Paul Meloan – Vested Interest

Not to get off on the wrong foot today, it’s just that I am thinking about losing.  If Churchill was right, and that success is merely the ability to move from one failure to the next without loss of enthusiasm, then perhaps we can at least learn from our losses.

Everyone loves a winner.  The problem is we are all destined to spend a lot of time losing.  Consider my favorite ball team, the Washington Nationals.  In 2008 and 2009 they managed to lose 205 games.

The Nats season opened yesterday with more than a little blue-sky enthusiasm for the year.  With a lineup as fearsome as any (at the moment….), we Nats fans are just about as giddy as we were on September 30, 2004, when MLB announced the team was moving here from Montreal.

Here is what the Nats will will invariably do: lose.  A lot.

Even great teams lose 40% of the time.  Hitters fail to reach base most of the time.  Even top sluggers like Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche will strike out far, far more often than they hit home runs.

In other walks of life, the amount of losing dwarfs the wins, even for successful people.  Actors audition dozens (if not hundreds) of times for every part they actually get.

If there are 1000 runners in a race, but only one crosses the line first, does that make the rest of the athletes losers?

Sales reps lose sales they should have made.

Lawyers lose cases.  I can testify to that one personally.  It hurts, every time.

Poker players lose hands or tournaments even when they do everything right.

Investments (even good ones) go down.  And stay there.  A long time.  Berkshire Hathaway peaked in value back in 2007, and only now 6 years (and $$BILLIONS of profits later) is the stock above where it was 6 long years ago.

So, considering we are all going to lose, that makes the ability to stay in the game even more important.  There is another race, another game, another investment, and another hand to be played tomorrow.  So the next time you think about a supposed winner, consider all of those people who win often enough to stay in the game for a long, long time.  Those are probably the ones you should consider emulating.

Paul Meloan is the co-founder and co-managing member of Aegis Wealth Management, LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland USA. Before Aegis Paul was a practicing attorney as well as working in the tax practice of Ernst & Young, LLP.

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