Quick Fixes or Long Term Solutions: The Journey Continues

21 mins read

I tried to look up when was the first time Warren Buffet mentioned the book, The Intelligent Investor by author, Benjamin Graham,  the book that Warren stated changed his investment principles and also his life.

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The reason I am trying to find a date or year that Warren Buffet mention the book is to prove a point that I wrote in my journal a couple weeks ago. A question about ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ of the social media era. Between the combination of individuals looking for the easiest, quickest and ‘if he did, so can I” route and the ones that are looking to fit in comes a market so large with virtually endless selling potential. All an expert has to do is share with you a few charts on how he / she made $100,000 in stocks, on Amazon, Shopify, coaching, network marketing, podcasting, or [insert any easy button business here] while fancying up the video with bell sounds and blacked out bank account statements. The market of fools will jump for the chance to learn from the person, buy courses, buy programs and hit the like and subscribe button to be a part of the ‘tribe’

The point is – not even Warren Buffet shared his secrets until his net worth was well into the $500+ million. See, I fell for this mentor-tribe-online business lifestyle too in 2017 and I wanted to share with you how I managed to unlearn, redirect and focus on the correct behaviors and actions that produce real outcome and results. Slower, steadier, and full of real value.

By the time everyone heard about Warren’s life-changing book, he would have already amassed great wealth from the concepts. Further, his father was a stockbroker and was later elected to the U.S House of Representatives. Warren’s environment was primed for success. I am not insinuating that the concepts in The Intelligent Investor isn’t still relative – The core principles hold true more than ever: going after undervalued stocks with good names and holding them for long periods, as opposed to running after the “hot stock ” of the day – also what is true is there are many successful men and women that didn’t have success primed environments but still were able to change their lives on all levels. What I am suggesting, is that we do not research or think for ourselves. Not just daydream, but critically think and formulate our own viewpoint and opinions regardless of what the crowd feels.

Social media has made this incredibly hard for folks. The constant checking up on the lives of others, takes you away from checking up with yourself. The constant distractions will not allow for any deep and concentrated work. The constant rush to market, rush to the new platform, rushing to update statuses for all the holidays, and birthdays is creating a market of individuals that just cannot find the time to really create anything meaningful. Gary Vee once said to post on all the social media networks. Curate content for each individual one and personally brand yourself. But Gary Vee, has an office full of employees that does this for him. A thinking person will look behind the words and come up with a strategy that works for himself not the strategy that someone is saying will work just because.

Remember, Warren Buffet didn’t share his investment strategy and his favorite book that taught him lessons and principles in investing until after he used it, won with it, made millions from it, worked, tweaked and changed it to suit what he is doing now. Buffet read the book in 1949, I could not find anything earlier than 1984-85 that details Warren sharing info about the Intelligent Investor before then. I believe even if it is a little before then, it was definitely not before 1970s. Then when everyone RUNS and buys the book on Amazon now that was published for the 1940-1950s economy and markets, they are happy to get a piece of the Warren Buffet secret! It is not a secret. Nothing is really.

Back to branding yourself. It is more important to have something to sell.

Everyone will be upset with that statement, but I can tell you this from experience.  I wrote tons of articles, created videos and made all sorts of fun stuff during my time of listening to online advice that when it was actually time to switch over to a product … it felt backwards. What real business can sustain operating this way? Why do I have to give everything away for free if what I have is valuable? I would love if Macy’s throws me a free polo t-shirt because I am a part of their online following, or picture me only buying from select retailers because they gave me a free e-book one time. How about Gary Vee gives me some free bottles of wine?  Business is not sustainable just by being a brand and sharing your life stories and vlogs online.

This idea just sprung up in the last 10 years – and if you look at the folks that tell you to run your company this way ….they all have companies that sell a service and/or product. Now, let us think. Why should you do anything different? Why shouldn’t your focus be developing a product first and aim to get customers and sales? It’s a shame that GrubHub has the addresses, names and phone numbers of the restaurant’s customers but not the restaurant owner themselves. This is backwards. Look what Covid-19 has done to the restaurant business? Decimated it. But a company that owns nothing has control over the assets: the customer’s contact information.

Same with Amazon – That is why I am pulling my book off of Amazon some time in 2021 for good. If someone purchases my book, I do not have their contacts and cannot sell to them on my own? I cannot market to them after the purchase but somehow Amazon can suggest things to them all the time. This concept of handing over your assets for convenience and accessibility only came about in the recent future. I sell more from my own online store than on Amazon’s store since I started focusing more on ownership and controlling my assets.

I have made myself disappear for the last two years and lots has changed with me in all aspects of life.  Some good, crazy uphill and challenges, personal truth, and personal power. All if it needed. All if it required. None of it purchased. So, what has happened since my being away? Well for one, it took me two years to come up with what I call a life plan. I stopped posting online, sharing my goals out loud and watching everyone’s videos. I focused on my online store which is day-by-day growing without any “steps how to succeed videos” or “4 things you need to do to blah blah blah” – It is a changing world and thus I changed my viewpoint on business and quality of life.

I watched a TED talk a few weeks ago twice by Dr. Carl Newport who said the most fascinating thing I have heard in a while. He said, “if you lose your ability to sustain concentration, you’re going to become less and less relevant in this economy” also think about this: if you’re using something for free then perhaps you are the product. Also, if a 16-year-old can do what you do then what you do is not valuable to the marketplace. His words were hard hitting because I felt the same way. We as entrepreneurs or those that want to start a business are doing it for some personal reason. Money, freedom, lifestyle, prosperity, charity …whatever. We come online and give up all sorts of data and jabbing to death until we get permission to start upper cutting?!

I went to a new barber and we were talking about business and branding. He almost fought me out of the chair when I told him that business has not changed and will always be transactions made from creating, buying, and selling and creating value for your customers – key word, customers. Not this hokey-pokey stuff about telling all your downfalls, pitfalls, guilt, depression, and how donating bucks on patreon will help you continue putting out content, if you like, comment, and share. No one that is telling you to do I this way actually made any money doing it that way. Think. Research. Know who you are taking ideas from.

After I dissected a few geniuses I realized they were nothing more than marketing ‘influencers,’ I stopped reading the books, taking in the bad advice, and started to go to the source.

I watched another guy on YouTube – who shared info on his 5 streams of income. He states 1 is real estate, the other is stocks, the other selling watches and so on and so forth. But everything he is sharing now is past tense. You have to take that into account. Be wise.

So how do you come out of this loop and cycle and start taking in real information? Well first thing is first, you have to stop living in a delusion and get some reality back into you. This was the hardest for me a year ago. When you look at reality – its dual as hell. There is no need to sugarcoat where you are when you are taking a stock on everything. It is okay to fail; I have failed plenty. The first step is detaching from the fake world of myth and get reality in.

There are some people right now believing that the economy is going to have a V-shaped recovery and the stock market is the true image of what is really happening in the economy right now. These people are the ones on YouTube sharing their internet investment strategies for a sure fire way to outsmart the market and buy dips and hit trips by June 6th.  Somewhere along the lines, the floodgate of experts on social media was opened and everyone with a $20.00 mic and a strong WiFi signal was given authority to brand themselves as experts. Most of these guys and gals have not read one book on economics, well, maybe at the bare minimum, they finished The Intelligent Investor. Most of the time their success cannot be duplicated. Just plain ol’ luck.  But these guys know that half the people on these platforms are distracted, depressed, and stressed out, and all they really want are quick answers and want them now. They do not even ask the question, “Was this guy around in 2008, 2001, or 1987?” Everyone is an expert online. Everyone with a mic has outstanding hindsight. Stop buying into this garbage.

To that end, The Comfort Killers is moving out of the motivation – pump you up business – and moving to the reality, business 101, concentration, long-term growth, and character-building business – the way I intended for it to go in 2016. With everything, comes change. I learned that the extra hard way, but I am glad I did. I am truly okay with being missing, not sharing, not posting, not broadcasting, not so involved in social media while working deeply on myself and what true success really means to me.

To all our past and current partners, friends and associates that helped CK along the way for the last 4 years, thank you. Success is a long journey and for those who were already primed for it, you have a head start. Take it and go. Follow your gut and not necessarily the crowd. Because, the more rarity and exclusive your work is the more value is produced. If you sell ‘free,”  the more free you will have to continue to sell. The more available you are, the less valuable you are. Create your foundation first, then focus on your brand. Feel good first, then make others feel good.

Warren Buffet created his partnership in 1956 to trade stocks. From 1949 to 1956 he was relatively unknown. From 1956 to 1985 he created 500+ million net worth. In 1956 he had 1 million to start of his own seed money the other 5 million were from other investors. Look how long it took. The world started catching on to Warren Buffet and what he was doing in the investment world in the 90s. You want to talk about the long game? Let us talk. You want to talk about getting rich quick? That may be on another channel and another person.

With the government deeming what is essential and what is not, I start to think about what content is getting published now by some of these experts. With and underestimated 39 million people out of work and the housing, entertainment, retail and aviation markets in shambles, I start to think what these guys and gals are telling people to do right now that will benefit their position. It is time to get selective about who you are following, and it is definitely time to get real about where you are going, because the world has definitely changed.

If you have not set up a real plan for execution, then you should take some time and do so. No one succeeds without being able to measure or create actions against a benchmark. What does your life look like 1 year, 5 years and 10 years from now? Not just writing daily that you are going to be a ‘millionaire’ – that is not a plan. How the hell will you attain your millions? What type of real assets can you provide the marketplace incrementally? Before I left the internet and worked on my plan, I knew I wanted to learn about two things: The economy as a whole and finance and money as a whole. I would not take another step without getting these things in. No, I am not going to be teaching people about the economy, but I needed to learn that in order to learn about my target customers, trade, price, etc. The benefit would be mine because it is an important step in my plan. I also said to myself that instead of learning and taking advice from gurus and experts that I would learn to trust myself and my own wisdom. I wanted to learn from three sources: nature, past mistakes, and God. So that is what I did. That is one of the reasons why I went missing.

All in all, a heavy dose of reality is now upon us. I fell for shiny things to grow my business with, I fell for outdated strategies, and other people’s opinions about what would work. Thelonious C Jones, my partner and friend wrote a book titled, “How to Stack Your Money” which has been the number one seller in our online store for the past month. Why? Because foundational knowledge is key. How are you going to start a business or buy your first rental property, or your first index fund with ZERO capital? You have to stack your money. It is rule #1. You cannot move to the next level without completing this. The fast rush to over leverage yourself  and acquire quick debt leads you nowhere. Led me nowhere and keeps you on a revolving cycle of upstarts and shutdowns. That is why CK is less about motivation and more about reality especially in 2020.

This post is long with good reason. There are many key points in it and hopefully some insight you can take back to think about. Remember, you are not trying to get out of the rat race to sign yourself right back in one. Remain uncomfortable.

Stacy A. Cross

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