I’ve always thought that being comfortable was something to which I wanted to aspire. I have recently changed my mind.
During a conversation with an entrepreneur friend, he defined being comfortable as the absence of pain, or freedom from worry and disappointment. The definition seemed harmless, but something about it stuck with me.
One of my core beliefs is that growth and learning are essential to happiness, and I don’t believe it is possible to learn and grow without experiencing some pain, or risking worry and disappointment. That means being happy and being comfortable—according to my friend’s definition—are no longer congruent ideas in my world.
Someone looking to avoid pain, worry and disappointment would never start their own business. They wouldn’t invest in something that offered a decent growth return. They would never live a life of adventure that involved traveling to foreign countries or jumping out of airplanes. To be uncomfortable is to be alive, and alive people are the world-changers that are able to accomplish big things because they are not willing to let fear of discomfort dictate the path of their life.
How does this relate to investing, you ask?
Good investors know that they won’t get it right 100% of the time. However, good investors recognize the opportunity in fear.
The time to buy is when everyone else is selling. The time to sell Is when everyone else is buying. Yet most people continue to invest with the pack. There is a level of comfort in doing what everyone else is doing. If you lose your money, then at least you know that there is someone else who is as bad off as you. That’s why there will always be endless opportunities for people willing to be uncomfortable.