Why This Investor Is a Stock Market Optimist

“The stock market always goes down faster than it goes up, but it always goes up more than it goes down.”

“The stock market always goes down faster than it goes up, but it always goes up more than it goes down.”

We are living in the midst of real-world events with real-world consequences, and it can be hard to see a bright future under these conditions. But once again, as investors and as humans on this planet, time is our friend.

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This video was recorded on March 16, 2022.

David Gardner: Market got you down, let’s talk about it. This week only on Rule Breaker Investing.

Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing, I’m David Gardner, thanks for joining me. During this most volatile of market weeks, I’ve pushed aside my normal agenda this week for Rule Breaker Investing and let’s make the podcast speak to the market a little bit and what’s happening in the world at large. Probably the most frequently asked question that I get, not just this week but really every week, any given week, maybe you get this too. People ask: “Hey, what do you think of the market? Where’s the market headed? What’s the market going to be doing?” Since I don’t really have any intelligent answer to that question, what I’ve learned over the course of time to do is largely to ignore the question and talk not about what the market is going to be doing because it will be doing something. I’m just never sure what it will be doing but the market always goes down faster than it goes up yet it always goes up more than it goes down, pretty obvious. Anytime you have something that’s gaining 9 to 10% per year over a century, you can expect it’s going to go up, and indeed the market is reflecting the growth of innovation, technology, wealth worldwide over the course of the last century and that’s why I have great confidence in the market over the next century because we will all continue to grow and to prosper together.

Great businesses will come along, more great entrepreneurs will start things you and I can’t even dream off, and add value to the world. That’s what’s happening with the stock market: The market always goes up, of course, over time more than it goes down. But what’s the first part of the line that I just delivered to you? The market always goes down faster than it goes up. That creates a lot of fear among people. It also is a great headline generator, a lot of clickbait headlines across the internet and newspapers for years talking about fear around the market and the market going down. We all know for yourselves, maybe that’s part of the reason by the way that a lot of people who don’t pay much attention to the stock market distrust it because their experience of the market is during times like this where we all hear about fears and global fears around the stock market and stocks declining, and yet the stock market is the best place for your money to be, so the stock market always goes down faster than it goes up, but it always goes up more than it goes down. That’s really important to keep in mind both of those thoughts, especially during a week like this one. Why the pregnant pause? Well, I thought I’d stop because that is a direct reading of the transcript of my podcast from Aug. 26, 2015.

I wanted to start this week’s show with a reminder that this, too, shall pass. We have seen market declines before, we are seeing them right now, they will happen again in future. But it was awfully fun for me to go back to the transcript of a show we did in the summer of 2015. Anybody think of that as a big bear market time. Well, at the time, it didn’t feel good at all and it generated the exact lines that I just shared with you in that podcast nearly seven years ago. Now I certainly don’t mean to suggest that 2015 felt as dire as some of 2022 has felt. Every situation is different. But if you really you are playing the game that I play, and I hope you are, the long game, you’ll recognize that every chapter has a new story but the stories, if you’re looking for patterns, tend to recur. For me, just a glance at a line showing the stock market’s performance over decades, the only meaningful time frame that I care about, you see lower left to upper right, but whenever you zoom in and look at a given year or a given few years, sometimes you see the jagged down.

I wanted to speak to where the market is right now. I think I have three main points, short points up front, I want to speak to this week. If all you want to hear is what I think about where the market is or how you should be acting as an investor, you can skip probably the back half of this podcast because the second half is just about the world today. I want to think out loud with you about where the world is today. Of course, that connects back into the market, but let’s just stick with the market points by three points up front. Point No. 1 is a phrase that I have used and reuse for decades, not just on this podcast which only started in 2015, but since we started The Motley Fool Tom and I, in 1993. I figured this out through my readings early on, I’ve applied it back to the stocks innumerable times. If you’re a regular listener you’ve heard this before, but sometimes you need to hear it during the downdraft to really cogitate about it, to be able to reflect in an emotionally real and raw way. That is that psychologists have taught us through behavioral economics, this has been repeated over and over, that the pain of loss is three times the joy of gain.

Now it’s one thing to say that, when the market is doing great, as it has many years in the last 30 or so, but it’s especially important to remember it when the market is not doing so great. Raise your hand if one of the last few years, at least one of those years, your stock market portfolio — and I hope you’ve been following along with Fool advice, and if so I bet you you hit this bogey — if your stock market portfolio in one of the last few years, maybe more than one of them, was up 30% or more in one year, raise your hand. Wow, looking out across planet Earth right now, I see a lot of hands raised, and isn’t that a wonderful feeling? And yet if you’re like me, in just the last six months, your stock market portfolio in less than six months, mine I calculated it today, less than six months, my stock market portfolio is down just about exactly 30% overall. I have to reflect, I hope along with you, that we can recognize together that when our portfolios were up 30%, it felt great. It felt worth paying for that advice. It felt like something that we’d earned and something that happens naturally. Indeed as I took pains to start this podcast this week, reminding us the stock market does go up more than it goes down over time. But we took those 30% gains in stride.

When you have the exact same amount of money that you’ve lost, a lot of us all of a sudden, if you see some social media, if you follow the coverage of the markets, think that is horrific and should never have happened and wonder whether we should have ever gotten started investing in the first place. Now I certainly can feel for those who just started their investing journeys one year ago, or let’s say four or five months ago because at least I’m down 30%. But that is the exact same 30% as I achieved in a number of years leading up to this year, and news headline: There will be 30% gains in the future. Now, I don’t really mean to lock in on 30% other than it’s a number I’m feeling right now, but I think the key number and I already used it, 9 to 10% annualized returns over time with the stock market and that means you stayed on the roller coaster all the way up and then sometimes all the way down, but back up again. Point No. 1, right up front reminding all of us psychologists have proven, and I’m here to remind you of that this week, that the pain of loss for human beings — this isn’t just true of money in the markets but it is — is three times the joy of gain. Yet as I have often hastened to add with the stock market the math flips, because the pain of loss can never be more than 100% unless you’re doing something really silly, but the joy of gain can be infinite: 1,000%, 3,000%, it’s unlimited.

If you can get past your human psychology and remind yourself of the simple math that makes your money go up over time if you just let it, you will with me, I hope, be happy to sit on your hands perhaps throughout 2022 and beyond.

Speak to the market short point No. 2. Actually I’m going to separate this into 2a and 2b. Because these are two oft-cited, to me over used bits of slightly faulty numerical advice. Let’s go to 2a. The first one — and this is true and you’ll read it in investment history books and you’ll hear pundits and smart analysts quote this thing over time — but I’m about to poke holes in it. You ready? It’ll be something along these lines. You know if you had bought stocks at the peak, it took you 18 years to get back to even, if you’re a student of the markets. If you’re somebody who’s followed this overtime I bet you’ve heard that said of the great depression or the great financial recession or other periods generally in U.S. market history but it’s also true across the world, you’ll hear this thing and it makes it sound like I think to the average person reading and listening, somebody who doesn’t really think much beyond twice about this. It makes it sound as if you probably shouldn’t invest in the market because sometimes it can take you two decades of your life to get back to even.

Here’s why I want to poke holes at what I consider to be pretty bad perspective and advice. Because the assumption is that you had all of your money in the market at the very peak of it and you didn’t do anything except just wait the proverbial 18 years to get back to even. But if you’re listening to The Motley Fool, if you’re listening to Rule Breaker Investing, if you’re hearing our advice, if you’re a wage earner, through those 18 years, you should have kept and you should be keeping investing all the way through. Let’s talk about what actually happens over those 18 years. I think if you want to picture with me a stock graph, you’re seeing the market peak and then it starts going down and hits a trough, let’s say after a few years, and then it takes a long 15-year run back up to get back to even. But if you are investing every single month, through every one of those years, you are actually going to crush the market and be way past even 18 years later. Because while you may have had all of your money at the very start invested in the market, you kept making money. Even if you’re not earning money, maybe you’re getting dividends and you keep reinvesting those dividends. So you are actually benefiting from your constant persistent dollar-cost averaging all the way through that 18-year period. Whatever number you want to plug into your spreadsheet, you’ll see you are way, way ahead of where you started on day 1, 18 years before. So I’m poking holes at two bits of conventional wisdom.

The first one is that true statement that, at certain points if you want to pick the highest the market ever hit and then wait more than a decade to get back to that point, you’re right. But what you’re missing and how you’re misleading people is that you’re not pointing out that people could have been investing persistently all the way through that trough and end up way ahead 18 years later. So that’s 2a.

2b, sort of a similar sentiment, but here it comes. I bet you’ve heard this one, too, student of the market. You know, when a stock goes down 50%, it has to double to get back to even. So during times like the last few months when we see a given stock or our portfolios loses significant percent, if you do the math, let’s just say a stock was at 200 and drops to 100, so it’s lost 50% of its value from that place, 100. It now needs to go up 100% to, as they say, get back to even. Mathematically true, yet my experience is that that happens over and over and will surprise you sometimes how quickly you get back to even. How quickly that stock gets back to where it had been which even if it was 100% gain, if it’s a good company, it’ll keep going from there. What you really have when you have pundits talk about when a stock or your portfolio loses a significant percentage, they’re so focused on the short term.

They’re just thinking about whatever near term percentage is needed to get you back to the proverbial even. I really worry that that shakes people out of the market. They think, “Oh my gosh now I need to double to get back where I was. I think I’m going to sell. That sounds daunting.” Well as somebody who bought amazon.com at $3.21 in 1997 watched it go to 95, which was amazing a few years later. And then from 95 to 7. I kept holding. But at 7, I guess I would have needed the stock to go up more than 10x to even get back to what had once been even. I needed to get from seven back to 95. But here’s the beauty of it, Amazon didn’t just go from 7 to 95, it went from 7-3,000, if you just kept holding and not focused on silly percentages that it takes to get you back to even. So with both 2a and 2b, I want to point out the math of it is true, but the human reaction to the cold math is untrue. It’s misleading and I don’t like it when statistics are put out there that cause people to make bad decisions.

Nvidia has dropped from 340 to 220 in the last five months or so. That’s really bad. It’s down 35%. So now it’s going to have to go up more than 50% to get back to where it was. Guess what? It’s done that dozens of times over the last 20 years that we’ve held the stock.

Apple has gone from 180 at recent highs to the low 150s, not as bad as Nvidia. That’s only 16% only. It doesn’t ever feel good to watch one-sixth of your holding get lopped off in value in just a few months, which is what’s happened even to Apple. Yet how many times over the course of decades has Apple reverted back, not just to its old highs but to new highs? One of my top holdings, I’m thinking about this one in particular right now, Netflix touched 700 just a few months ago. Right now, it’s below 350. It’s lost more than 50% of its value in just a few months. Yet my experience of Netflix having held the stock from the low single digits is that a number of times it went way up, came way back down. You would have had to more than double your money to get back to even and good news, you 10x-ed your money or 50x-ed your money from there. Now I’m highlighting great companies and that’s actually how I want to close short point number 2, not every company does come back, but we don’t invest in every company. As fellow Rule Breakers we’re finding excellence. We’re finding the companies that pass your snap test. We’re looking for the real world-shapers. These are the companies that always come back as the world comes back and the markets come back. So don’t be daunted by the notion that you might have to wait 18 years to get back to even if you’re still investing all the way through. And don’t be daunted by the notion that a great company like Netflix, down 50%, very real, would have to go up 100% or more even to get you back where you were before. It’s happened before and it will all happen again and again. That’s the voice of experience. This isn’t Pollyanna speaking to you.

This is somebody who, well in his mid 50s anyway. I know there are a lot of older hands listening to me who are nodding their heads along with me — 55 is old enough to have seen several market cycles and exactly what happens over and over again, and why some people fall off the train or jump off the roller coaster while those who are becoming smarter, happier and richer stay in because they can see through other’s math.

All right. Short point No. 3, market points the final one up front this week. I’m going to call this Pascal’s wager in investment approach. So some of you may know this, Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French mathematician, philosopher, etc. because he was a true renaissance man. Pascal once argued that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. Because if God does not exist, Pascal pointed out, such a person will have only a finite loss. Let’s say some pleasures, some luxury etc. whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains as represented by eternity in heaven and avoid infinite losses and eternity in hell. So a rational person should live as though God exists. Now I’ve always found that kind of fun. It can be looked at cynically like is that real belief if you’re just going to believe based on the wager, based on the probabilities that would favor making a certain choice, but I’ve also kind of loved that. In fact, let me point out, Pascal published that in his posthumous Pensees, that’s French for thoughts.

Pascal was a genius, by the way, who died at 39. Wow, what a life. But I want to apply this to investing, Pascal’s wager and investment approach. It always seems smart to me to stay invested in stocks because one of two things happens in the future: The world continues to be, in the words of Kevin Kelly, a protopia, we make infinitesimal gains from day to day, wrapped up over centuries we see huge growth in humanity, in technology, in longevity, in our understanding of medicine, in our understanding of ourselves, in our understanding of the world at large and the cosmos. We begin taking things like cures for cancer for granted. We take iPhones for granted. But if you’d step back 50 years, you would see, wow, that’s a miracle from that vantage point.

So If you want to stay invested as I do in the future, you’re making a bet that the future will work out. If the future does not work out, I’ve always said — I think Tom’s said this as well, maybe many of you have as well — if the future doesn’t work out, you know, your stock market portfolio is going to be the least of your concerns. So it’s always seemed smart with Pascal to wager for the market, to stay invested because we’re betting on a good future and if we’re wrong, our money and our stock market money won’t make much of a difference anyway. So I don’t know if that provides you any respite, any solace during this time, but it’s always been my mentality. It’s sort of a Pascal’s wager approach, and for me it helps me stay optimistic and stay in the markets. And guess what? History has shown lower left to upper right, that that’s been the right bet to make.

To close up this part of the podcast, my three points this week, 30% up overall versus 30% down overall, the same financial value or loss, but totally different psychological reactions, and we know which direction the market goes over time. Point No. 2, don’t get misled by studies that say that it’ll take you 18 years to get back to even, or don’t get hoodwinked by this notion that just to get back to even, your stock would have to double at this point. It probably will do that and more as a natural consequence of its excellence, if it’s an excellent company. And finally, remember Pascal’s wager, the reason to stay long is long is really the only thing that makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, who really cares about money and stock market portfolios? We titled this podcast and I let off of this phrase, “Market got you down?” If the market’s got you down, I hope I got you thinking the market got your back. By the way, I should mention for those who are about to exit next week, the market cap game show, really looking forward to our quarterly competition. Three guest stars joining me — two of them, of course, contestants playing the game. The third guest star is you because you play the game along with us.

The market caps, they are a-changing. I’m looking forward to playing the game and learning together on Rule Breaker Investing‘s market cap game show next week.

But if you’re still listening to me now then let’s talk about the world today. Because it’s really hard to isolate finance or the markets and silo them or talk about them in a vacuum in a way that’s not connected to what’s happening around the world because surely these things are all connected. That’s why I feel compelled this week to share three more points. The first three points were about the markets. The final three points are about the world today. A disclaimer up front. I am just an investor. I am not a foreign policy professional. I do not play one on TV and I’m not trying to impress anybody with my understanding of how the world works, but I do want you to know like you, I’m an investor, which means I have to come up with a few different theories or frameworks that helped guide me and I feel compelled to share them with you as I do every week. But in particular this week. I have three thoughts about our world today. Here’s the first: I want to confess to you two stories that have shaped me and shaped my view of the world, shaped my optimistic view of the world. One of them I’ve told before in this podcast years ago. The other I don’t think I’ve ever told.

Let’s start with the one I’ve never told. It’s a short one. But I will always remember a family supper at Le Steak restaurant in the neighborhood of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. a restaurant I love that no longer exists. But I’ll always remember a family supper that took place there, somewhere around my high school years. Early 1980s and my father was talking about the Cold War that night at supper during the Cold War and he a lawyer, not a foreign policy strategist, but an investor to like you and me. I listened, he was saying something that seemed pretty radical to me at the time and heartwarming. He was saying that if the Cold War ever did break out into a real war, a number of the Soviet satellite countries at the time and their so-called allies would likely flip and come to our side. Indeed before that decade was out, starting with Romania, tossing out Ceaucescu with Gorbachev and Glasnost. Then the Berlin Wall coming tumbling down before the decade was out. Dad was basically right and he showed me the power of optimism and also his excellent foresight. There’s no substitute for growing up in a Cold War environment and then watching it all fall apart for reasons that are very human and should give you and me a great deal of hope. Thank you, Dad, and that’s one of the two stories that has shaped me as I share with you thoughts about our world today.

The second is when I told, let me check it now, Campfire Stories Volume 2 for Rule Breaker Investing. The date was February 1st of 2017 and I told my story of my visit to Syria as a young man. I’m pretty sure most of you hearing me right now, don’t remember that story if you’re even listening to this podcast more than five years ago. Here’s what happened to me as a young man. I and a couple of friends in the year 1989 traveled to the Middle East as tourists as young kids out of college wanting to see some of the world. At one point we made it to the capital, Damascus, and we rented a car because we didn’t have tour guides. There’s no GPS back then. I don’t think there were many tourist travel guides talking about how to travel through Syria. We were roughing it in the best old school way and learning a lot as we went.

We rented a car in Damascus, and our aim was to drive to the ancient city ruins of Palmyra, which back then were spectacular. They’ve been somewhat damaged unfortunately by events since. In order to get to Palmyra, you have to drive up the what’s today, M45 to Homs in Syria. We had a great time at Palmyra, and we drove back that night intending to drive from Homs back to Damascus. It was dark, that highway doesn’t contain a lot of lights as you’re driving along at night. I was sitting in the shotgun seat with my friend Charles driving on my left and our friend Tom, his brother in the back seat — Charles, Tom, and I driving back at night toward Damascus. All of a sudden with Charles driving, the car from my standpoint started lurching like crazy, Charles was hitting the brake.

It sounded like tha-thump, tha-thump underneath the car. He was braking hard and came to a stop right on the highway, fortunately, there weren’t really any cars around other than ours, but as we stopped, we began to open our doors to get out and see what was happening and charging toward us were a number of flashlights cutting through the night air. We had no idea they were coming right toward us. We had no idea what was happening. The flashlights were, of course, held by men and a couple of the men ran right past Charles our driver, and went into the car and began trying to turn the car back on. Blinking away my surprise, it didn’t take much more than 30 to 60 seconds to realize a couple of things.

First of all, we had missed a checkpoint, there was a guard checkpoint, there were rock cairns set up on the highway, we were supposed to divert off the highway to check-in at the guardpost. Second, the guards were completely friendly, they were running toward us to help us get our car restarted, and indeed they failed at that, but they then invited us to spend the night in the guardhouse with them. They were very hospitable. They served us some hot coffee.

I remember black-and -white television of old American reruns that they were watching. It was a cross-cultural experience. The next day, a couple of those guards generously towed us in our dead car all the way back to Damascus on their dime, where they deposited us at the front door of the rental agency where we had rented our car, where we then had a conversation with the very distinguished, gentlemanly owner of that car agency. His No. 1 message to us was that he was so sorry that this had happened to us in their nation. We were their guests and what we like another Peugeot? If you think about how Western media has — at various points, understandably and at other times, I think not so much — treated the Middle East treated its coverage. You might be shocked to hear that story as we came back to America. We were wondering kind of giggling out loud, how would we have been treated by American car rental agencies if we had brought back the car that we had wrecked through our own negligence? Pretty sure we wouldn’t have got that kind of hospitality from American car rental agencies. Anyway, my point is not to cast aspersions or to judge, it’s to tell the second story of mine that also shaped me as a young man and helped me realize, leading in now to point No. 2, that the good guys outnumber the bad guys. The good guys outnumber the bad guys always have, always will. It’s not even close.

Here’s a sad but interesting fact one in 44 Americans couldn’t vote in the year 2020. In our 2020 election. One in 44, Americans were not allowed to vote because they are convicted felons, one in 44. Here’s the good news: 43 in 44 of us are not convicted felons. There might be some bad apples among us, but the vast majority, the good guys outnumber the bad guys. Now if you look at media coverage, convicted felons generally make the headlines. We first hear a story of something gone wrong. We then try to figure out who did it. Good news more often than not, we do find out who did it. Sometimes we get it wrong, which is very sad, but most of the time, I think we get it right. And then we read the stories about what happened and sometimes they get covered with their background and how it led us. And so it’s focused us on the bad guys and I see that in business coverage as well. Enron is a much bigger story than NextEra Energy, which is a winning successful energy company today, a longtime rule breaker and yet most of the world could identify and tell you very little about NextEra Energy and a lot more about Enron, and that’s because of media coverage. If it bleeds, it leads as you and I know. And it causes us to mistake the amount of truly well-intentioned people, the goodwill in this world, which far outshines the bad will.

Which brings us to the present state of Russia and Ukraine. Is it not evident to us all how much the good guys outnumber the bad guys right now? Not only that, but this is even more important, the good guys out-economy, the bad guys too.

For very logical reasons, too. Good guys like to trade with each other and grow prosperous together. People don’t really want to work with the bad guys, and their economies typically don’t do very well. Russia’s economy, highly dependent on natural, not human resources, has no recognizable culture of demonstrated entrepreneurism globally. Try to name Russian products in your market with Russian brands that you appreciate, It’s hard to think of even one. Second, of course, this is related: Russia’s GDP, which is stagnating is today about 1/10 that of the United States 10 years ago.

So the good guys just don’t outnumber the bad guys, they outdo them economically. Again, it’s not even close. I think ultimately one thing that’s likely to occur, I’m not going to claim prescience to say nothing of omnicience about what’s going to happen in the future, but one thing I think is going to increasingly become obvious and that is the economic damage that Putin is doing is incalculable and still pretty invisible. We’re more focused on bombs and what city is being attacked today but the invisibility of how Russia’s poor economy is collapsing, I think, will become increasingly evident. Russia has already obviously lost by any meaningful definition, and it cannot be reversed. I do think pride goeth before the fall here and and it was a misplaced pride at that, because Apple’s market cap is almost twice the GDP of Russia. These are not statistics or a few points you’ll see in the coverage day to day of what’s happening with the war.

I realize comparing a market cap to a GDP is apples to oranges, yes they’re both fruits, but they’re different. But still going back to a much younger me in the 1980s, if you were there with me, can you even imagine saying back then that one day, the market cap of Apple would be almost twice the GDP of Russia. That’s astonishing and it’s real. Again, point No. 1, two stories that I think have shaped my optimism that I wanted to share with you. Then point No. 2 to close this one up, the good guys outnumber the bad guys. I think leadership in the modern era is about what you can enable your economy to do. For world leaders, what can you enable your people to do? Your people enable?

Finally point No. 3, I’ve spent a lot of time looking hard at the language of the markets. In recent weeks. I’ve once again shared with you my pet peeves around words like correction and names. Well, let me give you a couple more because I don’t know if the media will listen or not, but I want to encourage you to maybe rethink the language that we are using. I’m going to pick on two words that have been often repeated in headlines and the modern memory in the past decade or two. The first is the word “terrorist,” which by the way, was first used in the way we use it today less than 100 years ago. It was right around I think was 1944.

I’m checking my entomology dictionaries that that word was first used in the sense that we use it today. But I think it’s the wrong word. I don’t like to accord to people who are cowards the power of terrorizing others. I really don’t like the word terrorist because I don’t think it’s true. I think people who surprise other people, who hurt innocent people, are cowards, not so-called terrorists. I realize this word doesn’t exist yet but I think of “cowardist” whenever I hear that T word. I would encourage you to ask yourself whether that might not be a better word. Related to that, a second word we think of this all the time these days with autocracies in our world, the word “strongman.” We say this or that person is a strongman, an autocratic leader of a repressive nation. I don’t think that’s strength, I think that’s weakness. If you’re not willing to sit within 40 feet of people around you, that’s not strong. The center of that is weakness. The center of terrorism is cowardice. The center of the strongman is really the weak man. I think about the repressive countries today, specifically the truth, propaganda. Just imagine if you were an autocratic leader trying constantly to hide the truth, constantly to repress the truth. Imagine how insecure you are. Imagine how fearful you must be whether you’re a weak man or whether you’re an autocratic nation trying to keep everybody within your borders in the dark about what’s happening.

That’s not a place of strength. I feel as if often the media is according a lot of fearfulness to those kinds of entities, but the truth is that is a pathetic show of weakness and fear. I feel very blessed not to have grown up in an environment like this one. I want to make sure that we also scrutinize our own media, not just criticize the repressive media of other countries. I do think our own media, to close up point No. 3, we must rethink the language we use. I do think our own media tends to make you and me more worried than we actually should be. Now these are for very obvious reasons. Our for-profit media, and I’m a supporter of for-profit media every day, but their incentive is to get you to pay attention, is to get you wanting to wake up the next day and check the television, check your favorite cable news channel to see what horrific thing might have happened in this or that place. It’s very understandable that that’s where their incentive lies, and that itself is a language that I think we need to rethink, patterns of behavior that we need to rethink.

I don’t watch any cable news, I don’t even watch financial cable news and I think I’m better off for it. My three points about the world today: No. 1. the stories that have shaped me anyway, remind me of the goodness of people and have surprisingly good outcomes. No. 2, that’s because the good guys actually outnumber the bad guys even though, No. 3, the language that we use and a lot of our conceptions are actually misconceptions which come from a place of fear sometimes driven by if it bleeds, it leads clicks.

Let me close with what I actually think is happening at a grander level and how you and I should behave. At a grander level, I think that every passing day for decades now, human life is becoming more and more valuable. We invest more in our kids than ever before. We live longer lives than ever before. We have more compassion, we have more empathy than ever before. We are even making animals, not just humans, animals members of our family. Now, I’m not speaking to every culture, and I’m speaking more broadly to, the capital P, prosperity that many of us take for granted globally today, prosperity that far exceeds where we were 50 or 150 years ago while I still acknowledge many people don’t yet have that prosperity globally but I believe that human life is more valuable with every passing day.

And so, whether it’s through your news channels or the social media or what’s happening out there to watch within the cradle of Western civilization, which is the continent of Europe, to watch one nation attack another, at this point in human history, looks truly barbaric.

I believe the heroism and stories of the true leaders who are upholding the blue and the gold are going to become an important part of history looking back to today. I truly think human consciousness, however, exactly this plays out in the short term, is about to notch up two or three levels in the longer term as a consequence of the horror of what we’re all seeing today, which will not end up working anyway. We must rethink the language we use.

There are a few big-picture thoughts that I hope offer you some encouragement. In the middle of that word encouragement, one of my favorite words, courage, here in March of 2022. I guess I like to keep things big picture which is why I love Pixar movies. Talk about the big picture and I always think back to some really helpful words, some really helpful advice from a couple of decades ago. Remember Finding Nemo? Remember that scene where Marlin, the clownfish dad, is looking for his son Nemo somewhere in the wide, whide oceans is tagging along with Dory who the Internet reminds me is a royal blue tang fish. Dory swims up to Marlin who’s disconsolate and feeling down and Dory says, “When life gets you down, you know what you got to do?” Marlin says, “I don’t want to know what you got to do.” Dory reminds us words to live by, as a fellow liver of life and certainly as an investor, a neat trick to avoid simply waiting 18 years to get back to even. What were those words? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

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