Paul Meloan – Vested Interest

Many writers have opined on a topic that has come to be known in the vernacular as the “lizard brain.”  It’s the part of your brain that is lazy, jealous, greedy, stupid (insert your own sinful tendency here).

You know, most of it.

Against the lizard brain, the part of you that is calm, rational, level-headed stands very little chance.  The bigger the stakes (money, food, sex) the louder the lizard brain gets and the more influence it exerts over decisions.

Please believe me on this if you believe nothing else, the lizard brain is a terrible investor.  Think of Warren Buffett’s admonition: “Let us be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy.”  The lizard brain is a pretty good proxy for the “others” to which he refers.

Interloper has a nice treatment on the lizard brain today.  I think I remember that cheerleader from high school also.

If you cannot silence the lizard brain, the best you can hope to do is distract it for a bit.  This is why among my clients with real problems (running a business, raising children, moving causes that matter to them forward) the lizard brain exerts some influence but very little control.  When these factors are not in evidence, the lizard brain has them all to itself.

That’s when trouble starts.

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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