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Parallels

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

I like parallels.
I think they often reveal truths about a subject which might have gone unnoticed. Truth which could potentially cause us to act. Truth which could help us change our lives for the better. I hope this blog causes you to act.
Let’s take investing, as in stocks and bonds.
There are two basic types of investors. This first type of investor is the short-term person, or day trader. Short-term traders follow the trends and the market so closely during any given day that a bathroom break can be a luxury. So tight are the trades and the margins, I wouldn’t be surprised if some traders have catheters! When you see pictures of Wall Street and the stock exchange, with all the screaming and gesturing and chaos, these are usually people who are trying to time the market and beat it, typically day traders. If you have the time and the stomach for the daily roller-coaster ride, this way of doing business can pay off big time. But only sometimes.
Most people are not built for that stress. So contrast this bit of craziness with the second type of investor, the long-termer, a buy and hold and continue to invest type of person. This approach is fairly uneventful, usually buying and holding for several years. Finding a great company, investing in their future, and consequently yours at the same time, and riding out the bumps. All the daily roller-coaster rides are still in play, but knowing at some future date your patience will pay off, characterizes this long-term strategy. This can be a tricky mind game, not panicking when the market fluctuates, but a game worth playing anyway. Again if you have patience and get good advice, this strategy usually wins, and sometimes big too.
Another contrast between day traders and long term investors is continuing to put something into the market. While day traders can make a short-term profit and reinvest it, a long-term approach allows a person to keep adding to winners. Think of a horse race, and your horse is ahead, and you go and put more money on him while the race is going on! Continue to invest for the duration of the race? Yes, and the winnings compound.    
One approach is inherently more risky and stressful. The other is more stable and predictable.

And here comes the parallel.

In a subtle sort of way, I think we often embrace a short-term approach to our health, a day trader mentality, which is inherently more risky and more stressful. And rarely successful. We dabble with our diet, we go to the gym for two hours and then skip a week because we are so sore, we only visit the chiropractor when we can’t walk, we don’t get any sleep until we crash and burn… you get the idea.
We are prone to day trade with our health.
And as we have delineated before, our health involves not only our bodies, but also our minds, our finances, our relationships and our emotions. Being healthy really embraces the totality of our being. And short-term approaches create a lot of excitement initially, but usually our efforts end in failure.
Investing in our health is a long-term, unsexy approach, which usually produces small wins over time which add up to big gains for our future. We don’t escape the roller coaster but we can enjoy it because we are betting on the future. And we can keep betting on winning strategies.
The coolest part is we all already know some winning, long-term strategies. Simple, repeatable habits.

 

Avoiding processed foods.
Get some sunshine every day.
Move as much as you can.
Stay away from your phone.

 

All these habits compound over time, over the long haul, and will serve you well during these disruptive times.
And remember you don’t need to be perfect with these. You just need to do them more often than not to get the benefit.
In closing, please don’t forget that health comes from you, not to you. And that requires long term thinking.
Cheers,
ks

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