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This is insanely smart: “But humility is different from humility! The former is a practiced willingness to test and retest our conclusions, our instincts, our intuition and our priors. The latter is an obsession with the trappings and appearance of being humble. I believe the former is extremely predictive. I believe the latter isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit.”
Yes, it’s spot on to the money management field as Rusty shows, but consciously or subconsciously he also identified one of the biggest (and most obnoxious) narratives distorting and damaging our society, economy, culture, foreign policy and politics today. Bragging and excessive pride are wrong for all the obvious reasons that this agnostic notes The Bible nailed oh so long ago, but today our culture - our elites anyway - have taken a good thing - a hesitancy toward pride and a respect for humility - and made a fetish out of a virtue until they turned it into a vice (I stole that line from 1939’s “Love, Honor and Behave,” a surprisingly sharp philosophical movie wrapped inside a clunky effort that also has a wonderful version of the under-appreciated song “Bei mir bist du schon”).
We should celebrate honest and impressive achievement and use it to inspire all of us to reach our highest potential. Wanting to do your best, succeed, achieve, advance - win! - should be lauded if done honestly, fairly and with respect to others. It makes us and our society better, stronger, healthier, richer (that’s not a crime) and more successful (also not a crime - something rational people saw for ages as one of the noble purposes of life). And we should solute honest humility (perfectly defined by Rusty as humility without the exclamation point).
But this insane piety to humility! - as seen when winners and losers both receive a trophy or the inclination (and top-down nudging) not to judge anything - is corrosive to society as it makes us deny reality - there is success and are successful people and they’ve done something to be acknowledged and appreciated - and undermines the very quality that has advanced mankind. I hope Alexander Fleming wasn’t a pompous *ss, but if he was, so be it - I’m just glad he over achieved and discovered penicillin. If society had to endure one more bore so that every time someone cut him or herself, he or she doesn’t have to fear amputation, that’s a small price to pay.
Real humility is wonderful to see in people who have achieved something; humility! is just another obnoxious meme forced on us by the nudging state and the progressive proclivity to undermine achievement.
I am not sure what humility means. You can be a fierce advocate for your investors without being an overbearing jerk. An IPO roadshow came through our offices years ago. One of our PMs has scrubbed the prospectus and identified some key issues. The company was producing off brand bleach. The issues were Clorox pricing into major retailers and the volatility of resin prices. He kept driving at the issue trying to understand the operating leverage.
The sell side told me that after the meeting the CEO of the company said: “I don’t want that a**hole to get a single share.” We understood the risks and priced the issue. The PM? One of the humblest and nicest individuals you would every want to meet. When investing on behalf of our clients, a pit-bull without ego. In the aftermath of the financial crisis he won a Lipper award as portfolio manager of the decade.
The point? You don’t have to posture; you have to have a process and stay with it regardless of what others may think.
Yes! Incidentally, I think willingness to submit ego to process is the greater part of real humility for investors. A humble pit-bull sounds like a good steward to me.
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