Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are are my investor heroes. They are also close to my heart as they read all the time. They are super smart sage old dudes that happen to run a behemoth of a hedge fund.
So naturally you would think that they have some smart advice to share. When I read Charlie Munger’s autobiography however, it’s not intelligence they attribute to their success over the years. In fact, it’s more about avoiding stupid mistakes than how smart you are.
Of course not being stupid seems obvious. If you ask anyone if they’re being stupid or not, they’ll likely say they aren’t and never have been. Problem is most people don’t realize when they’re making a stupid mistake.
I have used this technique to win tennis games. 80% of tennis games with amateurs are won by the opponent hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net. So if you want to win at tennis just hit the ball back, don’t try and make a winning shot. Let the opponent make the mistake.
Next time you start a project or endeavour, think what would be the most stupid mistake I could make right now. Now avoid that at all costs. Being smart is overrated, just don’t be stupid stupid!
I give this advice to people all the time when I mentor them. It may be better to focus less on the role models they want to be like and to perhaps identify the role models they definitely don’t want to be like.