Best life lessons I've learned this year

I'm gonna share some life lessons I've learned this year and I invite you to do the same on comment section. Here goes my key takeaways.

- Take control of your interpretation of facts.

When shit hits the fan (and eventually it will happen, trust me), the biggest component of your stress is not the fact itself, but your interpretation of what happened. Try to see positive side of things. It might sound cheesy, but it's a lot better than getting into a negative loop that might lead to depression and shit like that. You've got fired? Here's the opportunity to find a better job. Your girlfriend broke up? Use it as a motivation to work on yourself. Your parents passed away? Here's an opportunity to learn the value of time.
I've been in a tough road this year and the only reason I am not in a depression right now is because I've taken control of my interpretation of facts.

- Don't manage time, manage attention.

My productivity boosted 100% when I started managing my attention. If you're like me, you probably lose a lot of time just to get focused. If I'm working on a task and I stop just to read an e-mail, it might take 5 to 10 minutes to get the fully focused on the task again.
Manage your attention. Train yourself to be focused for a longer period. Stop multitasking.

- You need mentors. Get fucking mentors.

We've all heard that Jihm Rohm quote "You're The Average of the Five People You Spend The Most Time With". I don't know if this is true, but I'm sure you're on a better pathway if you spend time with people that are in a position you would like to be in 3, 5, 10 years from now.
Find mentors. A lot successful folks are willing to help a young, motivated and dumb dude like you (and me). Now you might be asking: how the fuck do I find mentors? Well, I'll make another topic on this…

- Stop trying to be good at everything

I've been playing classical guitar for 15 years. Now I'm in a position that if I want 1% of improvement, it will take hundreds hours of practice and this is the reason I've lost my passion for music in the last 3 years.
I am a very driven men and I'm sure most of you are too. We always want to improve and we become extremely frustrated if we don't. However, at some things you gotta learn to stop wanting to get better and just enjoy the activity. I had to accept that I'll never be the musician that I would like to be, and this is fine.
We can be good at one or two things, and that's it. Set your priorities and don't tell yourself you'll reach your goals in all areas in life, because it will only make you frustrated. A good book to read about this is "The One Thing" by Gary Keller.

I think that's it. And you, what lessons you've learned this year?

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Comments (166)

Dec 27, 2017 - 11:45am

Does the use of 'fucking' make this article better? No, my dear Watson, quite the opposite.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Best Response
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:39am

Good Lesson learned (for prospective monkeys) (Originally Posted: 02/08/2013)

Hello,

So I usually try to avoid giving out serious advice due to my complete lack of overall experience or knowledge of the finer points of finance or the industry. Yet today I learned a valuable lesson of persistence, which I think is something that many can at least consider (if not learn from).

I recently applied to a small MM investment bank through their website in a resume drop; not for any specific opening. I was soon emailed back by a HR rep telling me that I should consider a position opening up soon for a credit analyst position in NYC (near where I am). I jumped on the chance, as I had not yet received any significant positive feedback from anyone. I kept in contact with HR and felt very confident to get an interview due to my experience and the feedback from HR.

Two weeks pass and I email the HR rep, only to receive the devastating news that I was not going to have an interview. Now at this point I was very dejected and demoralized; this position fit my resume almost to the T, and yet I had nothing to show for my efforts.

I emailed the HR rep back asking to speak with her over the phone about what aspects of my candidacy did not fit the position. She obliged, and kindly set up a call with me. As I went over my resume with her over the phone she stated that the position was in DC, and that the local applicants were more desirable due to their geographical location. Now I was confused and told her that was not the position I had originally applied for. After some discussion about this error, I realized that HR had made a mistake and had been considering me for the more immediate position! They told me that they were actually very interested in my candidacy for the credit research role and we proceeded to have a preliminary interview.

While I am still hoping to be invited to a real interview, the recruiter gave me a strong perception of their intent of having me for an interview and seemed extremely interested in me. Long story short, HR makes mistakes and things get missed in the thousands of applications online. Sometimes persistence does payoff.

Hope these are some encouraging words for someone out there.

Regards

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
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Jan 6, 2018 - 2:42am

Thanks, hope it all goes well. Being nontarget makes life very tough sometimes.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:44am

This is extremely helpful, thank you

Get busy living
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:47am

A big lesson to learn in the job interview process is that you should always assume HR is incompetent. You should ALWAYS be very respectful and polite to them though, as they can help/hurt your chances significantly early on in the game.

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Jan 6, 2018 - 2:51am

Nice! Now go crush that interview.

"When you expect things to happen - strangely enough - they do happen." - JP Morgan
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:52am

@ghandi: most likely. She asked if I'd like to speak with her further after we cleared up the former mistake (pretty much interviewed me for fit stuff, told me about the team, what they do.) I haven't received an official invite into their offices yet, however the feedback that she gave me seemed very indicative of their future determinations. Seemed like they will invite me in for a second round, however I can't get too far ahead of myself.

Also, thanks for the all around moral support.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:53am

Life Lessons (Originally Posted: 04/23/2013)

Hey guys,

So I'm finally twenty, and I feel like I've come a long way since slipping out of the birth canal and whatnot. Over time, I've learned several crucial things about humanity that... well, that I hope to impart to my son, someday. I think that I've managed to accomplish a good deal of things: I have a good set of friends, I'm in a semi target, I have a good relationship with my family and am in good health. While I don't have a summer internship just quite yet, I'm positive that I'll find something. And hey, even if I don't, I'll just hit up the beach and work on my novel.

Here are some of the most important things I've learned over the course of living on this earth:

  1. PEOPLE ARE FUNDAMENTALLY BAD

This is something I find that that all to many people realize, and almost everyone espouses, but no one actually reacts to. I'm not saying that everyone is bad- in fact, there's a decent number of people in the world who care about the greater good and helping others. However, being exposed to the world of finance has shown me that people are largely out for themselves, and only a fool would by default assume that people are fundamentally good. I have always maintained that one should assume other people are morally weak- that way, you only have to rely on yourself; and if they do happen to have integrity and a moral code, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

  1. HISTORY IS CYCLICAL

Yes, I know, it's cliche- history repeats itself. But I didn't really realize what this meant until I had lived a little. I primarily see this manifesting itself in art, but also in terms of economics and political thought. Would you believe that once upon a time, Keynesian economics actually used to be the shit? And then the 70s and 80s hit, and Hayek became a thing, thanks to Reagan and Thatcher. THEN once the crisis hit, we ran back to Keynesian economics

The same goes for politics. People have been grappling with the ideas that natural law and human nature have given rise to. Ideas behind federalism and libertarianism and security... the debate happened a long, long time ago, and is still going on. We haven't gotten anywhere either! I think it really just goes to show that we're destined to swing back and forth between ideologies, and so maybe it doesn't matter so much if we're democrats or republicans

  1. NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY WANT- ESPECIALLY WOMEN

This mostly applies for those of you who are younger, or who don't see the acquisition of money as your sole purpose in this life (wallstreetoasis is kind of a bad place to write this sort of thing). Most people, if they're thoughtful and open minded, really don't know what they want from life. We might have an idea on how to get to a certain place, but we're never really sure on where to go. Remember when you were younger, how it seemed like older people were these complete, self actualized beings because they had figured out what they were doing? The reality is we never figure out what we're doing- we just accept what we get and deal with it. People plan much less of their life than you might think.

Oh, and in regards to women, women have absolutely NO fucking idea what they want from life. I don't really know how to deal with this, and I don't think any man truly does. But know this: women change their fucking minds all the time, so don't take shit as a given. Like, ever.

Since you are all seasoned veterans and many of you have many years of experience over me, I was wondering if there were any pieces of advice that you feel I should someday impart to my son. Maybe some things that you'd like to teach your future children?

Please share

I'm not concerned with the very poor -Mitt Romney
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:54am

If you are so smart, how come you lost the elections, eh?

"Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old"
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:56am

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I don't really have any input on number 2 and 3 since I haven't thought about those things, but I definitely do not agree with you on number 1. I believe and have learned from experience that most people are fundamentally good although we seldom believe it initially.

I think a large part of the explanation for our negative view stems from negativity bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias). It's easier to believe that people are bad because we tend to emphasize and focus on negative things rather than on positive things (see the McDonald's example in the wiki article). Negative news have higher "news value" than positive news for mainstream media and thus they almost exclusively report about bad things that happens.

You say you have a good set of friends, which is excellent, but fortunately you're not alone having great friends. Hundreds of millions of other Americans (/Europeans/Asians etc) have caring and decent friends, spouses, fathers etc. Why would these people, just because you don't know them, on average be any worse than your friends and relatives?

It's true that people tend to care about themselves first, but just because someone doesn't do things "for the greater good" doesn't mean they are fundamentally bad. Egoism becomes a problem when you choose to not play by the rules and when your success is not achieved through your own effort, but of you taking advantage of someone else in a way that is defined as illegal, e.g. robbing someone. I think that as long as people play by the rules, one should be careful about labelling people "bad" just because they don't define good in the same way as oneself.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:59am

Come back in 5 years and read your post. I fundamentally disagree with #1, #2 whatever/don't care and #3 I agree with except for the whole being sexist part.

This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:00am

Stopped reading after "So I'm finally twenty"

Talent is hitting a target no one can hit. Genius is hitting a target no one can see.
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:02am

Women are meant to be loved not understood, so start fu**ing their a**es instead of their brains.

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:06am

When I woke up this morning, I was hoping I could find the answers to the big questions in life from a 20 year old on WSO. Who says miracles don't happen?

''You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.'' β€” President George W. Bush 0.5 bb
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:08am

Mitt Romney:
So I'm finally twenty...Over time, I've learned several crucial things about humanity that...

You are twenty, you can't even drink alcohol legally, you definitely have not learned things about humanity.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:19am

"It must be wonderful to be seventeen, and to know everything."
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."
― Bob Seger

''You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.'' β€” President George W. Bush 0.5 bb
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:24am

LOL Its been a slow day so thank you very much Mitt Romney for the laugh.

I am eagerly awaiting your next thread "How to start a hedge fund" with the first sentence being "So I've never actually started a hedge fund but here is what I think it would be like."

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:27am

When you're my age (35-40), you'll think you were a dipshit when you were 20. Think of how you think of yourself when you were 12 years old at your age and you'll have a sense of what I mean.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:28am

I'm 20 as well. You know how I know that your naivety is greater than mine? I know enough to realize that I don't have close to the experience in life to make these sort of claims about life and human behavior. At this age, we feel like we know what life is about and what is important. We don't listen when people older than us give us advice because we think that we know better than them.

I'll give you some good advice. Assume you know NOTHING. Listen to the things that older people tell you are important because no matter how smart you are, they have been here longer and know much more of what life is about than you do.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:33am

A LESSON TO EVERYONE (Originally Posted: 10/22/2006)

Forum,

I'm starting my first day tomorrow at a 'top-tier' private equity house (i.e. BC, KKR, Blackstone, Carlyle etc..) in NY.

I don't have any fancy credentials (graduated from UC San Diego GPA 3.5), didn't play in any sports teams and wasn't a 'stud' on campus (i.e. leader of any societies etc..).

I did two years investment banking, NOT at a BB, but at a '2nd-tier' house which has marginal M&A presence in the US (even though they've invested heavily in the past couple of years in line with their strategy of building up the franchise in the U.S.) - closed around 3 deals (in 2 years!), all in the $500m range.

If I had listened to various posters on this forum, I would need to be the blue-eyed baller from an Ivy-league with BB experience to be even considered for the PE firm I'm due to start at.

Thankfully, I didn't, but I trusted my own instinct and had confidence in my ability (true, I won't match some of you hot-shots out there). Luck played a part, but I approached each interview as an exam (preparing intensively for 6-7hrs a day, familiarising myself with LBO's, super-advanced modelling etc..) - most importantly, I was myself.

Anyone can get in (as I have proven) but all it demands is some commitment and hard-nosed ball-breaking preparation, which many don't appreciate.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:35am

true that son, true that. Most people on these forums say what you have said, whatever, anything is possible. If you let these people convince you that your not good enough, then too bad for you, maybe you should apply somewhere else.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:43am
Royal Oak:
Forum,

I'm starting my first day tomorrow at a 'top-tier' private equity house (i.e. BC, KKR, Blackstone, Carlyle etc..) in NY.

I don't have any fancy credentials..... Anyone can get in (as I have proven) but all it demands is some commitment and hard-nosed ball-breaking preparation, which many don't appreciate.

Royal Oak, I 100% agree with you, personally I got less than credit average. No M&A experience, and got into IB!

like you said I prepared 5 hours for each intervirew, thought through the personalities, the curve balls and anticipated every action in the interview.

IB just wants smart people, and the IVY league is just a stereo type where smart people can be found. That doesn't mean that there is no smart people other than ivy leagues.

I did badly in uni, didn't do sports but i spend most of my 3 years in college doing internation business and importing goods. now how do Ivys compare to that.

Its onething to do tests and write essays... but like Donald Trump says, its the real world that you have to be good at. And he was a success not because of his Warton MBA, but because he is such a good business man.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:50am

Congrats

Your achievement bucks the trend, I guess. But a trend is a trend. Anyway, i don't want to detract from your achievement... so congrats once again.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:55am

One more thing...

If you are at a top tier PE house the likes of KKR, Blackstone etc. why would you RISK your first day getting distracting on the forum?

My yahoo email, the forum and all other "external" distractions would not be on my mind on my first day at such a distinguished new position!!

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:56am

Although I'm contracted to xxx in NY, I'm currently in the London office.

My IT systems/admin issues were sorted before I joined (when I was on gardening leave) - lunch at a top-tier PE house? hell no dude, they've got 2 major billion-dollar transactions in execution phase at the moment, you got better chance of seeing tupac alive.

I was not 'tossed' a model - he asked me if I would like to have a go, I said yes (what the hell else could I say?)

Cynicysm is good, but I don't speak jive...

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:02am

Hey guys,

I just got a job as a Managing Director, M&A, Goldman Sachs with no experience, good grades or contacts. Today is my first day and I just made half a million. Thats a lesson for all of you!

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:03am

I've dealt with some fairly data intensive spreadsheets before of around 25mb, but 90mb? I can't see a model being 90mb. I looked at a MS model just now that was 20 tabs, loaded with data and is dynamically generated with VBA. 5mb. If you have that much more data you should be using a relational database.

I call BS.

---------------- Account Inactive
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:04am

I was a product control intern at LEH in London. The Total P&L file controllers use daily is about 150mb, so it's possible to have massive spreadsheets.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:06am

this particular spreadsheet contained data from all the trader's books (the ones that we were responsible for) for the fiscal year, and it was updated daily. I remember one of the sheets (out of way too many): the number of columns was constant, but the number of rows was up to something like 50000 when I left. I had never seen anything like that!

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:08am

P&L is just loaded with pages and pages of crap, if you had decent formatting that takes it over 50mb easy, so I believe the 150mb, but then the computer will crash almost every 3 hours if you had a spreadsheet that size open.

I always deal with excel over 40mb, but if you learn to use clever links, good vlookups and avoid pivot tables and big charts, you can get it down to 25mb no problem.

maybe his 90mb file had tonnes of macros with VB scripts......

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:09am

It did crash that often if we ran the wrong stuff while total P&L was opened! :D

Our VP had IT guys constantly checking the " efficiency" of the spreadsheet, it simply had to be that large (altough I agree with you, it's full of crap data). The Excel and VB coding were described to me as cutting edge.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:10am

I'm in a kinda similar position as Royal Oak, I've just secured a position as a 1st yr analyst in a BB. I'm from a non-target school in UK but managed to get an interview through some connections.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:11am

I am currently getting my MBA and have no finance experience. I realize it will be tough to break into IB, but it is good to hear a story of hard work paying off.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:12am

I'm bumping this 4 year old thread because all of you guys who didn't get that TMT gig at Goldman and think your life is over....you need to read this.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:18am

Would also like to point out that even if this were true, it was in 2006 (aka: "The good 'ole days").

β€œMillionaires don't use astrology, billionaires do”
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:19am

Lol yep, no bucking of the trend these days. And who knows if he is a troll, they sure hopped his bone like he was

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:24am

Things I've learned in life thus far: Success/life wisdom maxims. (Originally Posted: 12/26/2017)

Deleted ..........................................................................................

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:25am

Hi TheROI, any of these topics helpful:

  • What I've learned so far after 1 yr at a top MBA program (If I could do it over): eventually got an offer at a top firm, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone go that hard at ... I've heard from my friends up and down the top 10. Now good luck and happy hunting. Find the right ... I've found the guide that WSO offers (Overview of Acclerated Corporate Finance Careers (FLDPs)) to be ...
  • Best life lessons I've learned this year I'm gonna share some life lessons I've learned this year and I invite you to do the same ... opportunity to learn the value of time. I've been in a tough road this year and the only reason I am not ... in a depression right now is because I've taken control of my interpretation of facts.- ...
  • What I've learned about Hedge Fund Structure and Compensation Over the last few months I've realized just how diverse hedge funds are, and how little ... manager of a successful smaller fund. Comments, questions, and additions welcome. I'm sure I've ... people (both in/out of the industry) understand about the different structures. This is my attempt to ...
  • So, I've failed, so far... have a test scheduled in June, which I have just decided I am not going to take. I've decided to ... Hey guys, So I've been trying to get into finance/investment banking/ equity research for ... high on anyone's radar. I think I've hit the point to where I can admit that I've failed ...
  • What I've learned on Wallstreetoasis.com rhymes with Mefferies of Jiper Paffray (the shame!) Learning finance and accounting in college is soooo ... closest thing to God Private equity is the end all and be all of existence. You measure a man's worth ... by their position x the ranking of their firm on Prequin Exit OPPORTUNITIES!!!!!! People in medicine ...
  • 6 REAL Habits I've Observed From Self-Made Millionaires the list, but here are some things I've noticed from the self-made millionaires I've worked ... a business after getting laid off from a F500 gig. all of the millionaires I've worked with have taken ... gospel. They all seem to follow Richard Branson 's life lessons about treating people well, having ...
  • I've been on the job for almost 4 months and really feel like quitting? the position. I've learn a bit about the industry but it still doesn't interest me. Also my ... Team. I've never have been a fan of commodities or the Oil and Gas Industry for that matter, but ... this job was also the work life balance which in fact is a lie. If I wanted to work longer hour I would ...
  • More suggestions...

Who will rescue this thread? Hugh Myron WSO1212 TheDukeofLizards

I hope those threads give you a bit more insight.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:27am

do you mean 20 years of career or of life? i suspect it's the latter and i suspect you and your maxims should take a hike

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Jan 6, 2018 - 4:29am
TheROI:

-Sales is about qualifying the prospect to see if they are willing to be sold. After they are, it's all about your execution in that you must tailor your product/service and it's solution to their problems/needs.

Sales is about closing. Always Be Closing.

TheROI:

-Sales is all about emotion, not logic.

Huh?

TheROI:

-Complaining is a waste of time as it doesn't solve the problem or accomplish anything.

Complaining is one of the most valuable tools businesses have to re-align consumer demands with the changing market conditions.
TheROI:

-Arguing is a waste of time as 99% of the time you won't change anyone's opinion but it guarantees spent time and energy.

Research has shown that arguing is an important part of successful business/project development. In the initial stages, when the team is discussing the future outcome of a project, it is important for all members to voice their ideas and make an active argument for their thoughts. In this manner, all voices will be heard before the commencement of the project. Even if total votes, or a decision by the team lead turns down their argument or request, the stage of arguing is an important one for the continued success of the team. Without this stage in the initial development of a project, certain employees may exhibit backlash or lack of interest to the project at hand.

Also, in general, arguing is a fantastic tool in life to not only solidify your own points, but enable others to question their own ideas. All in good taste, my lad.

Cheers.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jan 6, 2018 - 4:31am

Just realised I like reading your comments

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.
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Jan 6, 2018 - 4:35am

Why do anonymous posters erase their posts? Like, we already don't know who the person is at all, and now we don't know an unknown persons posts? lol

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:36am

Life Lessons from a Game of Pickup Basketball (Originally Posted: 01/29/2014)

Some years ago I was playing pickup basketball regularly at a local gym. It was pretty competitive; the regulars included high school stars and college players, of which I was neither. I was good enough to run with them, but it was an exclusive group and most weren't so lucky.

One day during the holidays we didn't have enough players; we preferred full court five on five, so we were forced to let some walk-ins run with us. I'll never forget two of the players that ran with us that day because seeing them walk into the gym taught me valuable lessons about first impressions.

The Impressions

Subject 1 was tall and muscular with big hands and long arms; he was an imposing bundle of explosive, fast-twitch athleticism. He was handsome, outgoing, well-spoken, and seemed to have the right mix of confidence and humility. He had all the latest gear; brand new Nike shoes and shorts, an arm sleeve, and a leg sleeve with a padded knee. We assumed right away he'd run with us as a regular rotation guy.

We almost didn't let subject 2 run. He looked like a scruffy pre-teen. At about 5'8' he was average height, but he was skinny and he there was no indication of any latent athleticism. He had severe acne and a poor haircut; busted shoes; and old, dirty gym clothes, all of which is only worth mentioning because of the stark contrast with Subject 1. Furthermore, he was quiet and aloof, though to his credit he seemed focused. We ended up letting him run because we needed ten players.

The Reality

We shot free throws to determine teams and started to play. Subject 1 was easily as athletic as anyone we played with, but something just didn't click for him. His shot was broken; but he couldn't finish at the rim; and he had no handles, causing him to turn the ball over repeatedly. He goes by "My Bad" now, because he must have said it fifty times that first game. Subject 2 on the other hand… I drew the short straw that day because it was my job to guard him. He made a fool out of me and my entire team every single play. He could shoot 3's at NBA range and rarely missed; when we tried to guard him tight he had a crossover so low and tight it would have made Allen Iverson proud. When we doubled he split the defense or handed it off for an easy assist. His defense was equally impressive. He had remarkable timing and instinct and yet I distinctly remember the feeling of smug confidence before the ball was checked. I remember specifically thinking "I'm going to embarrass this kid" only moments before he scored the first of his many points that day.

The Lesson

That day I learned that first impressions are more complicated than appearance and demeanor. I learned that prejudice can prevent you from recognizing value or detecting a flop. That day I deceived myself into believing I knew which newcomer was the better basketball player. Luckily, the stakes were low and the nature of the game ensured that I'd have many chances to make up for my mistake. In the real world, stakes are much higher and failing to properly assess someone or something can have much greater implications.

In a way, I was long on Subject 1 and short on Subject 2, and I lost my investment in both. And while we spend time running models and doing due diligence to identify undervalued investments, we often don't extend the same care with people, which, in business and our personal lives, can be a mistake we don't get a chance to rectify.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:37am

Nice post. Are you sure subject 2 wasn't my friend? He's pretty short and just amazing at basketball. Made a fool out of all the inner city guys we used to play with back in college. I, on the other hand, dribble as if I have a football in my hand.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:40am

The fact that subject 1 had an arm sleeve and a leg sleeve should have told you that the guy was terrible. No legitimate player really wears that stuff unless you're 50 years old and actually need "gear" or you're overcompensating for your lack of game lol

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:42am

wso929292:

The fact that subject 1 had an arm sleeve and a leg sleeve should have told you that the guy was terrible. No legitimate player really wears that stuff unless you're 50 years old and actually need "gear" or you're overcompensating for your lack of game lol

The funny thing is that I had written exactly this but decided to erase it since it was kind of beside the point. I totally agree for the most part. To be fair to Subject 1, this was before arm and leg sleeves were just an annoying fashion statement made by the kids whose parents could afford them. Also, I wore a padded elbow sleeve on my shooting arm for a while because of some tendinitis that would flair up when I overextended my elbow shooting 20+ foot shots. The pad prevented the elbow from overextending and had the added benefit of helping me learn better form.

But overall, you're absolutely right. Should have been the first warning sign, of which there were very few.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:45am

wso929292:

The fact that subject 1 had an arm sleeve and a leg sleeve should have told you that the guy was terrible. No legitimate player really wears that stuff unless you're 50 years old and actually need "gear" or you're overcompensating for your lack of game lol

Truth. What a tool.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:43am

Hahahaha, he hit you with the Okie doke. I've seen it happen quite a few times. The tell tell sign is the aloofness, he doesn't care to cater to your initial judgement cause he wants you to think he's garbage. It makes it that much sweeter when he balls you up.

If you can't kill them with kindness, just kill them.
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:44am

2Shae:

Hahahaha, he hit you with the Okie doke. I've seen it happen quite a few times. The tell tell sign is the aloofness, he doesn't care to cater to your initial judgement cause he wants you to think he's garbage. It makes it that much sweeter when he balls you up.

Totally. The funny thing is, that's my game too so I should have recognized it. I always have the latest shoes because I'm addicted to Nike, but other than that I don't look like I can ball. It's how I got to run with the group in the first place.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:48am

Great vid. While we're on basketball, might as well bring back Uncle Drew.

β€œThose who know don't tell and those who tell don't know.” - Michael Lewis
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:50am

Great story! Now, just need everyone else to have that same epiphany.

Array
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:51am

As a long time b-ball player, this is a great story. In general, I think there are SOOOOO many parallels between basketball and life (not just in finance). I mean, I talked about this parallel in my undergrad on campus interviews, in my MBA essays, and MBA interviews because I truly believe it. I also think kids that grow up playing b-ball, on average, tend to be better in group work situations. I'll leave it at that for now, otherwise I'll get too carried away and end up posting my grad school essays.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:52am

As important of a lesson as this might be, I'm quite surprised it took so long for you to figure it out. You see this with money all the time. There is usually a good chance that the person driving the sports car and living in the huge house is leveraged to their teeth. You also see all these high school/university students who believe that True Religion, LV, and other brands give off the perception of wealth and success. Chances are that they work a part-time job and closely monitor the balance in their account.

P.S. I really don't like your use of the word 'run.' It gives off the perception that you think you're too good for us lowly basketball noobs.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:53am

ERMonkey:

As important of a lesson as this might be, I'm quite surprised it took so long for you to figure it out. You see this with money all the time. There is usually a good chance that the person driving the sports car and living in the huge house is leveraged to their teeth. You also see all these high school/university students who believe that True Religion, LV, and other brands give off the perception of wealth and success. Chances are that they work a part-time job and closely monitor the balance in their account.

P.S. I really don't like your use of the word 'run.' It gives off the perception that you think you're too good for us lowly basketball noobs.

First of all, congrats on your first WSO post. 3 other things:

1. I assure you I did not live 20 years of life without knowing these things, although sometimes it takes the right time, place, and circumstances for something to really click. Also, it sounds better to say "that day I learned..." than "that day I came up with a good anecdote to explain something that I had always known".

2. Sidetracking: True Religion has to be the gaudiest, most atrocious brand of denim ever. Two words: Guy Fieri.

3. You gotta write what you know. "Run" is just what we say, and I think it's pretty common. However, I really didn't mean for it to sound exclusive or superior. Especially since, while I've very confident in my ball skills, we most likely have some ex-NCAA basketball players on these boards who would wipe the floor with me worse than Subject 2 did.

Let me be among the first to say welcome to WSO, however, and I hope it helps you as much as it has me. Hopefully you won't feel so patronized with my next post :).

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:54am

+1 SBed. Def watched this situation play out many times myself. Still remember one of the guys at my local 24 hour fitness that everyone thought was a joke first time they played with him. Literally about 5'3" skinny white kid. But he could hit any shot within 35 ft of the basket and had the quickest release I've ever seen.

More basketball posts. They don't even have to teach a valuable life lesson :)

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

  • 1
Jan 6, 2018 - 4:55am

Redacted:

+1 SBed. Def watched this situation play out many times myself. Still remember one of the guys at my local 24 hour fitness that everyone thought was a joke first time they played with him. Literally about 5'3" skinny white kid. But he could hit any shot within 35 ft of the basket and had the quickest release I've ever seen.

More basketball posts. They don't even have to teach a valuable life lesson :)

You asked for it, you'll get it! I love writing basketball.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:59am

Day 6: 10 Important Life Lessons (Originally Posted: 07/24/2012)

Andy note: Human is away this week, so he asked me to syndicate this helpful post from his blog thesummereffects.wordpress.com

My name is Summer. I am the eldest son in a family of five with one sister and then one brother. I came from a traditional big extended family (300+) in a beautiful Southeast Asian country known as Burma (Myanmar). As a fourth generation Chinese in Burma, I have always been very interested in being an entrepreneur building successful business at a young age. My parents have managed several successful businesses and it has greatly influenced on what I wanted as a career: independence, creativity, entrepreneurship and most importantly taking risks in life.

My father is the eldest son in his family and being his eldest son, I always know that I am being put on spotlight. While growing up, everyone in the family expect a lot from me. I can always feel it even if I tried to ignore it. Nevertheless, I used that pressure as motivation to push myself harder in life.

There were several important milestones in my life that have had huge impacts on me:

1. Getting into the Top High School – persistence always pay dividends.

I got into the best high school in the country. It was a private international school that followed US Education system and everything was taught in English. Having been in public school system (where the classes were taught in Burmese, the official language of Myanmar, and English was only taken as an elective), I had to overcome a huge language barrier and a steep learning curve. I eventually succeeded there. It wasn't my intelligence but my persistence – I put in longer hours than most of my classmates.

2. Moving to US for College – stepping outside your comfort zone is sometimes, the only way to improve in life. The main challenge has been working hard to be successful while living by myself. Imagine you have lived in your native country for your entire life. Then you have to move somewhere, without your parents, living alone, a place where it snows 9 months in a year, and settling into a new environment. I have to quickly learn to adapt myself and take care of myself. It might sounds easier said than done. I grew a lot during the first two years.

3. Founding my first own Club – "a leader proactively determines where he wants to be and who he wants and needs to be; creates, communicates, and executes a plan to achieve a vision and goals that authentically supports his values." The school has $30,000 fund, which Citigroup donated to the business school. The students wanted a real world experience in investing. I wanted to take a leadership role. I co-founded a club with several like-minded students. The most important thing was creating a corporate structure that rewards and enriches the members. People are motivated by their self-interests. Our business club was the most popular one on campus and today, that $30,000 grew close to $100,000. I am no longer with the club but what we created will remain a legacy and that's something, which matters to me. I want to make a lasting impact. I want to create system that works timelessly.

4. Dating my First Girlfriend – every relationship is built upon two important foundations: honesty and loyalty. I learned a lot in my five years long relationship. The most important thing was assuming the best in everyone and keeping faith when time get tough. I wouldn't have such a wonderful relationship without that. My first relationship has a strong impact on my view in relationship. I still keep reminding myself of the importance of those two qualities: honesty and loyalty. She got married a few years ago and we have kept in touch.

5. Getting My First Job at UBS – your job is to make your boss "look good". I was hired at a bulge bracket wealth management group because the manager found me personable, driven and passionate. It wasn't anything on the resume. I learned that how you present yourself is always more important than what is on the paper.

I also learned the importance of "net worth" (assets – liabilities). The clients with the largest net worth aren't always the big shots: doctors, lawyers or bankers. They are modest people who worked hard, saved a lot and lived within their means. They usually have stable marriage, happy families and modest living standards. And they are usually very happy.

6. Quitting a Job for the first time – "wake up every morning and think of it as the last day in your life. Ask yourself, would you be doing what you are about to do today, if it were the last day of your life? If you get the answer "no" consecutively for a few weeks, then "quit and move on"." (Steve Job, Apple) Without having another job lined up, I quit that job. I had this fear and uncertainty that came on top of me. What if I can't find another job? What if this is the best thing I can get right now? Will I be good enough? Will I regret the decision I made today? In the end, I listened to my heart and quit that job. I am at a better place today right now because I took the courage to make that decision that day. I got a better paid job that also provided more career advancements, two months after quitting that job.

7. Getting to NYSSA Equity Research Team – you allow people to reject you when you reject yourself first. Over 300 people applied for 4 spots in the team. Most people have better resumes, higher GPA and more working experience than me. But I gave my best. I did more preparation than anyone else. And I clearly demonstrated that I really wanted to be there. I got on the team and was also the Team Captain for the group. My chances of being there? Less than 1%. I learned that as soon as you set on achieving something worth fighting for, don't let the stats fool you into quitting. By the way, our report also came in top 5, against competitive schools like NYU, Columbia and Cornell. A little faith in yourself goes a long way.

8. Taking My First Class with a "Pick Up Artist" – focus on human dynamic, learn to have fun and never oversell yourself; confidence comes from within. Don't try too hard. Make people earn your attention, energy and time. Trying too hard implies that you are needy, clingy and desperate. And it shows. You are out there to make new friends. And you always have a choice. Even if a girl liked you, you have "a choice" to accept or not. Most importantly, there is no such thing as "the one". At least I don’t believe in that. Most relationship are built on similar core values, and a lot of hardworks and compromises. Don't get stuck on one girl. There are many great girls that "work for you". Focus on what makes you happy and not on "one particular person". It's cheesy but "there are many fish in the sea". I am happily in a relationship after meeting over close to 60 women. I focused on what makes me happy and which girl is the best fit "for me". And that piece of advice paid off a lot.

9. Losing 45 Pounds – delay instant gratification, focus on the big picture and never give up. There are a lot of times that I wanted to give up. There are a lot of times that I lost faith in myself. I had self-doubts and fears. Most importantly, I have to fight my temptations to stay away my goals. Then I realized that "fears are those frightful things when you take your eyes off from your goals". You always need to know what you are doing, and why you are doing something. That will give you the courage; motivation and persistence that you need to succeed in any things in life. I am more long-term focused, persistent and dedicated through this life changing experience.

10. Forming my own NYC inner circle with great guy friends – what can I do for you? Focus on how you can enrich the lives of those around you. Be straightforward with people. Tell everyone the same thing. Real friendship cannot be built upon lies, distrusts and manipulation. You are not being at your best, when you talk badly about your friends behind them, when you are just using them, or when you are not being honest with them. Especially with same-sex friends, you have to treat them like your brothers. You have to think for them and have their best interests in everything you do. People can tell when you are being real with them. And when you give them enough time, and always assume the best in them, they will return the favor eventually. But it always starts with trusting people, opening up to them and giving first. And the most important thing is "quality is more important than quantity in making friends." Sometimes we forget about that and try to please everyone and not focus on building meaningful bonds and establishing great relationships.

My Story:
Part 1: My Pursuit of Happyness
Part 2: My Pursuit of Happyness

See my previous posts in this series:
Day 1: To Be A Better Man
Day 2: Healthy Competition Among Mature Men
Day 3: I HATE YOU
Day 4: SWAG, Do You Have It?
Day 5: Word of Advice
Day 6: 10 Important Life Lessons
Day 7: Unofficial Guide to Banking & Dating
Bonus: Previous Useful Posts

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."
  • 3
Jan 6, 2018 - 5:11am
Dreizzy:
Beautiful post.

Thanks for your compliment.

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."
Jan 6, 2018 - 5:12am
SymphonyBanker:
Heh, great post - I was a little surprised to see the pick-up artist thing - but hey, glad it worked for you.

There is a correlation between success with women and success with career.
I really learned a lot from David DeAngelo.
Check out this free video on YouTube.
The talk is on "Being a Man". Pretty impressive.

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."
Jan 6, 2018 - 5:09am
"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." - IlliniProgrammer
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