I listened to a great podcast from the TED radio hour on the benefits of failure – YES, failure. The link is below.
Something the speakers addressed is the following tension. On the one hand we are risk- and, thus, failure-averse. We long for safety. On the other hand, everything that makes life interesting requires risking failure. New products, businesses, and stories worth telling would never happen without risking failure. To truly live requires we continue risking failure.
Which brings me to what we do at Foster Group. I’m new to this industry and I’m studying for something called the Series 65 exam. It’s a test associated with the buying, selling and advising on securities. One of the focus areas on the test is related to risk. If I’m reading the information correctly, there are all kinds of risk associated with investing.
While our mission at Foster Group is to establish a high probability of success, there is no way to remove all risk when investing. And, as I was listening to the podcast last night, it dawned on my I-just-want-to-be-safe self that this may be a good thing. Why? Because there’s a level of “success” that’s unattainable without risking failure.
When it comes to investing – a practice that is inherently risky – the questions might be, “Why am I risking failure? For what purpose? What is the success I’m hoping for that makes this risk worth it?” My guess is the success you long for in your financial planning moves beyond the performance of your portfolio or a growing bottom line, though these are nice things!
So, here’s another way of asking the question – a framework that might help you think about true success and the need to continue risking failure: “What stories do I want my kids, grandkids and friends to tell about me that would make the risk of investing worth the possibility of failure?”
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