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The Far Side of Boring

When it was announced that schools were going back on the 8th March we asked our son how much out of 10 he was looking forward to it. His answer: 5/10; because he was looking forward to seeing his friends but not doing the school work, which probably says more about our home schooling abilities.

Our son is in year two and starting to learn multiplication, the other day we explained how we had to learn our times table on repeat until it became embedded deep in our brains. It was boring but we know it works; I’m sure you can repeat any of the times tables without much thought.

That’s the thing about learning the basics. It can be boring but nailing them down is essential to everything we learn on top.

Learning to read as a child can be boring, frustrating, and not much fun, but when grasped a whole new world opens up. Literally, every topic under the sun becomes available as comprehension develops.

As a child, I had a very unsuccessful time learning to play the guitar because I didn’t have the willingness or resolve to do the boring stuff. I didn’t want to train my fingers to play the chords, I just wanted to be able to play the music.

As adults, we know this to be true but as children, when time feels much longer, doing the basics in order that we benefit years into the future just doesn’t seem worth it.

But even as adults we fall for the same tricks, we want it all and we want it now. Look at the fad diets and the gym bunnies who think they can craft the perfect body in a matter of weeks. A healthy, toned physique is the product of years of dedication to eating the right things and doing the boring exercise when the heart isn’t willing.

Look into the background of any leader in their field be it sports, music, business, sciences and you will see a history of hard work, dedication and commitment to the boring stuff. Roger Federer, Beyonce and Jeff Bezos can all relate their success to countless hours of boringness, even when success came.

Anything that might look otherwise is either the tip of the iceberg that the public only get to see or is built on shaky ground and fails to endure.

The tallest buildings have the deepest foundations, nothing of substance lasts without a strong base to build from.

And so too with money.

If you are attracted by the glister of Tesla’s stratospheric share price returns*

or Bitcoin,

 

you have to accept the roller coaster of shares like GameStop,

Or stock market failures like Pets.com, which went from a share price of $14 at listing during the last tech boom to $0.22 a share and ultimately failed in the space of 9 months when it became clear that it takes more than an idea and an e-commerce website to be a successful business.

Money isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s the means to the end; the petrol that runs the car; the blood coursing through the veins of the living. We need it but it’s not why we live.

As with your health, look after your money and it will give you the fun stuff and more besides; the financial independence and security to do what you want, when you want.

But to get there you have to be disciplined and patient so that you don’t give up just because you aren’t getting there quickly enough.

Boring is about the month after month regular saving when you don’t have much to show for it.

Boring is about buying the no-frills stock market index fund rather than backing the star fund manager who is crushing it right now.

Boring is about keeping your head when stock markets are falling and the media is calling for the end of capitalism.

Boring is forgoing the shiny new product because you know the opportunity cost of that money is preventing you from achieving financial independence sooner.

Boring ain’t exciting but the results are.

 

*Stock charts from Google Finance.

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