The Compass

Comparison is the Thief of All Joy



Just as we quoted former US President Franklin Roosevelt to make our case as it pertains to eradicating fear from our decision-making process, so we cite a quote from another US President in Theodore Roosevelt, the uncle of FDR. Theodore Roosevelt’s quote as it pertains to comparing ourselves to someone or something as the ultimate killjoy comes with bountiful wisdom no doubt. Teddy realized that comparing ourselves to others simply removes focus from the true task at hand. If we are honest about it, there will always be someone who is smarter, stronger, richer, better-looking, and more successful than each one of us – and that’s no bull-y!

Constantly reminding ourselves that comparison in those areas will only discourage us from moving forward with our own life’s goals is a must if one desires to reach a state of Clarity.

Those who have a great awareness of their own being, their unique talents and pitfalls are those that do not compare themselves to others, but rather only to their own hopes and goals. We love to reference the webpage “35 Famous People Who Were Painfully Rejected Before Making it Big” (see the link below) as to how some of life’s most successful people did not permit what others thought of them to deter them from reaching their own personal goals.

From this list here are some of our favorites:

Each of these people came from different backgrounds and fields of endeavor, but what each of them had in common was a strong self-awareness that allows them to shrug off the naysayers. In turn, this ability ultimately permitted them to pursue their own goals and dreams irrespective of what others thought about them. They knew the easy thing to do was to wallow in self-pity by comparing themselves to others who at the time were
more successful. Yet these famous people decided to follow a different path because they were determined to measure success in life on their own terms. They realized their only competition was themselves.

At Nepsis®, we believe investors should take heed to Jon Foreman’s insightful quote. Investors should eliminate the temptation to compare the results of their uniquely designed and constructed portfolios with other portfolios. And, more importantly, they should never compare their portfolio to some passive benchmark.

Other than professional athletics, there is no industry in our estimation which magnifies the mental fixation of results comparison than the Investment Industry. Whether it is the marketing departments of large fund complexes selling past performance via peer group comparisons, third-party research firms touting starratings, compliance departments mandating so-called manager benchmarks, or regulators setting guidelines on performance standards, we are programmed to think that the world around us dictates our perception of how well we are doing. The quote by Jon Foreman says it best in that; “If Comparison is the thief of joy, then our culture is being robbed blind.” And we will add, that this is especially true in the investment industry where clients hop from fund to fund and advisor to advisor in pursuit of the Holy Grail of performance-beating heaven.

In all reality, only you should determine the level of satisfaction as it pertains to your investment performance. Just as our Group of 5 Famous People did not allow the world around them to dictate their pathways or permit the naysayers to sap their joy, nor should investors permit the aforementioned industry overseers to manage our levels of joy. When it comes down to it, we must have a deeply held conviction that the only performance metric that matters is whether we are meeting our investment goals or not. That means if investors are meeting their goals and they are operating under the principle of Clarity, nothing else really matters!


Ownership – My portfolio is comprised of a unique set of businesses where I am an active owner and beneficiary to their cashflows, profits and dividends. I am not a renter of a group of collective funds that are invested in the so-called stock market but am with great pride an engaged owner in several prosperous and successful business ventures that I call my own.

Opportunity – My portfolio, because it holds liquid and tradeable assets will always be on an ongoing basis, subject to constant changes in price. As a business owner I realize that when the price drops in a company that I own that I should not react with fear. Instead I should see this as an opportunity to reinvest back in my business by buying more shares at a lower price as opposed to selling a perfectly sound asset at a discounted price to someone else.

Reality – My portfolio will no longer be subject to changes based on information spewed by market prognosticators who defy truth and reality by purporting to do something that no one can do — predict the future. I pledge awareness to immediately walk away when tempted by pursuing a story or advertisement that entices me to fall prey to get rich quick schemes or that soothes my fears by following a nonsensical trading program that allows me to participate in market gains without taking risk.

Awareness – My portfolio has been uniquely crafted and built for my satisfaction alone. Due to this, I pledge to scoff at the temptation to compare my performance to anything but my own goals and desires. I pledge to not compare my investment goals and aspirations to that of anyone else and realize that my journey on the Road to Clarity is unique. My goals can only be defined on my own terms and not by some arbitrary benchmark as dictated by the Institutional Elites.

In closing, we believe that St. Paul got it smack on when he wrote in his letter to the Church in Galatia about being leery of comparing ourselves to others.

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