I plan things down to the smallest detail. Even before smartphones and Google calendars, I had my day planned down to the second, back in the day my Franklin Planner was so full of notations you needed a Ph.D. just to figure out where my next appointment was. I just like to plan ahead; it’s one of my quirks.
Have you ever missed a plane? A train? A bus? You know that feeling that rushes over you when you realize your entire day has been ruined? I don’t… I’m ALWAYS perfectly organized. So naturally, when my better half and I were thinking about planning a dream weekend getaway, I took it upon myself to make sure it was nothing less than ‘Perfectly Planned.’ After all, NO one likes to wait, but for me, I ABHORE waiting. And when I plan anything I do so with the express intent of not having to wait… ever.
So the weekend of the ‘expertly planned’ trip arrived, and I was eager to show off my AWESOME time-saving skills, the same skills I had been bragging about for years. The problem is, while I and my skills were clearing well-defined and near perfect, someone forgot to inform the pilots, as they decided to take off 15 minutes late. On top of that, the memo of my sheer awesomeness had also not made it to the customs agents at our destination, who had us waiting over an hour, clearly against my perfectly planned itinerary.
Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. It was everyone’s fault BUT my own… obviously. I had planned everything out with the exactness of a skilled neurosurgeon. And these morons just couldn’t keep up.
The story continues as you have probably guessed; we got to our connecting flight late, went to the bus station, but all the buses already departed, went to the train station, but the staff had already gone home for the night. So here we are stranded at ten in the evening with the next available mode of transportation not available until eight the next morning.
I was still determined to stay the course. I decided to hike it over the closest hotel, get a room, and regroup. I ended up spending a small fortune on a ‘room,’ and when I say room I mean so only in the strictest academic sense of the word, as it had four walls, a floor, and a ceiling, but in reality, it could best be described as a hovel. As I lay on the ‘bed’ staring at the ‘ceiling’ trying to count the number of brown stains that were staring back at me… it finally hit me:
The only person to blame here is me. Not the pilots, not the train engineers, or the customs officials, or bus drivers… just me. I simply couldn’t wait. Patience is a virtue, and unfortunately not having it is a problem. For the first time in my life, I understood the power of waiting.
Jesse Livermore said: “After spending many years in Wall Street and after making and losing millions of dollars I want to tell you this: it never was my thinking that made big money for me. It was always my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight!”
You have probably read that quote, I know I did, millions of times, and thought, yeah, you got that right … But did I apply that knowledge to my own life? Of course not. Why would I do that?
The next morning at the bus station, when I made my way to the information desk to ask about the day’s schedules, I was greeted by a ‘Take a Number’ sign. No problem I thought, I like order, order is a great thing. So I pulled a number, glanced down, saw it was 1622. Not a bad number. I was calm. I then turned my glance to the small screen showing the current number that was being attended. 945. So I need to wait until it snows in the desert to ask a simple question. Nice. Before the thought even fully entered my mind I was halfway out the door. Fortunately, my better half pulled me back to my seat and calmed me down. Within a few minutes, we are at the front of the line and on our way.
The moral of the story? The next time you feel the NEED to get into the market NOW, as your trigger finger sits hell bent on clicking on something, ANYTHING, just remember that famous quote from our friend Mr. Livermore. It may just save you from yourself.