives.