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Michael Gardon

  • Writer's pictureMichael Gardon

Having An Opinion vs. Betting On Your Opinion

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

"It's one thing to have an opinion. It's a completely different thing to assume you are right and bet heavily on it."

This statement from investor Howard Marks is at the core of succeeding over the long term, and it's at the core to what I'm trying to teach my kids -->

1. YOUR opinions don't matter unless you take action on them

2. You are fallible, and you need to be able to deal well with being wrong even when you take action and are convinced you're right

3. Be wary of anyone who gives opinions without skin in the game

Lessons from my life in each of the 3 points above:

1. My biggest regrets in business-life are ones where I didn't pull the trigger. I've missed probably 4 huge opportunities because I didn't bet heavily (mostly on myself and my ideas).

2. I have bet and failed, and had way too long of stretches where it has negatively impacted my life --> depressive episodes, hurt relationships, unproductive time. This is why I think about opportunity portfolios and doing multiple things at the same time. This approach helps me detach from one "baby".

3. When someone gives me an opinion, I always ask "so, what are you doing about it. Not what SHOULD be done, but what are YOU doing?" In the reverse, I try not to give opinions. I strive to ask good questions, and speak from experience where context is needed. On another note, basically no one in the media has direct skin in the game, and thus I try to ignore all opinion from that source. I will be picking these points apart in the months to come on my blog. Please let me know your thoughts in comments.

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