A Financier & his Backache

Back pain as an expression of internal/external incongruency that can generate a fortune? Possibly. The following two passages are from George Soros‘ book, The Alchemy of Finance.

My biographer quotes my son Robert as saying:

My father will sit down and give you theories to explain why he does this or that. But I remember seeing it as a kid and thinking, Jesus Christ, at least half of this is bullshit. I mean, you know the reason he changes his position on the market or whatever is because his back starts killing him. It has nothing to do with reason. He literally goes into a spasm, and it’s this early warning sign.

Mr. Soros goes on to explain,

My son is right about the backache. I used to treat it as a warning sign that something was wrong in the portfolio. It used to occur before I knew what was wrong, often even before the fund began to decline in value. That is what made it so valuable as a signal. It would be wrong, however, to dismiss the theory on that account because it was the theory that me take the signal so seriously. I knew that I did not act on the basis on knowledge; I was acutely aware of uncertainty and was always on the lookout for mistakes. As I mentioned earlier, it is when I did not know the flaws in my positions that I had to worry. When I finally discovered what was wrong my backache usually went away.

The Irish Times celebrated the 84th birthday of “the most successful hedge fund manager in history” with an article on some lessons you can glean from Mr. Soros’ storied career. Included in the article was the following:

Soros has admitted to relying greatly on “animal instincts”, saying the onset of acute pain was often “a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio”.

His decisions, then, “are really made using a combination of theory and instinct.

Sometimes our bodies express themselves from a base of unexplainable manifestation and intelligence. The question is: What do you do when your body speaks to you?

@Cinema_Air

For The Love of Movement

From Awareness by Osho:

“…you move because to move is sheer joy, you move because movement is life, you move because life is energy, and energy is movement. You move because energy is delight – not for anything else. There is no goal to it, you are not after some achievement. In fact you are not going anywhere, you are not going at all – you are simply delighting in the energy. There is no goal outside the movement itself; movement has its own intrinsic value, no extrinsic value.”

@Cinema_Air

“Regret Minimization Framework” by Jeff Bezos

Making major life-altering decisions is inherently daunting. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, provides a brilliant filter that simplifies the decision – A “Regret Minimization Framework.” (video at bottom of post) This is simply beautiful:

I went to my boss and said to him, “You know, I’m going to go do this crazy thing and I’m going to start this company selling books online.” This was something that I had already been talking to him about in a sort of more general context, but then he said, “Let’s go on a walk.” And, we went on a two hour walk in Central Park in New York City and the conclusion of that was this. He said, “You know, this actually sounds like a really good idea to me, but it sounds like it would be a better idea for somebody who didn’t already have a good job.” He convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision.

So, I went away and was trying to find the right framework in which to make that kind of big decision. I had already talked to my wife about this, and she was very supportive and said, “Look, you know you can count me in 100 percent, whatever you want to do.” It’s true she had married this fairly stable guy in a stable career path, and now he wanted to go do this crazy thing, but she was 100 percent supportive. So, it really was a decision that I had to make for myself, and the framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called — which only a nerd would call — a “regret minimization framework.”

So, I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, “Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have.” I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day, and so, when I thought about it that way it was an incredibly easy decision. And, I think that’s very good.

If you can project yourself out to age 80 and sort of think, “What will I think at that time?” it gets you away from some of the daily pieces of confusion. You know, I left this Wall Street firm in the middle of the year. When you do that, you walk away from your annual bonus. That’s the kind of thing that in the short-term can confuse you, but if you think about the long-term then you can really make good life decisions that you won’t regret later.

Sources: Academy of Acheivement and Bijan Sabet

Find me on Twitter @Cinema_Air