Sunday, July 5, 2015

Learning from Buffett

In his book, “Think, Act, and Invest like Warren Buffett”, Larry Swedroe quotes Buffett as saying, “Investing is simple, but not easy.” The following passage in the book resonated:
“While it is simple to invest more like Buffett – you just need a well-designed plan and have the discipline to stick to it – it is not easy. Emotions, such as fear and panic in bear markets and greed and envy in bull markets, cause even well-developed plans to end up in the trash heap. The stomach takes over from the head…and stomachs do not make good decisions.
If you want to invest more like Buffett, you are going to have to learn to control your emotions. The best way of preventing your stomach from taking over is to stop paying attention to forecasters and so-called experts.”
In our sport of competitive swimming it is simple to swim fast, but not easy.
You need to have a plan in place and then be willing to work the plan. The willingness to work the plan keeps the emotions in check. When you have a down turn, understand why. When you are running on a good streak, understand why. The understanding keeps the emotions in check.
Remember, the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” isn’t true very often.
How long can a swimmer go without hitting some best times? The answer depends on so many factors that we won’t even attempt a general answer here. We will offer this however.
If a swimmer intuits that s/he is making progress using several of many measurable benchmarks then you can safely say you are “invested” properly. When you have no progress with any measurable quantifiers then you need to look at your plan.
The fact that there are so many different ways to say, make the Olympic Team, in terms of training styles and coaching methodologies, leads us to believe that you can boil down progress to several basic items. Most of these are well documented:
Technique, diligent training, lifting and stretching, rest, nutrition…most of these is well known. The challenging part is being 100% honest with yourself in assessing your commitment to them. Most swimmers train really well occasionally; some do so 80% or more of the time; very few can say “I gave it my all every time.” Same goes for lifting and stretching, rest, nutrition etc.
So, make a plan and then stay with it. No need to listen to every form of feedback. Watch the important signposts and you will know if you are on track or actually need a new plan.

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