People can be influenced by lived experiences and this has the capacity to guide their future decisions, as opposed to merely learning about something.
Example: If we hear about a young girl killed by a drunk driver, we feel bad, but hardly do anything about it. But If we are a parent of that young girl and went through the horror ourselves, we have the drive to do something helpful.
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Different generations have different investment risk appetites, with the younger generation wanting to take bigger risks and going into uncharted waters without any experience.
The New Generation, who hasn’t experienced turmoil and loss, are good at getting rich. However, the older, scarred generation is good at staying rich due to their general pessimism and conservatism. There is a need to balance the two aspects while taking an investment decision. People with different experiences aren’t necessarily smarter than others but just have a different worldview.
Each of us has a mental world in our minds, constructed by our thoughts, beliefs, education, and experiences. We have developed a coherent story around our chaotic and unpredictable world, and that becomes our mental model.
Different people will come to different conclusions even when provided the same information, due to their having completely different mental models.
When we hear different perspectives, stories and experiences, we temporarily get out of our ‘mental model’ and become humbled, as we realize that our worldview was just a tiny fraction of all the other views.
People have different, varied motivations and can make decisions that may look crazy to us as we haven’t taken the same life journey as they have. This can apply to investment decisions as well as the career choices that people make.
In the world of investing, having gone through a traumatic experience first-hand makes the difference between a cautious investor and a blind one. The scarred investor cannot think in the way the fresher, who hasn’t experienced the turmoil can.
Our unique experiences impact our vision in ways we cannot comprehend on the surface.
Most of us have heard stories of hardships and catastrophic events of the past, like the great depression, or the dot-com bust, but haven’t lived through it, and not experienced the real pain of the disaster.
Hearing stories about something that happened in the past isn’t enough to truly realize the lesson from them.
History is a treasure-house of learning, and as many books teaching us lessons from history point out, what was true in the medieval ages is often true even now, though the circumstances, technology and society have gone through a sea of changes.
The things that are worth knowing are those which hold steady and true then and now.
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