Quote of the week:

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire


Fortune favors the focused 

“Your mission is to find your life’s work and to not get distracted once you do.” This line comes from Frederik Gieschen’s latest essay on the importance of focus. It’s a subject that doesn’t get enough scrutiny. We live in an extraordinarily noisy world, with increasingly sophisticated tools to attract your attention. News, politics, streaming TV—e-mail newsletters!—all compete for your eyes and ears. We have moved past the Information Era, and we now exist in the Information Overload Era. To thrive in this era, my view is pretty simple: we need better systems to distill what is important—and what isn’t. As Frederik points out in his piece, focus is, and will always be, the essential “superpower” to find success and happiness in one’s life. He writes:

“Alice Schroeder explained how Buffett structured his day for maximum focus with the window shutters closed, stacks of reading materials on the desk, and the occasional phone call. ‘You get no sense that a world exists outside,’ she noted, ‘which is what he wants, no distractions.’ Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, called Jobs ‘the most remarkably focused person’ he’d ever met. Jobs would regularly ask him: ‘How many things have you said no to today?’ Ive believes that focus ‘means saying no to something you with every bone in your body you think is a phenomenal idea.’ If it’s not a little painful, it’s not focus.”


A third-generation stock picker

Speaking of focus, Forbes recently ran a deservedly admiring profile of my friend Christopher Tsai and his 21-stock portfolio. Close readers of The Nightcrawler might recall Christopher’s speech on investing in an age of disruption from earlier this summer, but the Forbes piece offers a bit more color on his early investing roots—and his dynamic process. “We do a lot of work up front, wait for an opportunity, typically a market sell off, and then we swing hard,” Christopher says. 

“When it comes to markets, Tsai says it’s normal as humans not to like uncertainty. But as he tells clients, thinking long term is always beneficial. Even in bull markets there are pockets of mispricing where quality businesses are trading at a discount, he adds. ‘So we’re always looking for those pockets of mispricing that might not be so obvious. I tell clients not to forego investing just because of short term concerns,’ says Tsai. ‘You know, since I started investing money over 20 years ago, the news has never really been good… There’s always something to be concerned about, but that’s our opportunity.'”

A few more links I enjoyed:

“Material stuff makes no difference when you’re respected and admired for internal traits. The same is probably true for the people you admire most. I love and admire my parents, and let me tell you it’s not because of their clothes. Isn’t there so much to learn from that? Shouldn’t gaining respect and admiration through what you do instead of what you own be the goal?”
No matter how confident we are in our business assessments or valuation work, strange things can happen, and we must be prepared for that. Rory Sutherland recently told Rick Rubin that ‘Everybody when they look for a reason for something serious is looking for a serious reason…but actually great things happen for stupid reasons.’ Great things happening in this context can be positive or adverse events. Be in a position for luck to help your returns but not break your returns.”
“We only truly ‘know’ through hindsight. I don’t care what anyone says, nothing beyond the current moment in time is time is knowable. You can work hard to tilt the odds of success in your favour, but we are always at the mercy of luck and misfortune. Everything forward-looking is an educated guess at best. Investors like to believe future events are knowable as it diminishes the reality that it’s most certainly not.”

This information should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. It should not be assumed that any of the investments or strategies referenced were or will be profitable, or that investment recommendations or decisions we make in the future will be profitable. This article contains links to 3rd party websites and is used for informational purposes only. This does not constitute as an endorsement of any kind. While Nightview uses sources it considers to be reliable, no guarantee is made regarding the accuracy of information or data provided by third-party sources. Nightview Capital Management, LLC (Nightview Capital) is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Nightview Capital including our investment strategies and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.