Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Goals are for Losers"

Scott Adams is famous for being the creator of the cartoon strip, Dilbert. Dilbert is an irreverent and cynical look at the foibles of white-collar life. Recently, Adams wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal which contained a few of his pointers for success. I highlight three that I liked:

(1) "Goals are for losers." Adams elaborates a bit: "One should have a system instead of a goal."
Throughout my career I've had my antennae up, looking for examples of people who use systems as opposed to goals. In most cases, as far as I can tell, the people who use systems do better.
(2) "Forget about passion." Adams notes that in his own case, "Success caused passion more than passion caused success." If you are in the business of making loans,
the best loan customer is someone who has no passion whatsoever, just a desire to work hard at something that looks good on a spreadsheet.
Hard work is more important than zeal (especially zeal without knowledge).

(3) As Adams puts it:
there is no such thing as useful information that comes from a company's management. Now I diversify and let the lying get smoothed out by all the other variables in my investments.