"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and misery". -William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III
EACH DAY WE ARE FACED WITH many decisions, from the inconsequential choice between articles of apparel to far reaching, fundamental decisions which impact the course of our lives. The important, fundamental decisions literally define the crossroads of our lives. Those decisions determine whether we will ride the high seas of achievement or flounder in the shallows of unrealized dreams. All too often, we casually make decisions without realizing the impact until much later.
IN THE MOVIE, Field of Dreams, Moonlight Graham observes, "We just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives when they're happening".
Moonlight had played a half inning of major league baseball in the last game of the season. He never caught a ball; he never came to bat. He was certain he would be sent back to the minor leagues to begin the following season. On the basis of this real or imagined setback, he decided to skip the next season. As a result, Moonlight Graham never realized his dream of returning to major league baseball.
Reflecting on his decision, Graham said, "I thought there would be other days; I didn't realize that was the only day."
MANY DREAMS ARE abandoned and tides are missed in a similar fashion each day. As investors, we can miss the tide as well. Momentary setbacks, peer pressure and discouragement can cause us to waver in our commitment to financial goals. By so doing, we become creatures of whim rather than reason. We become vulnerable to the casual decision without realizing its long-term impact. The end result is losing the tide; giving up the dream that just a few days earlier we so rigorously pursued. Once we miss or lose the tide, we, like Moonlight Graham, may never have another day to catch it.
THE KEY TO OVERCOMING such challenges is mental toughness. Recognize that obstacles will appear as you ride the tide in pursuit of financial achievement. Prepare your mental response to these obstacles in advance. Determine to remain consistently persistent. Recognize that today is indeed the only day. With your advance preparation, you can avoid the shallows of the casual decision and ride the high tide of success.