Consider the consequences (The Financial Athlete #109)

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” This is an old Zen saying. To me it means 2 things: 1) Be humble to do ordinary activities even after achieving an ultimate goal, 2) Do activities with consciousness….an awareness of movement, of feeling, and of the consequences of the action.

The common man does not adequately consider the consequences for even the biggest decisions of his life. An intense desire for personal gain blinds him to the harm his decision causes. The professional athlete who injects steroids to chase records sacrifices his long-term health. The investor who profits from depleting forests scars the earth. To rationalize “If I don’t do it, someone else will” is no excuse.

Profiteering impoverishes life, but true investing transcends personal profit. The purest form of investing is an act of love. It enriches the lives of others and can endure for generations.

No one is remembered for how much money they made. They are remembered for the difference they made. To make a difference is the ultimate challenge for the investor to fulfill.

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