Considering that Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner named his podcast Rule Breaker Investing, you might expect that its sole focus would be on helping folks grow their money. But as it happens, the motto he and his brother Tom Gardner chose for their company is "Making the world smarter, happier, and richer" -- which covers far more ground than just the financial.
In that context, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that he frequently detours away from the world of stocks and into areas more connected with the "smarter" and "happier" part of the equation. Hence this week's theme: It's his fourth podcast of "mental tips, tricks, and life hacks." From how to get the most out of key moments to how to get the most out of Post-it notes, each one of these has the potential to smooth out or upgrade your day.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on March 6, 2019.
David Gardner: When the road looks rough ahead, and you're miles and miles from your nice, warm bed, you just remember what your old pals said, "Boy, you've got a friend in me."
Now, for some of you, you're hearing Randy Newman's tune in your head and it might stick with you for the rest of the day. For others, you may not recognize those lyrics from the original Toy Story movie and the song "You've Got a Friend in Me." They say something important. We at The Motley Fool are trying to help. We do five daily or weekly podcasts, all of them free, all trying to be helpful. We've done them for years. We love helping people! That's been a purpose statement we used for years here -- to help the world invest better.
Well, once or twice a year on this podcast, that help takes on unique form. I think about: What are some mental tips, some tricks, some life hacks that I've used or seen used to great effect? And why wouldn't I take a break from our usual format and share it out? So, what do we have? "Mental Tips, Tricks, and Life Hacks: Volume 4," on this week's Rule Breaker Investing.
Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing! I hope that your March has started well! This podcast was actually taped last week because I'm on spring break this week. I'm skiing in Colorado at my cousin's home, which our family has done for years now, our generous cousins. Always a pleasure! I'm going to try not to get hurt out there on the slopes. But as a consequence, I thought: What's a good topic that I could do this week, where because the market will be trading in between when I tape and when you're hearing this, and it's several days, what's something that's a little bit more evergreen, that can just stand on its own regardless of what's happening in the world at large?
I thought back to one of my favorite series on this podcast -- “Mental Tips, Tricks, and Life Hacks.” And yes, this is volume 4. What I do is, I make a list over the course of years. I just think, "Oh, that's a good one. I'll add that." And once I get to about five, I decide it's time to do one of these podcasts to continue this series.
We've had some fun ones in the past. I'll give you a quick example of a past trick. This one's, whenever you want to get your way with a friend, and you go, "Hey, I got a number behind my back. One or two, what's the number?" I think a lot of you may know this, especially if you remember this from the podcast. Odds on, it should be about a 50-50 shot, whether it's one or whether it's two. But studies will show that a surprising majority of people, when asked to say one or two, they'll say two. Why do they say two? They say two because one sounds too obvious. It's the first number out of your mouth. It's one. That obviously wouldn't be what you're holding behind your back because that's not nearly as subtle as two. So, I'm making these numbers up, as I sometimes do on this podcast, something like 80% of the time, people say two instead of one. So, if you're trying to get your way with somebody, always go with one. It's going to work for you more often than not.
There's a little bit of a blast from the past; a teaser as to where we're headed this particular podcast; some new life hacks, mental tips, and tricks. And yes, I've got a few from our listeners. I'll share it halftime of this show as well. It's a motley array of thoughts for you this week.
All right, without further ado -- mental tip, trick, or life hack No. 1. This one is in the life hack category, and this one starts with an interview that my brother Tom and I did with the columnist, the humorist, Dave Barry from the Miami Herald. Years and years ago, I remember the story that Dave told, and I'm going to share it back with you now as a wonderful life hack that you can use in different situations.
Before Dave Barry was the famous humorous columnist, syndicated in many papers nationally, he was a technical-writing teacher. His job was to come in and advise engineers about how to write a better document, to explain whatever their manual was they were writing for whatever gizmo or widget they were working on. Or maybe they were a software developer, and they're trying to lay out the steps by which their code is organized. It's technical writing. I know some of you probably know that much better than I do, very well. That was something that Dave Barry knew pretty well. And he said invariably, when he worked with engineers, and they wrote their white papers, they would go through one page after another, all the steps that they went through in order to reach their interesting conclusion. So, what Dave said back, his No. 1 bit of advice to people when they're writing technically, is always lead with your interesting conclusion.
Some people may be interested by the various steps and pivots that you made to get from point A to your final destination, point C. But the vast majority of us just want to hear right up front what your interesting conclusion is. Then, maybe, we'll have questions about how you got there and want to hear more about it. I've always thought that's great advice in writing. I'm sure it's great advice in advertising and other areas of life, public speaking: Always lead with your interesting conclusion.
I think that's particularly appropriate to lead with for this podcast. I'm leading with my interesting conclusion, or my interesting Dave Barry story, putting it right up front here. I wanted to connect that back to another author that I was talking with last year on this podcast. I know some of you will remember Priya Parker. She appeared on Aug. 8 of 2018.
I interviewed her about her book, The Art of Gathering. One of her chapters in that book is entitled "Never Start a Funeral With Logistics." She makes the point in that chapter, it's a very memorable line, but the concept -- and I certainly encourage you to go back and listen to that whole interview with her, because there's so many great points about how to do any gathering of humans, whether it's a business meeting or a wedding or a corporate off-site, better; we can do so many of our gatherings, just with little tips here and there, better -- one of them is never lead with logistics. Priya says: "Remember that the two greatest points of impact that you have for your event, whatever it is, is right at the very start and what you leave them with right at the very end." The very worst way to start an important or exciting event is: "Now, before we get started, a few housekeeping items. Someone left their lights on in the garage. If your license plate number is this or that..." That's such a missed opportunity for the start or conclusion of any event.
In fact, I took Priya's words to heart because pretty much ever since I talked with her in August of last year, I've tried to start this podcast with more of a cold open like good, smart TV does these days. When I was growing up, TV would start with a jingle, a song, the song of the show, and then credits, credits, credits. These days, it's very different. Television's a lot better. You still see credits, but you're usually going to have a real moment of impact at the very start of the show. They're never leading with logistics, some of the best shows on Netflix and HBO these days. So, similarly, while I'm never going to have the same impact with the start of a Rule Breaker Investing podcast as, let's say an episode of Breaking Bad might have, at the same time, I do try to lead off with something that will catch your imagination. I try never to go with logistics.
These points are sort of the same point in the end: Always lead with your interesting conclusion and make the best use of real moments of impact.
All right, No. 2. This one comes straight out of classic personal finance. I don't do a lot of personal finance on this show. If you are somebody who is trying to get out of debt or figure out the best way to pay for your kid's college or make decisions about taxes this time of year, et cetera, I hope you know about our wonderful Motley Fool Answers podcast with Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp. That's also a weekly Motley Fool podcast. It's there to answer all kinds of questions, but most of all, I think, to get people ready to invest, to get them to the point that they're making all the right decisions. This comes out of that vein, that tradition, if you will. I know a lot of you have heard this phrase before, but I think it'd be remiss if I didn't go with No. 2, this mental tip: "Pay yourself first."
I'm reading an excellent book right now called Atomic Habits by James Clear. In a later chapter of his book, Mr. Clear introduces the concept of a "commitment device." I'm just going to quote briefly. He says, "a commitment device is a choice that you make in the present that controls your actions in the future." It's a way to lock in future behavior, bind you to good habits, and restrict you from bad ones. In fact, in that chapter, it tells the story of the French novelist Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Miserables in addition to many other great books. Hugo was on a writing deadline and used this commitment device to make sure that he hit his deadline: He basically had his assistant lock all of his normal clothes away and just wore a robe with nothing under it. It was cold outdoors, and it meant he was not going to be going outdoors, and he really didn't want to present himself just in a robe to everybody. So, literally, that commitment device enabled him to get his writing done on time. It's these actions we take in the near term, which could be painful or highly inconvenient, but they lock in future good behavior.
I think one of the best things that you or I can do, especially as a young person, that very first job we get, immediately park whatever portion of your salary you can into the 401(k) plan. If your organization matches it, 401(k), 403(b), definitely maximize that. And just pretend that was never your money anyway. Pay yourself first, the line reads, the old saying goes. The idea being that you are paying your future self. You are creating savings by immediately invisibly having deducted from your paycheck as much as you possibly can save.
It's easy to say. It's a harder thing to do. But really, when you think about it, it's not that hard a thing to do, to check a box, to say, "Yes, enroll me in my automatic deduction," and just forgo that money. Your future self will be so appreciative that you took that action.
I realize, in this case, it sounds like I'm just talking to people who are starting their first job. If that's you, I sure hope you're listening. But this kind of commitment device can be used in many different contexts in life. Let me paint a picture of what this looked like in one longtime Motley Fool member and Rule Breaker Investing podcast listener's life, and that's Dave Geck, who wrote on Jan. 1, New Year's Day, 2018. Last year, I featured this on the podcast; in fact, Alison and Bro over at Motley Fool Answers loved it so much, they also featured it the same week on theirs. This is Dave Geck's story, and this to me is what "paying yourself first" looks like. He wrote:
Back in 1975, one of my instructors took a few minutes to talk about finances. He had a recommendation. He suggested that when we graduated, we take $5 out of our $625 per month that we were going to receive as second lieutenants.
Yes, Dave was in the military -- $625 per month, the salary. The instructor said:
Take $5 out, and do so without fail, or changing the amount until you're promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant. And then the instructor asked us, how much would we have? Well, knowing it would take two years until we were promoted, we quickly figured 24 times $5 plus interest would be about $125. He commented that yes, it would not be much, but the goal of the first two years was to develop the habit of saving. He then suggested that upon getting a raise
-- actually two raises, you got one for the promotion and you got one for two years of service --
that we save half of the increase and use the rest to pay additional taxes and increase our standard of living. He pointed out that if we could make ends meet on a second lieutenant's salary in our 24th month, then we could certainly make it during the 25th month on that amount plus half of the increase.
He said to do this throughout our career, and we would have a sizable sum by the time we retired. It made sense to me. I did not have a career of military service, but I followed his advice with my civilian pay. When I was about 55, my wife and I went out with another couple and the husband asked if we'd saved anything yet for retirement. He said they were concerned as they had not yet started. I related the story of my instructor's suggestion and said we were probably saving about 40% of my gross salary. They were shocked.
The next day, I came home, and my wife greeted me with music to any husband's ears. She said, "You're right." I had no idea of what she was speaking and was almost afraid to ask what I was right about. She said that when she heard my story, she thought it was quite an exaggeration to say we were saving 40% of my gross salary. She said she'd never added it up but did so that morning. We had some money going here and some going there. She was shocked to find out it added up to 42%. She said she would have believed 30%, but obviously not 40%.
In all my years, I've never heard of anyone else following this approach. I've suggested it numerous times but have no emulators yet. Though I think my youngest daughter and her husband have been close to following it.
That is paying yourself first: making it invisible. When a bountiful harvest shows up in your life years and decades later, all because of that early commitment device, that box that you checked, that resolve that you had to save.
For each of these, I've thought of them as either a mental tip or a trick or life hack. I'm going to call this one a mental tip. You could argue it's a life hack to always pay yourself first, but really, it's about your mentality. It's what's in your head, and how that then plays out in your actions. Let's call that one a mental tip as we move to No. 3.
All right, No. 3. This one's a trick. Well, it's going to start as a trick, anyway. Anybody who's been around Fool HQ and been in a meeting with me, or maybe dozens of them over the years, knows that I absolutely love Post-it Notes. I love them! In fact, I decided to make 3M one of my stock recommendations because 3M is, of course, the company behind Post-it Notes. And I only did it a couple of years ago; I should have recommended that stock 10 or 15 years ago. As it turns out, now doing quick math, I see that since September of 2017 when I recommended it, 3M stock -- the ticker symbol, appropriately enough, MMM -- is up 2%. It's up. The S&P 500, the market overall, is up 15%. I haven't even necessarily timed myself well into 3M's stock. But it's been a great company and a great stock for years and years and years. When I finally picked it in September 2017, I thought, "Why have I waited so long? This is one of the most innovative companies traditionally in the United States of America, and I really love Post-it Notes."
So, here's my trick. If you also love Post-it Notes, you may know this. But if you don't, and somebody hands you a new Post-it Note pad, just a single little block, look at the plastic that surrounds it. A lot of us, when you are handed such a pad and it's wrapped up in this plastic packaging, we start to pick it up with our fingernails or whatever we have that looks like fingernails. We try to figure out, "How am I going to open this annoying plastic packaging around this 3M Post-it Note pad?" Here's the trick. For a lot of them -- not all of them, but many of them and the ones I buy -- you'll notice that you don't have to pick up the plastic packaging. You can actually just snap it. You can bend the Post-it Note pad, and the packaging snaps off of it like magic. If you're a Post-it Note addict like me and you didn't know that, you're welcome! I just made your life a little bit more fun.
Beyond my love of Post-it Notes and that trick about packaging, I want to add a little bit more. This probably falls more in the life hack category, as I think about Post-it Notes. Post-it Notes, Post-it Notes, why do I love thee? Well, one of the reasons I love Post-it Notes is because in David Allen's wonderful book Getting Things Done, which I read about 15 years ago, he was lionizing, championing the idea of using Post-it Notes. He said something profound to me at the time. He said, "When you use a Post-it Note -- one thought per note." Don't necessarily use it to make a list. Don't put three thoughts down. Just one thought per note. Using that as a simple tool -- or in this case, I'll say a life hack -- ever since, I've put one thought per note.
Why is that helpful? Well, it makes it really easy to manipulate your thoughts and make the best use of them. For example, at the end of a meeting, I might have had 10 good thoughts. I have 10 Post-it Notes in front of me. Some of them I no longer think are that relevant. It's easy for me to toss them away. I don't have to rip a bad idea off of another good one because I put three on one note. Nope, I just take the bad thoughts, or the ones that are ephemeral or I'm not going to use again, and I just toss them. In the meantime, I take the other ones and I can now arrange them in a different order to make sense of the thinking that came out of that session. The ability to mix and match and sculpt something new from the thoughts that you have greatly enabled, of course, first of all, by Post-it Notes, but second by that concept of one thought per note.
All right, we're getting near half-time here. I want to add one or two more quick life hacks surrounding Post-it Notes. If you're like me, you have a problem. You have too many Post-it Notes in your life. You've written a lot of them, they might be shoved into file folders or piling up on your desk, or dropping over the transom in your corporate environment. It's incumbent on us, I think, if we're going to use Post-it Notes, to really process those thoughts. One of my best ideas is: Always end a 30-minute meeting after 25 minutes, and try to end your 60-minute meetings after 50 minutes, i.e., allow yourself five or 10 minutes at the end of the meeting to process your Post-its. What I do is, I toss out the bad ones, I rearrange the good ones, and then critically -- it's a two-step process -- I take a photo of those. That way, you can say goodbye to them altogether. So if you have a smartphone -- I think most of us do these days -- you can just snap a quick picture of those Post-it Notes and then throw them all away. And now, you've got a saved image that will help guide your thinking and is easy to slot in -- I use Evernote, but there are lots of different ways to organize notes and photos these days.
To go one step further, a lot of us have too much stuff in our houses. Part of the popularity of Marie Kondo and her Netflix special and her books is that a lot of us realize we just have too much stuff. What gives you joy? One of the best ways I've found to separate myself from things that I would have otherwise saved -- let's just say you have a trophy from a great moment in your athletic youth, but admittedly, it's not really that relevant or meaningful to you anymore, but you'd like to retain a memory of it, take a photo of it and then toss it or give it away. The act of taking photos of things, whether we're talking about Post-it Notes from a meeting or something that you finally want to get rid of out of your attic, but you do want a memory of it, just take a photo. For me, anyway, that enables me to feel like I've captured it forever and I can now separate myself from that physical thing and move on.
So, there you go. It started with a trick of how to snap open a Post-it Note pad from its packaging, but a little bit more thinking, life hacks around how to organize your thinking and how to get rid of stuff.
We did have some of our listeners writing in this week to give me a few extra mental tips, tricks, and life hacks to share with you. I've got three I'm going to share really quick. The first is from Frank de Pietro, @frdip on Twitter. Frank writes: "Hey, here's a life hack, @RBIPodcast. Store your peanut butter jars upside down. This allows the peanut oil to seep through the peanut butter to the bottom of the jar and eliminates endless stirring and mess."
First of all, Frank, it's clear to me that you are using a more natural peanut butter than something like Jif or the other classic American staples that don't really have that oil. It sounds like you're using the really good stuff. And that does sound like a useful tip. Probably works for almond butter, too. There's one for people who want a happier kitchen. Thank you, Frank!
Georgina Milum, @GeorginaSays on Twitter: This is maybe a little bit more of a pet peeve than a mental tip, trick, or life hack, but I'm going to share it anyway because I think it makes a good point. Georgina says, "Recently while walking, a podcast was playing. It was Rule Breaker Investing. David talked about pet peeves. Mine is cellphone etiquette." She's referring to an author who's talking about listening in his book on closing. Says, "If you wouldn't pull out your phone in a meeting, why do you pull it out at the table?" (Presumably the supper table.)
Georgina, yeah, I think we can call that a life hack. It's about being present, both mentally and with the other people in your life, especially if it's the supper table and you're there with your kids -- or maybe even worse, in a more serious or dignified social setting. Thank you for that!
Finally, Matthew Cochrane, @FoolMCochrane. Matt, a longtime writer for The Motley Fool and one of our farm-team members -- great to hear from you, Matt! You said: "Here's a life hack. Use credit card reward points to pay for Christmas presents." In fact, Matt points to an article that he wrote on Nov. 28, 2017. The title of the article is "Use Credit Card Rewards to Make Your Christmas Budget Merry and Bright." He talks about how through smart, effective use of credit cards, he and his wife racked up $1,200 using the tips that he gives in that article.
Now, reading a URL over a podcast is not a great way to send you this information. If you're interested in Matt's life hack, we'll put a URL in the show notes to his article for those of you who are motivated to figure out how to do that better and smarter. Thank you, Matt; thank you, Georgina; and thank you, Frank, for weighing in with some of your own mental tips, tricks, and life hacks!
We have two left. Let's go to No. 4; No. 4 is about limit orders. I know a lot of you own stocks directly because that's a key ongoing theme -- not just on this podcast Rule Breaker Investing, though it is -- but certainly with many Motley Fool services. It's really a part of the whole Motley Fool mission. A lot of us probably have some experience with typing in trades. I will tell you that when I trade a stock, which is infrequently, I typically am buying and then holding and holding for years, and only selling if I need to, or if the company has gotten bought out, or if I decide I don't like the company for whatever reason anymore. But I'm very uber-patient with my investing. Even using the word "trading" or typing in a trade, you should not picture anything frenetic, if you're trying to picture me. This is something that I do dispassionately just a few times a year. Lots of buying, not much selling.
So, I just use market orders. For those of you who are not familiar with what I'm talking about, when you do buy or sell a stock, you have a couple of choices in terms of how you would like that trade executed. If you want to just mail it in -- keep it simple like I do -- I almost exclusively, my entire life, have just used market orders. Especially these days, the markets are much more liquid. There's somebody on the other side of every trade. There's a lot of money sloshing around out there. In my experience, you don't really have much problem, especially with the kinds of companies that we look for, with a big spread between the bid and the ask. I'm not going to get into the technicals here, but basically, when you see a stock price quoted, you can generally within a second buy it right where it was, especially the kinds of companies that we talk about here on Rule Breaker Investing. So, for me, it's just simple to place a market order.
However, some people swear by limit orders. They like to think that they're going to set the price whereby they buy a stock. Let's just pretend the stock is trading at $35.14. If it were I, I would just go right ahead and buy it right there at $35.14. But some people decide they can get a better deal. They'll type in a limit order at $35. What that means is, they're telling the person who's executing the trades, the broker, they're telling him, "Wait until the stock gets down to $35, then buy. Do not buy until it gets to $35." Those are limit orders. You can use that when you buy and/or when you sell. Again, I never use them, but some people swear by them.
My suggestion, we're going to call this No. 4, we're calling this a trick. My suggestion is not to use round numbers. In my experience, people who use limit orders typically will say $35.00 for the buy, or they want to sell at $110.00. A lot of people think very conventionally that way. I've never been on the brokerage end of it, but I can imagine, when you're looking at people who have limit orders in, they're all jumping all over each other at an exact point that is the round number taken out to the hundredth, the extra decimal. Everybody's sitting there at an even number. So, my suggestion is, never put your limit orders at .00 in terms of cents. Why not put it at .01? Or, if you're looking to sell a stock, don't try to sell at $100.00. Sell at $99.98.
What's the thinking going on here? Well, the bad news is, sometimes the stock you really wanted to buy at $35 that was at $35.14 never does make it down to $35. There are a lot of people who are hoping to buy it there, but you, by just placing your limit order one penny or a few pennies higher, stand a much better chance of getting ahead of all the other herd that's sitting there at that even number, and you can get your trade completed, again whether it's your buy or your sell. I would be the guy placing my limit order -- if I ever used them -- at $35.01, not $35.00. Or, if I'm looking to sell, let's pick a big round number like $100 again, I would be placing my limit order at $99.98. Who cares about an extra two pennies? That's going to get you out ahead of all the other people who are sitting there waiting for the stock, they hope, to hit $100.00.
This concept is a little bit broader. We're just talking about not spending too much time where everybody else is at the round numbers. You're just adding a digit or tweaking a digit here or there in order to separate yourself from the herd.
It reminds me of the old game show, The Price Is Right. I think a lot of us have probably seen that show. (I say the old game show. I think it's still going, but it's been around for decades.) One of the basic games of that game show, I had to look up the title, they actually call it "One Bid." That's the name of the basic game that studio contestants play, drawn down from the audience, in order to see who's going to get to go up on the stage with the host and play a mini-game for bigger dollars. You've probably seen this one before. The host will show a product, and each of the four players will guess what the price of that product is. They have one bid. That's the name of this mini-game. Typically, what you'll see is, somebody will say, "Let's go with $137." And the last person will say, "$138." They'll position themselves just a single-dollar minimum increment higher than the other person's guess. It's always kind of a nasty move, but it's very effective. They're basically roping off that person's chance of winning and taking the gap in between $137 and whatever the next highest bid is because it's all about bidding without going over.
Without trying to overexplain this, I think a lot of us have seen The Price Is Right; you know this game. That's the same trick that I just gave you around limit orders. You're displacing the majority or the herd with a number that's just slightly off, putting yourself in an advantageous position. Works on The Price Is Right, and I think it probably works in the world of limit orders. So, there's a thought.
All right, I'm about to get to No. 5, but my stand-in producer this week, the very talented longtime producer, famous for his production of other shows that probably get more clicks than mine, Steve Broido, our so-called "man behind the glass" -- Steve has been raising his hand. He's got something to share. Steve, do you have a mental tip, trick, or life hack for us?
Steve Broido: I do, and it's courtesy of David Pogue. I saw him speak.
Gardner: The New York Times, he's the technology writer?
Broido: I believe he is. People may know this, but I did not. If you look on your gauge cluster when you're driving -- empty or full, your fuel tank -- there's a little arrow. Every car has it. The arrow points to where the door to fill your gas tank is. I had no idea! It changed my life!
Gardner: That is a great one, Steve! I'm going to guess you just changed maybe dozens of lives out there from dozens of listeners, because I think most people don't know that. In fact, I believe it was my daughter who pointed that out to me. Why did she do that? Because she was just taking her first driving lessons at 16 or 17, and her instructor had pointed that out to her. That means I'd been bumbling around the world for 35 or 40 years, not ever knowing that. Steve, that's an excellent one! And yes, if you look, there's a little arrow right next to the little gas gauge, and it's showing you which side of the car you should be filling your gas tank in. See, don't you think -- particularly helpful for rental cars?
Broido: It's helpful for rental cars. It's helpful for my own car, which I always forget because I don't fill up that often!
Gardner: [laughs] Understood. Great one, thank you! All right, we're going to call that one No. 5. That's a bonus. That means we have six this time. Let me close it out with my last one; I'm going to call this a trick. Here it is.
Now, most of us will probably never want to take advantage of this trick. Unless you're feeling like you want to run for office at some point -- I do not -- this might not be that useful. But you probably have a friend who's running for office, or you're going to notice who's running for office in the next two years or so. This is a trick that I think someone should pull in the political world. Here it is -- it's very simple: Do an advertisement for your opponent.
That's right. If you're in a big enough race, and you've got a TV budget, I think you should consider kicking off your campaign with a beautiful high-definition, occasionally slow-mo-using, political campaign ad specifically praising your opponent. That would be such a breath of fresh air. I think in a world where people are talking about how poisonous the environment is between the political parties, and I don't enjoy that sort of thing at all, I think it would be a devastatingly smart and probably effective approach to do just that. It would set a tone for the campaign and would help build the reputation of the person who had the guts to do this, to show that you're not just trying to beat down your opponent. You're not going to be using, I hope, negative advertising as your primary approach to try to get elected. Nope. You're actually going to say, "The person who's running against me, I admire. This person has their own ideas. They're different from mine. This ad is to celebrate him or her."
I know it sounds crazy, but you know, crazy enough that it just might work! I would love to see somebody try this in the next year and a half. In fact, I'm even going to say that I'm not the only crazy one.
One of the better articles I've read in the last two weeks appeared on the ABC News site. It's written by Matthew Dowd, you can Google it: "Running a 'Conscious Campaign.'" Now, I know a lot of you are familiar with conscious capitalism because not only am I on the board of the Institute, but I've talked about it quite a bit over the years here on Rule Breaker Investing: looking for stocks, companies that practice conscious capitalism, that create wins for all of their stakeholders, that are purpose-driven, that have servant leadership, that have great cultures, places that people really want to work. That conscious capitalism. Well, Matthew Dowd begins his article by saying, "In 2013, the book Conscious Capitalism became a best-seller by advocating a new approach to the practice of business and the corporate culture in America." Quoting from the author and founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, Dowd writes: "Just as happiness is best experienced by not aiming for it directly, profits are best achieved by not making them the primary goal of business."
Dowd then goes on to say: "I would stipulate that winning a campaign victory is best achieved by not making that the primary goal of politics, which leads me to advocate for the 2020 presidential candidates and their operatives engaging in 'conscious campaigns.'"
It is a fascinating article talking about 10 ways that a political campaign could be done consciously, that is, respectfully and very effectively. Again, conscious capitalism isn't just a nice idea. It works and it wins. That's exactly what Matthew Dowd talks about in this article. He's a veteran of the political arena, something I don't know much about. I loved reading this article. I highly recommend it to you.
In fact, I think I might try to invite him on this podcast sometime this year or the next, to discuss some of these ideas. For example, No. 3 of his list of 10, I love this: "End the tactics of personal insults, name-calling, and berating or demeaning others. If we wouldn't want to see words and actions our sons or daughters use in elementary school, then we shouldn't allow them in political campaigns." I don't think Dowd is suggesting that it should be illegal. He's saying the best way to practice and win is to do so consciously. That's a good example of something you'd encounter in his article.
Anyway, No. 6, to close it out this week: Advertise in a respectful and admiring manner for your political opponent, whoever you are, if you're ever thinking of running.
All right, that's all I have for you for this week's Rule Breaker Investing. Again:
- Lead with your interesting conclusion.
- Pay yourself first.
- Make excellent use of Post-it Notes in your life.
- Limit orders with odd numbers.
- Steve Broido's inclusion: Pay attention to that gas gauge; it's pointing to which side your tank is on in the back of the car! And finally:
- Advertise for your opponent.
Thanks once again for joining me this week, for suffering a Fool gladly. Fool on!
As always, people on this program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Learn more about Rule Breaker Investing at rbi.fool.com.