Motivations, as a friend once told me, are what you need to figure out if you want to understand people. To begin the process ask, “What does this person want?” The benefit of knowing what the other person (or group of people) want is that you can use this information to collate your own wants and desires and see if they are opposed or in congruence. The difficulty in doing this, is that many people will not state their motives up front, or, often, they do not understand or want to understand their true motives.
This can hurt you if you choose to take the person’s words at face value. For instance, if someone says, “I want to make you a better person,” but constantly performs actions to the contrary (e.g. beating, name calling, neglect) then taking them at their word will lead to confusion: “This person is trying to make me a better person, but I keep feeling terrible and getting worse.” The symbols (words) used to convey reality conflict with reality. Obviously, this is going to end terribly for the person who continues to believe the person performing the abuse.
Perhaps even more insidious is when the abuse is not overt. Take CNBC. They state that their aim is to help the investor better understand investing and to make money. However, the views presented are often conflicting (even from the same source, day to day), and since most people cannot or do not record the shows for future reference and reflection, they forget the advice that has hurt them and end up assigning much of the guilt of poor performance to their own misunderstanding.
The base of this problem stems from the misrepresentation (whether intended or through a lack of self-understanding on the hosts) of motive: “We are here to help you invest.” If this were the case, why so many ambiguous or outright incorrect statements? It is because their true motive conflicts with your motive to be a better investor through a better understanding of the business world. They are reflecting your motive back onto you. But that is not their motive.
CNBC’s motive is to profit from advertising. As many know (whether or not they act upon the information) biased, skewed, exaggerated, “yellow” journalism attracts a larger audience than fact-based, “boring” analysis. People like watching arguments between people who share extreme and conflicting views. It is exciting. CNBC’s motive is to provide you with this entertainment. It is how they increase their viewer base and how they increase advertising revenue.
Providing their motives to the viewer (or helping the viewer better understand him or herself), however, would hurt their bottom line. It’s not in their best interest.
But it is in your best interest to look at the motives (and even the general world view) of those who you read, watch, and follow. If you take people at their word without confirming their word with action and outcome, your successes will be hit and miss.
—– In Relation to This Site ——
The above can stand on its own, but I wanted to post my own motives for maintaining this site (at least my best understanding of what my motives are). As many of you may have noticed, I no longer have advertisements on the right hand side of the site. I’ll be receiving my check from Google soon and have decided not to continue placing hope in profiting from advertisement. I guess, the amount of time I dedicate to thinking about how I can get traffic up and clicking on ads is just not worth the amount of return I can get. I’m much happier dedicating my time to in depth analysis of economics and markets (and whatever else interests me! This is my site) and making money through the markets themselves using the knowledge I gain through the maintenance of this site.
Yeah, the last sentence was a little convoluted, but the main point is: I want to focus on what makes me happy. If you haven’t heard, most major sources of journalism are in the red. Although I’m sure there are blogs that make enough to support a human life, I think many do it with other products (Tim Syke’s alerts/videos/etc or WeeklyTA’s advisor service). I may do that at some point in the future, if anyone wants to follow me throughout the day. But, at the moment, I don’t have enough time to be online throughout every trading day, and I doubt enough experience to confidently direct beginners; not to mention, I am having enough success making money trading that I really don’t need those extra sources of income. Eventually, I hope such sources will pale in comparison to what I make trading.
Instead, what I hope to gain from this site is a few new friends, an increased depth of knowledge about economics, trading, human psychology, and politics (or whatever floats my boat–such as terrible cliches), and a better understanding of the English language. Truth is, I enjoy to write. Always have, always will. The creative process stimulates me, keeps me alive, and provokes another activity I love: thought.
I’m sure there are other reasons I continue posting. But without ads to the right or a detailed record of my successes (while it may help some bloggers to present this information–and I do not judge them, and enjoy many of their straightforward p/l and goal charts–it tends to hurt me, puff up my sense of superiority or inferiority, and detract from my learning/trading) or a trading service, I thought some may be wondering why I am writing. Well, the above gives some idea.
I’m no CNBC. I hope I am not abusing any of you either. But, my motives, while far more complex than I can really understand (just like everyone else’s), are important for you to know while reading my posts and important for you to consider. They’ll change with time. And I’m definitely no selfless, savior figure: I don’t intend to make you a trading or investing God.
But, then again, CNBC doesn’t aim to either.