Are you a Camel or a Lion?
How to Invest Like Nietzsche
“You look up when you wish to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Are you a camel or a lion?
That is my question to you…
It may sound like some silly kindergarten exercise, but I assure you it isn’t. Most of us fit into one of these two categories.
The idea comes from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Without getting too ivory tower with the philosophy here, Nietzsche described the three metamorphoses of humans as the camel, the lion, and the child. It is through this metamorphosis, he argues, that we can discover our true selves.
Here’s how it plays out...
The camel is a beast of burden: they do what they’re told, they do not strive to be anything greater than what they are, and they dare not question authority.
The lion is the opposite. Lions never follow the herd. Lions demand power and respect. Above all — the Lion wants to win.
I'm sure we can all relate to these classifications. However, neither of them completely solve the major issues in our lives.
Isn't there another option besides blind obedience or voracious aggression?
There is: the child.
I doubt most people questioning their lives come up with the idea that they want to be a child when they grow up. It seems counterintuitive.
But the child represents an awakened consciousness. Children learn something new every day. Children live in the moment. Children do not overthink things.
In essence, to a child every day is a brand-new adventure, or as Nietzsche says,
"The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel, a first movement, a sacred "Yes." For the game of creation, my brothers, a sacred "Yes" is needed: the spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been lost to the world now conquers the world."
As an investor, I would urge you to become a child.
In the investing world, the camel is your typical, hard-working person. They have a financial advisor who tells them exactly what to do and when to do it. They pay into Social Security and 401(k)s, assuming that they will be rewarded — eventually — for all of their hard work.
If you are a camel, simply doing what you’re told is going to cost you big time.
Social Security currently has an $11 trillion shortfall. That means that changes will be made: benefits will be "restructured" (meaning reduced) and all of you hard-working camels will probably be working another couple of years to make up the difference.
Meanwhile, financial advisors enslave you with ridiculous fees and paltry returns.
Blind 401(k) plans are perhaps the single most popular investment for this mentality. Sure, they are easy and don’t require you to question anything.
But over a lifetime, 401(k) fees cost an average American household $154,794!
If you are an especially successful camel, you could be bleeding up to $277,969. That's almost one-third of your hard-earned savings.
All told, 401(k) fees eat up $25 billion of Americans' savings each and every year.
Now, there are plenty of ways that you can invest this way on your own. You can manage your own 401(k). You can buy exchange-traded funds that will do the same thing as high-priced retirement plans at a far lower cost. You can enroll in select (and underground) dividend plans that you can set and forget.
There is plenty to admire about camel investing. But you simply can’t truly live that way alone if you really want to discover your true potential…
Once a camel becomes angry and feels taken advantage of by the world around it, it begins to question everything.
It becomes a lion...
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The lion will reject all of the tradition and order that previously enslaved the camel.
That’s why the lion investor will completely ignore the boring, traditional ways of investing and go for the big kill every time.
Sometimes this works very well. One large kill can feed a family for a while.
But for most investors, chasing one big score after another will eventually leave you exhausted, hungry, and covered in blood.
If all you do is invest in penny stocks and micro caps — hoping for that one huge kill — you had better be the most ferocious lion in the world. Otherwise — like most of us — you’re simply a tiny cat batting around a ball of yarn that just continues to unravel.
That’s why I suggest becoming a child. Don’t box yourself into two completely opposing forces, become someone who is entirely their own creature.
Don't be afraid to try out something new. Don't allow your past failures to destroy your future gains. Don't let anyone push you around and tell you what is and isn't possible.
You should try to become the best version of yourself. Inside of everyone is the potential to be the best, happiest, most powerful person you can be. Take a look inside…
You know the person you want to be. You know what you desire out of life. And the answer has been inside of you all along.
If you nurture these ideas, you’ll be shocked at how powerful you really are.
In fact, I know you will.
That's because I've been following a small group of outsiders who are truly owning up to their true potential. When I looked closer at this group, I found something fascinating: their willingness to go outside the normal channels, their willingness to say "screw the rules," and the sheer childlike wonder of their strategies has brought them enormous success. This group of investors isn't afraid to buck the trend and ruffle a few feathers.
I was so intrigued by these moneymaking techniques that I compiled them into a book, "Screw the Rules: 25 Unusual 'Loopholes' You Didn't Know Were Legal."
It is the perfect way to break away from the herd.
And best yet, I'm giving away this book for FREE. Grab yours today and start living the life you were meant to. Stop taking orders, chasing fantasies, and cheating yourself out of what you really deserve.
Jimmy is a managing editor for Outsider Club and the Investment Director of the personal finance advisory The Crow's Nest. You may also know him as the architect behind the wildly popular finance and investing website Wealth Wire, where he's brought readers the stories behind the mainstream financial news each and every day. For more on Jimmy, check out his editor's page.