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My reader responded to a blog post I had written.
Here’s what she wrote:
“You wrote a blog post about innovation. This is why I’m unhappy.
The money I lost in the investment I told you about was not just about me. I also invited my friends to invest, and they lost their money, too. Of course, they don’t blame me. It’s not like they lost the funds to buy medicine for their sick children. But these are not wealthy people. I don’t feel good about losing money for close friends.
I also mentioned this investment to several people who did not buy in. They made fun of my idea. It turns out they had every right to laugh at me.
Sure, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll still be able to take my friends out to dinner and pay for drinks. But if the stock had sold for one dollar a share as I hoped, instead of having no value at all, I could have retired. Instead, the goalpost has moved further away.”
“Sure, you have every right to be sorry and regret that an investment you made didn’t turn out how you hoped. But after you’ve attended your well-deserved pity party, you should stop beating yourself up.
You made a good investment. It just didn’t turn out to be so good. It’s not like you lost your money in Bitcoin buys or Brooklyn Bridge bargains. You looked carefully into the company and the CEO and decided their plan made sense. And it did. It made sense at the time. It just didn’t turn out to make sense.
Just as ‘Fishing’ isn’t called ‘Catching,’ ‘Investing’ isn’t called ‘Earning.’
You win some, you lose some. If your risk tolerance is so low that you can’t accept that, you shouldn’t be in the game. There’s nothing wrong with sitting on the sidelines if that suits your temperament. But there’s no reason to believe you’re inherently flawed because you can’t stand the heat. Just step out of the kitchen.
Your dream about the stock hitting one dollar and changing your life was just that — a dream. You shouldn’t be upset that your fantasy didn’t work out any more than an alchemist should be upset that their fourteen-hundredth experiment didn’t turn lead into gold.
As Pogo said, ‘We have met the enemy, and he is us.’ That $1 value — and the subsequent riches it would have bought — is your version of Captain Ahab’s White Whale, Cinderella’s ‘Happily Ever After,’ and both my coveted NYT Bestseller status and my future sub-four-hour marathon.
Ain’t never gonna happen. And all the wishing won’t make it so.
As far as others following your lead (or laughing at your suggestion that they do so), that’s not your issue or your fault. You had an idea, put your money where your mouth was, and told others about what you were doing because you loved them enough not to want to see them miss out.
They were all big boys and girls, and they were free to make their own decisions. You didn’t deceive them. You didn’t say you were an investment expert. And you didn’t profit by their actions. You simply told them about something you thought was a good idea. They made their own choice to play or walk away. It’s not your responsibility what happened after that.
I get that you feel bad, but that’s guilt talking. You did the right thing. It just turned out wrong.
You took a shot. It didn’t work. Stuff happens. Let it go.”
A Blog Post
“You’re right. That was beautifully articulated. Thank you, I feel better.
You should post our conversation as a blog.”