Don’t Do Something. Just Stand There!

First, a visit to the stock market.

If you invest in shares you've probably got some solid gold success stories to brag about. You've no doubt some horror stories as well; gory tales that you'd rather forget.

Rather than trust their own amateur knowledge, many people pay fund managers to actively invest their money for them.

Many others instead plump for a passive index tracker. Instead of actively buying and selling shares an index tracker does nothing, except passively follow the market.

You might expect that the experienced fund managers get the best returns but here's a simple breakdown:

  • Index trackers replicate the market's movements 100% of the time, and can only do as well as the market can.
  • 96% of active fund managers fail to beat the market over any sustained period of time

In a nutshell, only 4% of fund managers can get you a better return on your money than just doing nothing in a (cheaper) tracker fund. Passively investing in a low cost index tracker that follows the market beats 96% of all active fund managers.
I'm not qualified to provide financial advice so instead let's look at how you can use that observation to . . .

Invest In Yourself - Be Passive

When a colleague comes to you with a problem your first response is likely to be "How can I fix this?"

You immediately ask yourself "What do I need to do to solve this problem?"

This might be the completely correct and appropriate response. But it might not be. It might just be you fulfilling your automatic need to feel significant or justify your salary or role or act without thinking or miss an opportunity to delegate and nurture and grow your staff. Or whatever.

Most of us feel the need to respond. That little voice in your head that says:

"Don't just stand there. Do something!"

Instead of instinctively reacting try seeing how this sentence sounds:

"Don't do something, just stand there!"

You As The Resource

And instead of saying "What do I need to do to solve this problem?" ask a different question.

"What Do They Want From Me?"

They might not want you to solve their problem. They might need:

  • clarity
  • support
  • encouragement
  • responsiblity
  • authority
  • a kick up the backside
  • understanding
  • to be heard
  • acknowledgement
  • opportunity
  • to know you've got their back as they go ahead and solve the problem they've just told you about.

Ask them the same question you've just asked yourself:

"What do you want from me?"

Maybe not phrased like that; you'll have your own way, for each person in your team.

  • "How can I help?"
  • "What's the best thing I can do to support you?"
  • "That must be tough, I really appreciate you going to town on this."
  • "You poor thing. Have a cup of tea."
  • "Thanks for the update. Let me know how you get on."

Less Is More

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, less is more. Don't always be the active fund manager. Choose when to get actively involved, and when to be a passive investor.

And with the energy you've saved, mental and physical, invest that somewhere else.

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