If you know Berkshire Hathaway
Today, we're moving on to tendency No. 3: Disliking/Hating Tendency.
For all the haters in the house
Just as with the Liking/Loving Tendency I recently wrote about, the Disliking/Hating Tendency is with us from a very early point in life. In fact, Munger says we are born with these primitive emotions. The growing popularity of smear campaigns and negative advertisements in American politics, for example, shows that some people just have a natural talent for it -- as if they've been working at it since birth. So how does this tendency manifest itself? There are three primary ways:
- We ignore the positive virtues in the things or people we dislike.
- We dislike people and things that are even associated with the object of our dislike.
- We distort the truth, bending reality to conform to our dislikes and hatred.
These past few years have created an environment where it has been really easy to hate. From polarizing politics to the financial crisis and the recession that followed, people have really taken to hating and disliking someone or something. We need to assign blame, so we look for the quickest avenue and let 'er rip.
But just because some banks screwed up, are all banks bad? Bank of America
And how about the Gulf spill? Just last year we were crucifying BP
But are all oil companies bad? Are they all bad investments? Are you a bad person for investing in oil companies? My answer to all three (predictably, I'm sure) is no. What's more, for investors, it was a wonderful time to take advantage of the blanketed disapproval and find the winners among them. Heck, I even recommended Tidewater
Is this opportunistic? Yes. Do I hate what the responsible parties caused? You bet I do. And that's the point. We as humans will hate. We can't help it. But as investors, we can train ourselves to control these negative emotions and take advantage when the opportunities do arise. And I kind of like that.
Read the other installments so far in this series: