For many centuries, we humans thought we were literally the center of the universe, as you can see in maps like this one…
In the geocentric model, first conceived by early Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, the sun, stars, and other heavenly bodies all revolved around Earth, clearly, the most important planet, because we live here. Ptolemy popularized the idea some three centuries later by providing measurements that backed up the geocentric model.
Naturally, there was quite a bit of ego wrapped up in this idea, and when Galileo – building on the work of earlier astronomers like Copernicus and Tycho Brahe – proposed the correct heliocentric model in 1610, he met with great backlash – including a formal trial and condemnation, book banning, and house arrest (where he remained until he died). Legend has it that he rebelliously muttered after his trial, “Eppur si muove” (And yet it moves), referring to the Earth.
Eventually, however, we “got over ourselves,” and accepted that the universe doesn’t actually revolve around us. And ever since that happened, math and science have made a lot more sense.
As investors, we face a very similar problem sometimes – it’s called “attribution bias.”
It’s a way that our egos trip us up and keep us from making the best trading decisions, because we subconsciously believe we are responsible for all the good things that happen to us (and that someone or something else is responsible for the bad ones).