Daily Productive Sharing 199 - Optimistic About Future, Pessimistic About Now

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(The English version follows)


Jeff Bezos 和 Bill Gates 有什么共性?除了很有钱(都离了婚)以外,就是两者对于未来的乐观和眼下的审慎。Bezos 在亚马逊经常强调 Day One,也就是亚马逊永远在创业的第一天;而 Gates 还在管理微软的时候,一直保有一年的现金流,防止意外发生。





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What do Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have in common? Besides being rich and both divorced, they are optimistic about the future and prudent in the immediate future: Bezos often emphasizes Day One at Amazon, which means Amazon is always on the first day of the business, while Gates, when he was managing Microsoft, kept a year's cash flow to prevent any surprise.

Optimism about the future and prudence about the present are not only useful in financial management, but also in other areas. For example, we shall keep optimistic about the future after the pandemic, but keep cautious to protect ourselves during the pandemic; when we plan for skilled migration, we should be prudent in every step of the way, but also optimistic about the good life after migration.

In short, the future is optimistic and the present is pessimistic, and only those of us who are in the middle of them can handle the contradiction between the two.

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  • You could tell three things about Bill Gates pretty quickly. He was really smart. He was really competitive; he wanted to show you how smart he was. And he was really, really persistent.
  • Optimism and pessimism can coexist. They seem like opposites, but they work together to keep everything in balance.
  • What Gates seems to get is that you can only be an optimist in the long run if you’re pessimistic enough to survive the short run.
  • With few exceptions, these events are not miracles because they are insignificant. The chance of a miracle is about one per million events. Therefore we should expect about one miracle to happen, on average, every month.
  • Since progress is cumulative (we don’t forget past innovations) but setbacks are temporary (we rebuild), the long-term odds tilt towards growth.
  • In blackjack, casinos usually have a 0.5% edge over players, which is enough to guarantee they’ll win over time. The best card-counters give themselves about a 2% edge over the house, which is enough to ensure they’ll win over time.
  • Compounding is easy to underestimate because it’s not intuitive, even for smart people.
  • If the odds are in your favor and you can keep them in your favor for a long time, you shouldn’t just be an optimist. You should be a ridiculous, full-blown, giddy optimistic.