Investor Motivation: A Tale Of Two Men

The following is a story of two men, who lived in different times.  Read it, and then reflect upon it.  I hope this gives people some motivation, and becomes a “call to action”!

ManA lived in 2000BC, in those times it was looked upon as a great honor to work on one of the greatest building projects in the kingdom, a pyramid construction project by the current Pharaoh.  ManA made sure he learned the right trades and skills, hoping to get a shot working as a production supervisor (the guy who has a whip), or pyramid manager (the ones looking over the plans and people working).  The day came where the Pharaoh’s men came to enlist ManA.  He was told everyone must start from the bottom pushing blocks, carving blocks, or building ramps, regardless of their skills.  Years passed by as ManA slaved away.  He still aspired to move up the ramp and be able to assemble the pyramid at a slightly higher elevation, and perhaps be noticed by a pyramid manager, who might one day promote him to be a production supervisor.  As a production supervisor he could then have a chance at becoming one of the pyramid managers one day.  As a pyramid manager he can give revolutionary ideas, and be recognized by the Pharaoh’s close advisors.    As a close advisor, he can then impress and be recognized by the Pharaoh himself.  One day when the Pharaoh dies, he might then be chosen to replace him, thought ManA.  Then he could be wealthy and have a wonderful life!

ManA had lots of competition though.  Thousands and thousands of block pushers, carvers, and ramp builders, all had the same aspirations.  But there were much fewer productions supervisor positions, none of which needed filling.  There were only a dozen pyramid managers, and even fewer advisors.  There was only one Pharaoh, who either achieved his position by birth right or conquest.  No one bothered tell ManA that things didn’t work the way he thought it did. ManA slaved away for years, tired and drained of energy every day.  When ManA died at age 70, he was buried quietly, and remembered as a man dedicated to his work.  He had little possessions and was in poverty. The Pharaoh lived a very peaceful, stimulating, and fulfilling life.  When he died, he was credited for building one of the largest pyramids in the world, and his son took his place.

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ManB lived in 2000AD, in those times it was looked upon as a great success to work for one of the greatest companies in the country, CompanyX started by its CEO.  ManB made sure he got the right degrees at the right university, hoping to get a shot a working as a project lead, or manager.  The day came when he went for an interview and was hired.  He was told everyone must start from the bottom crunching numbers, running tests, or troubleshooting problems, regardless of their degrees and education,.   Years passed by as ManB slaved away.  He still aspired to move up the organization and be able to do work at a higher level, and perhaps be noticed by a manager, who might one day promote him to be a project lead.  As a project lead he could then have a shot a one day becoming a manager himself.  As a manager he can promote revolutionary ideas, and be recognized by the executives.  As an executive, he can then impress the CEO himself.  One day when the CEO retires, he might then be chosen to replace him.  Then he could be wealthy and have a wonderful life!

ManB had lots of competition though.  Hundreds of employees & contractors all had the same aspirations.  But there were much fewer project lead positions, none of which needed filling. There were only a dozen managers, and fewer executives.  There was only one CEO, who either achieved his position by being friends with some of the Board of Directors, or by starting the company himself.  No one bothered to tell ManB that things didn’t work the way he thought it did.  ManB slaved away for years, tired and drained of energy every day.  When ManB died at age 70, he was buried quietly, and remembered as a man dedicated to his career.  He had little possessions, unpaid bills, a mortgage he couldn’t pay off, and lines of credit.  The CEO lived a very peaceful, extravagant, and fulfilling life.  When the CEO died, he was credited for building one of the greatest companies in the world, and his son was voted by the Board to take his place.

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This is not actually a tale of two different men.  When ManA died, he was reincarnated.  Throughout the ages he was reincarnated many times.  ManB was just a future incarnation of ManA.

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The characters and events in this story are completely fictitious.  However, the situations of the characters are very real.  The intent of this story is to provoke some deep thought, self reflection, and hopefully investor motivation. At the end of this game called “life”, individuals need to have something of their own.  It doesn’t have to be a lot, but there does have to be at least enough.  There has to be something.  This is especially true in today’s society, where we have employers & government that take no responsibility, and do not genuinely care about the individual.  The middle class is exploited to a point where they are working for both the very rich and the unemployed (not necessarily poor).  They end up only being able to keep the smallest percentage of their income for themselves and their families.  Retailers from clothing, telecommunications, media, automotive, healthcare, food, housing, and financial services, all wring the middle class for every last penny they have, with absolutely no remorse or restraint.  Today is payday for many people.  Take a look at the taxes and deductions that are taken before you get any of the money that you slaved 40hrs (or more) a week for!  Then take a look at the bills and see how much the retailers have squeezed out of you.  Then see how much they leave for you to keep!

People need to start investing in themselves, their own goals, and ultimately their own life. An occupation can be a part of it achieving it, but never lose track of the main thing (spending time with family, friends, personal goals, and on the enjoyment of life itself)!

Now the questions to ask yourself are:  What things do you really want from life? How are you going to achieve them? When are you going to start working towards them, if you haven’t already?

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Related articles:

Financial Independence

Personal Finance, The Essential First Step To Investing

How To Start Investing

The Unfortunate Baby Boomers (The Mutual Fund Retirement Myth)

Why Not Work Smarter, Faster, and Harder, For Yourself?

Index Funds and The DIY Investor Herd

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Feel free to post questions, comments, or topic suggestions.

Don’t forget to rate the article!

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Thanks & Happy Investing!

The Investment Blogger © 2009

Author: The Investment Blogger

I’m a private investor, who developed the “function-centric investing” paradigm. I am an investor who blogs a little here and there, rather than a blogger who invests a little here and there. I'm passionate about investing and sharing investment knowledge!

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