2 Uncanny Quotes that Make You a Better Investor

Throughout my years of investing, I have come across thoughtful quotes which are useful for the Foolish investor. These quotes may not have started off as advice meant for investing, but as in life, we can take inspiration from the most unlikely sources. I would like to present two of them below, in no particular order:

Quote from the late Nelson Mandela:

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Warren Buffett once quipped, “Be greedy when others are fearful, and be fearful when others are greedy”. The investing maestro may have meant well with his advice, but in reality, his words are pretty hard to follow. One reason for this difficulty is that fear tends to set in quickly when stocks crash. The resulting emotional pain of financial losses often overwhelms the desire for future financial gains.

This is where we can be comforted by the words of the late Mandela. We can perhaps never be rid of fear when the markets crash, but the courage to act is not in the absence of fear. What matters more is how we manage the inevitable fear which comes with the territory.

Quote from the late Steve Jobs:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

Likewise, looking for the best companies for your portfolio involves saying “no” to hundreds of other investing opportunities that come your way. That’s because we may not have a competitive edge in all the investing ideas that appear.  If we are willing to throw most ideas into a “too hard” pile. we can arrive at the few that we can focus on.

Investing is also not an area where the most difficult ideas yield the best results. The interest of the Foolish investor would be better served in finding simpler ideas that can compound wealth over the long term – and to do so involves saying “no” to a lot of mediocre investing ideas that come along.

Foolish take away

There are life lessons all around us where we can take inspiration from. If we can apply these insights in the most useful manner, we stand a better chance to beat Singapore’s market benchmark, the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI), over the longer term. Learn more quotable investing sound bites through a free subscription to Take Stock Singapore. Sign up here to The Motley Fool’s weekly investing newsletter that will teach you how to grow your wealth in the years ahead.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.