Monday, February 22, 2010

Your Personal Belize

Before talking more about investing and asset classes and diversification and stock markets or real estate, I think there is one critical issue to be examined. Why do all this stuff?

Investing in a bull market is fun. I loved to come home from work and say, “Today I made more in the market than I did working”. It is kind of a foreshadowing of your upcoming retirement years – the ‘Golden Years’, the ‘Sunset year’.

However, there are also bear markets, down times, periods of extreme frustration, seeing your retirement dreams evaporate in a time span of a few days or months. “Gosh, I am so happy to still have a job. No way, I could have come through this down turn without a salary!”

So why have a job, why do invest? Why have a home? Why have a lovely, although sometimes extremely cranky, spouse? Why have children? Why not throw your teenagers for the dogs? By God, they deserve it. As babies and toddlers they were so darn cute, but now ten years later...

Because... eh, because it is supposed to... make us... eh.... eh... happy! Yeah!!! They are, whether we think about it or not, our vision of life. These are the things, as everyone knows, that make your life happy. But it often it doesn’t seem to work that way, does it?

Whether you hear Don Campbell talk about building your “personal Belize’, or you learn about the ‘Laws of Attraction’, or the ‘Hoffman Process’, or affirmations, or visionary entrepreneurs, or ‘The Answer’ for setting up successful businesses by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, it is all about visualizing and making dreams into reality.

This is a recurrent pattern amongst successful business leaders or
investors. John C. Bogle dreamed of index funds with super low commissions that would help his clients to become more prosperous. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (Allan Markin and Murray Edwards) is about “To develop people to work together to create value for the Company's shareholders by doing it right with fun and integrity”.

Even Godfried Wasser, this blog’s author, has a mission statement: “To help aspiring home owners and small investors find a property that fits in their life vision” and just like CNRL, I should add ‘by doing things right with fun and integrity’.

This is what drives people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They have a vision. Apart from having enough money to live a certain lifestyle, why else go after all those billions? Bill Gates’ life vision to build the world’s best operating system has obviously changed to the Bill and Melissa Gates’ Foundation and Warren Buffett has signed on to this vision as well. Why would Warren support Obama Barrack and talk about greedy executives, derivatives that are a nuclear time bomb and about being so fortunate of being born in the U.S.A. (because when stranded on an inhabited Island he would succumb in no time). All these people have a life vision and they are working hard at making it a reality.

Everything is geared towards reaching your dream. Your career, your wife, your children, your lifestyle, your investments everything is geared towards reaching your dreams. Without dreams and a road map to reach it, you will become an aimless wanderer – lost in life. Sometimes the dream is realized and you have to create new ones or adjust your old dreams. Life is not about ‘forty years of doing nothing’. It is about setting and realizing dreams!
So an important way to become successful is to have a goal, a vision, a dream that you want to achieve. You want to visualize this dream which not only includes a multi-million dollar business but more important yourself image, your family and how and where you want to spend your time. Life is not about being retired, on the contrary, it is about achieving dreams and the road you take to reach those dreams. The road itself should be enjoyable as well. Not everything will be perfect and happy, you will need to be deeply convinced that your dreams are worthwhile – your life has a goal and a purpose that will not only make you happy but leaves a positive imprint on the ones you love and the world overall. You must find your goals worthwhile enough to give you the drive to overcome the obstacles that block your way towards your dreams. The desirability of your dreams to you will determine how hard you are willing to fight for your goals. This inner-power, this vision or dream, can be strong enough to move mountains (where did you read that before?), it can be strong enough to build one of the most powerful nations in the world – the American Dream. And... It certainly can be powerful enough to build your personal dream – as Campbell says: “Your Personal Belize” – your own island in the tropical sea of life.

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