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Opportunity comes to the prepared mind. Unfortunately most are distracted by noise, gossip, fear, greed, FOMO etc.
In the fields of investment, chance favors only the prepared mind. Most of the people calculate returns on investment but they forget the "Opportunity cost" which is the more important than ROI.
Most of the time people talk about how much returns are generated by stock investment / portfolio or what’s the ROI etc. But we forget to understand the bigger picture which is “Opportunity Cost”.
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Certain guiding principles have stood the test of time in the complex realm of investing and decision-making, shedding light on the path to success. Among the brilliant minds that have shared their wisdom with us, Charlie Munger, renowned investor, and sage of business strategy, has imparted some truly invaluable insights. His ideas serve as lighthouses in the stormy seas of investment, steering investors toward opportunity and away from potential pitfalls.
This article delves into Munger’s philosophy on readiness, the role of learning, understanding opportunity costs, and the artful balance of simplicity and complexity in strategic thinking. Let’s journey into the mind of one of the most successful investors of our time in his own words and decipher how these concepts can mold us into more insightful decision-makers.
Charlie Munger On Opportunity
Charlie Munger explained, “You know, the game in our kind of life is being able to recognize a good idea when you rarely get it or when it rarely is presented to you. And I think that’s something you have to prepare for over a long period. What is the old saying? That opportunity comes to the prepared mind. And I don’t think you can teach people in two minutes how to have a prepared mind. But that’s the game.”
Warren Buffett pointed out, “Things we learned 40 years ago, though, will help and recognize the next big idea.”
Munger continued, “And on opportunity cost, going back to that. The current freshman economics text, which is sweeping the country, has written in practically the first page, and it says, ‘All intelligent people should think primarily in terms of opportunity cost. That’s obviously correct, but it’s very hard to teach business based on opportunity cost. It’s much easier to teach the Capital Assets Pricing Model, or you can just punch in numbers and out come numbers, and therefore people teach what is easy to teach instead of what is correct to teach. It reminds me of Einstein’s famous saying. He says, ‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no more simple.’ Write that down.”
Mental readiness is paramount in seizing potential advantages. According to Munger, adequate comprehension and application of a beneficial idea require substantial preparation and mental conditioning.
Long-term learning plays an essential role in identifying and capitalizing on significant concepts. Knowledge and wisdom accumulated over an extended period can pave the way to recognize and exploit the next game-changing idea.
Opportunity cost should be a primary consideration in strategic decision-making. An acute understanding of this economic concept is fundamental to optimize choices and navigating business terrain effectively.
The Capital Assets Pricing Model may seem more straightforward due to its numerical nature, but its overuse can lead to overlooking the relevance of opportunity cost.
Balancing simplicity with complexity in thinking is crucial. Following Einstein’s principle, Munger emphasizes the importance of maintaining simplicity in problem-solving and decision-making processes without diluting the essence of the matter.
In decision-making, striking a balance between simplicity and complexity is a high-wire act. Charlie Munger provides the perfect formula for success, combining lessons from life-long learning, understanding opportunity costs, and taking the Einsteinian approach of maintaining simplicity without compromising substance. This powerful synthesis allows for a nimble mind, ever prepared to grasp life’s next significant idea or opportunity. By instilling these principles, we can better equip ourselves to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of decision-making, fostering an environment that cultivates success in business and life.