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Practicing Hard Things

Quote to Ponder

“There will be bear markets about twice every 10 years and recessions about twice every 10 or 12 years but nobody has been able to predict them reliably. So the best thing to do is to buy when shares are thoroughly depressed and that means when other people are selling.” - Sir John Templeton

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Old Enough! is a Japanese reality TV show streaming on Netflix that has garnered much attention in the US. The show follows 2 to 4-year-old children running errands for their parents. They navigate crosswalks, commerce, and other city obstacles that we in the West deem too dangerous for young children. 

The recent popularity of the 30-year-old show is largely due to the stark contrast between the autonomy given to these young children and the over-protective parenting so common here in the West. 

As it turns out, modern research shows that allowing children to face challenges with autonomy and responsibility is critical for their development. Many researchers are linking the current anxiety epidemic among high school and college students with "helicopter parenting." 

If a child is never given the opportunity to practice autonomy and responsibility, their independence will be delayed. Kids need to learn to navigate challenges on their own. If they don't, they will not be equipped to handle the inevitable challenges they will face as an independent adult. 

Furthermore, we never outgrow our need to practice being challenged. Even as adults, practicing difficult things builds our metaphorical muscles to handle real world hardship. 

I recently added a 90 second cold shower to my morning routine. Cold water therapy has been linked with many health benefits including a boosted immune response, improved ability to handle stress, increased metabolism, reduced inflammation, and more. But above all, it's a minor challenge that I must mentally overcome every morning. What better way to start your day than by overcoming a challenge! 

Our brains evolved to solve problems and overcome obstacles. That's why we love games, puzzles, and sports. We feel alive when we are challenged.  

These play challenges prepare us for the real ones. With rising interest rates to combat the threat of inflation, we are entering some real economic challenges. 

However, in life, everything that's worth doing requires challenge and hardship. Children gaining independence is hard and scary for them (and their parents!). Improving your fitness requires stressing your body so that it recovers stronger. Investing for robust, long-term returns requires enduring painful (yet temporary) declines. 

We don't know what challenges lie ahead, but we can prepare for them by practicing smaller challenges today.

Firm News

Sharing the same birthday month with my husband has its perks. Every year in September, we celebrate our birthdays with a mini getaway. All the getaways have been within the USA, but his year we celebrated our birthdays a little differently - by going international! We spent five days exploring the coast of Mexico with a group of family and friends. 

My husband and I typically do not like flying so the four-hour plane ride was long enough. We stayed at the all-inclusive resort, Hilton in Playa Del Carmen. Most of our days there were spent lounging around by the pool and the beach. We also enjoyed the fine cuisine at the restaurants. The highlight of the trip was the excursions. We spent a whole day doing three different excursions. The first excursion was snorkeling in the lagoon with fishes. That was a beautiful sight, seeing all the colorful and big fishes. The second excursion involved zip lining or jumping into an open cenote. I’m not the best swimmer but still took on the challenge and zip lined through. The last excursion was swimming in a cenote. The dark deep water well was quite scary, but our tour guide made sure we were safe and stayed close to each other. Overall, Mexico is such a beautiful and vibrant country that made this year’s birthday celebration an unforgettable one. We’ll be going back again!