Desiderata. (Latin – Things desired): Thoughts of Saltydog Investor
To someone like me, who lacked a rounded education and missed all the printed tea-towels of the 1980s, the discovery of the Desiderata comes as an inspiring and currently motivating piece of prose.
It was written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, a few years after the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic had killed between 50 million and 100 million people. This was approximately a third, to one sixth, of the world’s population.
Then followed the September 1929 Wall Street Crash and ten years of the Great Depression leading up to the Second World War.
Now I am not trying to say that our present COVID-19 situation, dire world economies, terrorism, the dark side of the internet, and struggling politicians, put us all in a similar position to the 1920s and 1930s, but with a casual glance, it does make me think!
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
By Max Ehrmann © 1927
I am sure that there are people who will say that these somewhat syrupy sentences are not pertinent in today’s world of aspiration and acquisition.
Now that strikes me as a great mistake and shame.
I would like to think that some of the above principles are used in the Saltydog approach to investing. We need to be content with progress, be it little or large.
It is not a race to be best, but one that should produce satisfaction with the result. Learn from mistakes and avoid making these into a council of tears. There is always tomorrow.
For the moment with the markets and political environment as it is, on a personal basis I still favour the four sectors, Technology/ Medical, Green Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, then gold and cash for the balance.
Good luck with your investment choices and stay healthy.
Founder & Chairman