By Michael O’Connor
I received some bad news over the last few weeks, and it has changed my perspective on a few things.
One thing I realised is that it's the things you never see coming that truly impact your life.
We spend our days worrying about the obvious risks, and then our lives are upended by an event we could never have predicted.
This is true across so many aspects of life.
Investing is no different.
Much of my day job is focused on what happens next.
Are we headed for a recession, will the stock market crash, and how much will property prices fall?
These are all pressing questions, but these attempts to predict the future can be soul-destroying when the future is so hard to predict.
History is an endless stream of reasonable predictions upended by unforeseeable surprises.
In 2001, as we focused on the debt crisis in Europe, two planes struck the Twin Towers. In less than 90 minutes, the world changed in a way that was simply impossible to predict.
In 2020, as we focused on the implications of Trade Wars, a virus shut down the global economy, and 20 million Americans lost their jobs in a single week.
And on and on.
Paying attention to the known unknowns is essential, but it’s risks that we don't see coming that truly define us.
No preparation, no protection, maximum destruction.
So, if the surprises are what really move the needle, why do we spend so much time trying to predict the future?
Simple put, it helps us worry less.
Building a vision of the future and convincing ourselves it will play out offers unrivalled piece of mind - a sense of control in an entirely uncontrollable world.
The warm cozy hug of certainty is hard to resist.
Despite the allure, however, we must ask ourselves; why obsess over predicting the exact path when the probability of us getting it exactly right is so low? Surely this is an obvious waste of time and resources?
So how can we better allocate resources?
Focus on the bigger picture
Instead of arguing over the minutiae, we need to focus on the bigger picture.
So many risks could play out over the short term.
Inflation runs higher, and interest rates pull down stock market returns.
The real estate market falters, creating economic ripple effects;
A new COVID strain
The point is, there is always risk.
History is just one thing after another.
There is never a utopian state of calm, but over the long run, humans have prevailed.
In the face of wars, depressions and pandemics, people have become more productive.
We have continued to innovate and create products and companies that are more and more profitable over time.
This is the detail we often fail to see - the glimmer of light in a dark room.
Our ability to adapt and overcome over time is undisputed.
So, instead of trying to predict exactly what happens next, trust that we will prevail over time and focus on the larger trends.
What innovations will inspire the next generation of profitable companies? How will changing demographics change the world?
You will never get it 100% right but focusing on the stuff that really matters certainly improves your odds.
To learn what companies to invest in and to get direct access to my personal investment portfolio go to www.theislandinvestor.com.
Rathmore students look to the future
Students in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore looked to the future as they explored third level opportunities. The teens took part in a number of activities to mark College Awareness […]
Students in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore looked to the future as they explored third level opportunities.
The teens took part in a number of activities to mark College Awareness Week which was held in schools and other education settings nationwide last week.
The focus throughout the week in their school was to highlight the wide range of options open to them when they leave school and to realise that there are pathways to suit all types of learners.
Students from First to Sixth Year took part in activities to get them thinking about their future plans.
First and Second year students completed a module on ‘My Pathways’ and Third Years had an introductory talk on options after school.
Transition Year students worked on a display on all the options and pathways available after school which will remain up permanently.
Senior Cycle students attended the Careers Fair in Munster Technological University (MTU) where they got a chance to meet universities, colleges of Further Education, agricultural colleges, apprenticeship and more education and training providers from around the country including past sudent Aidan O’Mahony at the stand with An Garda Síochána.
Leaving Cert and LCA students had a really informative talk in school on Further Education and apprenticeships from Ella O’Donoghue, Admissions Officer of Kerry College.
The week finished with a talk for Senior Cycle students on Business and Law options in UCC by Ian Wallace.
“A highlight of the week was the involvement of past students, who sent us video clips on their career stories so far and shared tips with students,” Niamh Dwyer, Guidance Counsellor at the school, said.
“It was fabulous to see how well our former students have done and it was really important for our current students to see the diversity of pathways they have taken including apprenticeships, Further Education courses, university, travel, setting up businesses and returning to education as mature students. We are really grateful to the past students who reconnected with us for this week, their input was inspiring and invaluable.”
Students have education and fun London trip
Leaving Certificate students from St Brigid’s returned home Saturday night after a hectic four-day tour to London. The 87 girls took a tour of London on their first day in the city […]
Leaving Certificate students from St Brigid’s returned home Saturday night after a hectic four-day tour to London.
The 87 girls took a tour of London on their first day in the city after landing. They visited some of the famous locations on the journey, such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Trafalgar Square. They enjoyed a night at the Lyceum Theatre in the West End watching ‘The Lion King’.
The girls went to The Natural History Museum on day two, which has one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artefacts. They took their time looking around the massive cathedral-like structure’s sculptures and frescoes. Four coloured zones that focus on topics including the environment, evolution, the planet, and wildlife make up the museum’s divisions. They then took pleasure in a trip to the fascinating Science Museum. It was the ideal location for someone with an inquisitive mind, full of amazing things to do and explore.
The Victoria and Albert Museum was the next stop on the itinerary. The V&A’s collection of art spans 5,000 years, from prehistoric periods to the modern era. The Mouse Trap, an Agatha Christie play, was the entertainment for this evening at the St Martin’s Lane Theatre. The play’s 70th anniversary was this week.
On day three, the girls boarded a capsule for a 30-minute spin of the London Eye and marvelled at the breath-taking sights of London. After that, they went to the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Planetarium and Astronomy Centre, where they experienced an amazing adventure through space. They went to the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, planting one foot on the eastern and the other on the western hemisphere of our planet.
The girls ended their evening at what was a highlight for many at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
On the final day before flying home, the girls went to Oxford Street to do a spot of shopping.
“A great trip was had by all where many memories were made,” said Sheree Murphy, one of the teachers who travelled with them on the trip.
Rathmore students look to the future
Students in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore looked to the future as they explored third level opportunities. The teens took...
Students have education and fun London trip
Leaving Certificate students from St Brigid’s returned home Saturday night after a hectic four-day tour to London. The 87 girls took a...
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