This I Believe

Xiaomin - Syracuse, New York
Entered on January 24, 2008

What would happen if I told you that I never took risks and tried to persuade you following my belief? I guess many of you would say that: look, a coward standing in front of us and making his garbage speech. But I do not think it garbage because at least two people would support me, Warrant Buffett and George Shoales, both of whom are adventurers in your points of view.

You may get surprised if I tell you that both of them always keep themselves away from risks which might be out of their control. As Warren has ever said, “90% of my lifetime was spent on waiting.” But why do you have such a misconception that they are adventures? Consider that let you drive an F1 racing car at a speed of 300 miles per hour and it is no doubt that your death probability is larger than 90% but it is a piece of cake to Michael Schumacher. That means that “risk” has different meanings to different people. But what cause those differences between people? It is nothing else but strength. Similarly, billions of funds investment must be a big risk to you but to Warren, at least the potential risk is in his control.

I now propose two questions: 1. what’s the difference between Warren and a coward. Well, assume there is one thing whose probability of success is 60% and the probability of failure is 40%. Warren will do it but a coward will not. 2. what’s the difference between Warren and an adventure? Warren will not involve himself in one thing whose probability of failure is larger than 60% but an adventure will do. And the key difference between them is that if Warren is determined to do one thing, he will dedicate all himself to it but most adventures will not.

I do not want to be a coward and I do not want to be an adventure, either. I want to be another Warren and I guess you too. So do not take risks?