Once every four years, most of the planet turns its attention to the soccer pitch for an unrivaled sporting pageant: the World Cup. And while Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner is not a superfan when it comes to futbol, he's a lover of sport in general, so it should come as little surprise that he, like billions of people around the globe, has his mind on the competition. But, at the Fool, our ongoing competition is to help you beat the market, so whatever he's doing, he's liable at some point to try to imagine it through an investor's lens.
In this segment, he focuses on a common Foolish theme: staying aware of your overall performance relative to the market. It's easy to get excited about our winning picks and ignore the stocks that we regret buying. Resist that urge and score yourself on your holistic performance regularly, with ruthless honesty. And insist on that same honesty elsewhere.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on June 20, 2018.
David Gardner: Observation No. 2, another key takeaway from this World Cup is that it's scored. Don't you love that sports, and other things I love like games, these things have scores. The World Cup without a score would be mostly pageantry. It would look like dance, which is a beautiful art form. But I think what adds additional zest for someone like me is that it's a competitive game. That's what's bringing the world together. It's things that have scores attached to them. As I've often said on this podcast, and I'll probably say it until I'm blue going forward, we benefit so much by scoring things.
You know this as an investor. I hope, when you buy a stock, you type it into a spreadsheet or use your brokerage website, or you can use a Motley Fool scorecard -- maybe on Motley Fool CAPS -- and you should be noting where you got that stock. At what price did you buy it? Then checking in on it, maybe a month or a year later, you should be able to say, "That stock is up x%," just like, "That team is up three goals." Without scoring, we don't really learn, do we?
I once wrote a series on fool.com, you can google it. It's a three-part series about Moneyball, celebrating the work of Bill James, the great baseball thinker, and how his work as an academic observer, really, he was a journalist, how that work was taken and started to be used by the teams themselves to make better decisions out there on the field, and to improve their scores. Moneyball, the importance of counting, statistics, looking at the right statistics, these are all profound points for investors.
Do the sources of advice that you seek when investing your money score themselves? Can you transparently see how your broker is doing? Or, how effective Barron's is with the performance of its cover stories? Or, that source you might be watching on television, does that person score him or herself in a way that you can see how they're actually doing?
In my experience, it's so obvious in sports. So many things are scored that we take it for granted. That's why the stark contrast of sport with finance and investing, where so few people, it seems to me, score themselves, it's such a stark contrast that I think, as investors, we should really insist as much as possible that our financial sources would have scores attached. Again, if you're not scoring the game, you don't know how you're doing. If you're not watching a game that's scored, you can't tell who's good. That's especially important when we think about our money.
I wish for you, observation No. 2, that you have scoring mechanisms in your life that help you make better decisions with your portfolio. This is just as true of us as business people, isn't it? One of the old saws, you've probably heard this one, you might have even said it yourself, maybe you're an entrepreneur, the old line -- if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Now, I can easily argue either side, in support of that line, or take the con view and go against that line. But in this particular context, this podcast, this week, I'm going to say that's a good thing. In our businesses, you want to be measuring the things that matter. That way, once you know how the measures are coming out, you have the numbers, you can make better decisions as a manager about whether to add more to that or subtract it or maybe sell it off. We need to know how things that matter are performing for us to make good decisions in business and investing and, of course, in life as well.
I celebrate that the World Cup is scored. I do have a gripe with 0-0 games. I personally don't think any game should ever end in 0-0, but this is one of the longtime traditions of soccer and the World Cup. But, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. That's very evident in sport. It should be evident in investing, and I bet you know it if you're in business.
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