What Happens When Someone “Shoots the Elephant”

I’ve been a history junky for decades…

Reading about ancient battles, famed generals and the historical events that shaped the world has fascinated me since I was a young boy.

And there’s one story, written by the late Peter L. Bernstein, in particular, that I want to share with you today.

In his masterful study of risk, Against the Gods, Bernstein – a financial historian and economist himself – tells the story of a celebrated professor of probability and statistics in Moscow during World War II.

During that time, aerial bombardments of the city were unyielding. Even so, this Soviet scholar avoided air raid shelters. After all, Moscow had seven million people. “‘Why should I expect them to hit me?'” he would say glibly.

However, one night in late winter, the professor suddenly appeared in one of the shelters.

Several of his comrades happened to be there as well and were shocked to run into this “Doubting Thomas.”

They all wanted to know: What caused his shift in attitude?

His response was: “‘There are seven million people in Moscow and one elephant,'” he explained, “‘Last night they got the elephant.'”

Now, I have to admit that this book is easily one of my favorite reads. The writing and storytelling that Bernstein employs is just masterful.

But I love this interaction in particular for a reason…

It encapsulates the biases human beings have in regard to recent events.

Now, we’ve talked in length about biases – which simply mean the way we are hardwired to think about – and approach – investing.

Unfortunately, for us, most of those biases are what make us lousy investors.

We’ve already shown you how our need to be right, and a result-based mindset biases can destroy our chances are achieving lifelong wealth.

But today, we’re going to dig a little deeper and talk about the most dangerous bias of all – The “Single-Elephant.

Here’s what I mean…


The Doctor Is In – Don’t Skip This “Midyear Millionaire Checkup”

It seems like only yesterday that we were ringing in the New Year.

But, believe it or not, we’re now halfway through 2017.

Nearly 4 months ago, we set off on this incredible journey together, and I feel like we are on the cusp of something truly great.

That’s what makes articles like the one I’m about to share with you so imperative for your journey here.

You see, the summer months give most of us a chance to slow down and catch up – on relaxation, on chores and with a bit of scheduling and focus, on our wealth goals.

Now, as regular readers of my work know, I have a real love for old investing adages and maxims. And there’s one that really applies to today’s story.

Back during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told listeners “he who fails to plan is planning to fail.”

And was he ever right.

So many investors fail precisely because they “wing it” and don’t have a plan or a system of any kind at their disposal.

But it’s not just the plan itself that’s really so important.

It’s the insights that you gain from setting up and revisiting the plan that are the real benefit.

You reassess – and remind yourself of – such things as:

  • Your risk tolerances.
  • Your current financial situation, as well as where you eventually want to be.
  • Any ancillary issues (like saving for your children’s college education or making sure you can handle taking care of an elderly parent).
  • And the steps you need to be taking to actually meet all your financial goals.

That’s why I always set aside time for a mid-year investing checkup to remind me of the “bigger picture,” to reaffirm my goals… and to take a hard look at the health of investments.

Here at The 10-Minute Millionaire, we’ve already started this invaluable process.

Earlier this month, we took a few moments to look back at some of the biggest money-making lessons we’ve learned so far.

And today, we’re going to look at the final piece of our “Midyear Millionaire Checkup” – a review of our open recommendations.

Let’s get started…


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