Investors, Time To Invoke Thoreau: “It’s What You See”

Ross Heart

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see ~ Henry David Thoureau

That is one of my favorite investing quotes of all-time. I’m guessing Thoreau wasn’t using it to describe a rising wedge or to make sense of a head and shoulders top, but it just seems so applicable given the bombardment of commentary and noise in today’s global marketplace for investors.

I took the picture below awhile back in Estes Park, Colorado and imagine a modern-day Thoreau working the summer counter to finance the joy of hitting the powder all winter long. We’re all looking at the same gas pumps, but as investors are we walking around with our polarized sunglasses on allowing others to influence what we see?

So we need to be careful how we consume information.

gas pump reading

Because of enormous computing power, an endless supply of commentators on the teevee, and a relentless barage of internet pontificating, the quantity of what can be ‘looked at’ is infinite, and quite often paralyzing.

That information can also be processed and quantified quicker than at any other time in history. It makes one wonder why we still have so many situations where ‘nobody saw this coming’ or ‘let’s make sure something like this never happens again’.

Seeing something different from what others are ‘looking at’ can be doubly difficult in today’s society where appearances and trends dictate a strong adherence to hanging with the herd. During times when investing can be put on auto-pilot, ‘what you see’ seems of little relevance and frankly can end up feeling like a hindrance. But when times get a bit dicey and the opinions of the herd seem to change by the hour, the value of ‘what we see’, or perhaps more importantly ‘what we’ve seen’ tends to show its mettle.

Thanks for reading.

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