A friend of mine recently forwarded me a speech by Himalayan Capital Founder and Chairman Li Lu called, "Reflections on Reaching Fifty." It was published on Li's Weibo account on April 19, 2016. I thought the speech was spectacular. Below are the five salient messages from his speech. Both Charlie Munger (Trades, Portfolio) and Confucius would have agreed with Li.
1. Ninety percent of his success is showing up.
"If I have anything to do with that journey, it is simply that I took it. Woody Allen is right, 90% of success is to show up. At various stages in my life, I could have stopped, or took the long rest. For some reason, my heart told me otherwise. I just kept going. Half of the time, I wasn't sure where I was heading. The other half I was probably taking the wrong turns. It doesn't matter."
2. Constantly seek rationality.
"But I was on high alert to correct mistakes along the way. I was careful not to be influenced by emotions that I know are poisonous and counter-productive to the journey I want to take; things like envy, resentment, hatred, jealousy, greed and self-pity. I certainly wasn't born with immunity to this side of human nature. In fact, my early life experiences may require me to work even harder than others to guard against these human vulnerabilities. And when I did fall for their prey, or when I took a wrong turn, I was fortunate to be able to correct them quickly. Socrates was right, unexamined life is not worth living, certainly not living well. Every once in a while, I would sit down alone to figure out where I might be wrong."
3. Form the habit of self-examination and self-reinvention.
"In my experience, every five to ten years or so, I had to change so much of myself that at times it felt like almost a reinvention. I've been blessed with the faculties of rationality that help me to form the habit of self-examination. And when I fail in self-examination, I'm even more blessed to have some strong friends who can point out my blind spots. I would have been lost in life's various mazes if I had not gotten that help."
4. How to think about investing:
"Now that I have compiled a record of my own for over twenty years, still enjoy the game even better than when I started, I think I will simply continue. I'm curious to see how long I can follow the great record set by my teachers, Warren and Charlie, that is by now well over fifty years. Not for the size of asset under management, not for the fees, just keep a score card the way a golfer would after each round and after a life-long career. So value investing is likely a life-long pursuit for me."
5. How to think about old age:
"Regarding age, my favorite quote comes from Norman Lear. At 94 he is still active in so many different things, collecting fans who are in their 80s, 60s and all the way down to the 20s.I once ask him how old does he think of himself. Without missing a beat, he said, 'I'm always the same age as the people I talk to.' Now, that is a cool answer! Ever since, I've been paying close attention to who I am talking to."
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