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Why we should ask "What if I'm wrong?"

I was listening to a great podcast this morning with two of my intellectual heroes, Stanford-educated performance/longevity MD Dr. Peter Attia and retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink. Attia is my favorite performance/longevity physician and Willink is one of my favorite speakers and writers on leadership.

In this podcast, Willink talks about the importance of being willing to ask ourselves, "what if we're wrong?" about a belief we have. He goes on to discuss how we're often set up for overconfidence because we've many things well to get where we're at. He goes on to tell a story about arriving with his Navy Seal task unit to the city of Ramadi in Iraq in 2006 when the battle for control of the capital was intense. He was bringing in a team of highly trained SEALs and there were many US Army National Guard soldiers who had been fighting insurgents there for nearly a year and a half. Willink talks about the need to be humble and willing to learn from Army National Guard soldiers who were already intimately familiar with the combat situation there and what tactics had already proven successful and unsuccessful.

What could Willink have done when bringing in a team of highly trained special operators to relieve soldiers who were actually part-time soldiers to who normally held a variety of professions such as electricians, plumbers, and lawyers? He could have thought that his team and he were the experts and combat and sought little advice from the citizen soldier. Instead, he and his team and chose to be humble and learn everything they could from the citizen soldiers who had been in theater, and their humility no doubt saved many lives on their SEAL team.

So what's this have to do with investing? Anyone reading this blog no doubt has had success in life in their chosen profession or business. This can cause of to be overconfident in areas outside of our expertise. What do Willink and Attia recommend? Willink, a proven combat leader, and Attia, a Standford-educated MD, recommend asking oneself, "What if I'm wrong? What if what I think is true isn't?" They recommend reading "Being Wrong" by Kathryn Schultz.

What if I'm wrong about my thoughts on investing and the financial markets? What's the cost of my lack of humility and my willingness to ask that question?

I'm happy to talk this subject over with you on a complimentary call. As a fee-only fiduciary advisor, I never receive commissions and therefore am unbiased on this topic.

Disclaimer: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any indices referenced for comparison are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Nothing in this blog should be considered financial advice or recommendations. Your questions are unique to you and your own personal financial circumstances. You should consult with a financial professional before making a financial decision. See full blog disclaimer.

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