Friday, May 13, 2011

The Genie Fable

When I hear or read something particularly profound, I have a tendency to want to write it down or save it, so I have access to it at a later date. This tendency was stimulated when I read a part out of the book, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder.
On page 571, Schroeder quotes Buffett saying,
 “When I was sixteen, I had just two things on my mind-girls and cars…” “I wasn’t very good with girls. So I thought about cars. I thought about girls, too, but I had more luck with cars.”

“Let’s say that when I turned sixteen, a genie had appeared to me. And that genie said, ‘Warren, I’m going to give you the car of your choice. It’ll be here tomorrow morning with a big bow tied on it. Brand-new. And it’s all yours.’

“Having heard all the genie stories, I would say, ‘What’s the catch?’ And the genie would answer, ‘There’s only one catch. This is the last car you’re ever going to get in your life. So it’s got to last a lifetime.’

“If that had happened, I would have picked out that car. But, can you imagine, knowing it had to last a lifetime, what I would do with it?”

“I would read the manual about five times. I would always keep it garaged. If there was the least little dent or scratch, I’d have it fixed right away because I wouldn’t want it rusting. I would baby that car, because it would have to last a lifetime.”

“That’s exactly the position you are in concerning your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck forty years later, just like the car would be.”

“It’s what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate in ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”

That’s some heavy-duty stuff, right?

It may not be clear exactly why I would post this on a site about finances, but if you think about it, our finances are used for life; to have the best one possible. Taking care of these things in a proactive manner is going to make potentially tough situations, far less stressful for ourselves later on in life. Before we really start hitting the numbers (I am scared for this, too) and hard data, I think it is good to prepare our minds mentally for just why we are worrying about finances. We could be out doing anything else, but we are here. And call me crazy, but I think it because you are smart. So really, I think this little nugget of wisdom is more than applicable to our situation.

Plus, Warren Buffett said it. And that’s all that really needs to be said about that!

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