You've likely heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.”
It's connected to the power of repetition, like perfecting a new recipe or mastering a musical instrument.
Or if you're one of the world's most celebrated athletes, LeBron James.
You should know who he is because he repeatedly performed at the highest level in basketball for over 20 years.
All you need to know is that LeBron's an embodiment of what persistent practice can achieve.
I have saved a post-game interview where he was asked about an amazing final play in a game where his team the Lakers got the win in a close one.
He says said, “It's all about repetition. Things don't happen by accident. We go over this stuff a lot in practice, during shootarounds, and during film sessions. If we are down three or down late in those situations, we know what sets we can go through and when you perfect it in practice, it makes it a lot easier on the floor.”
He gets into a few technicalities but looks at those first two sentences again.
The idea here is straightforward but powerful.
Success, whether in sports, life, or finance, is a product of repetition, of rehearsing and perfecting certain sets of actions.
Unraveling the Power of Repetition
Consider what happens when you first start learning a new skill, perhaps cooking.
At first, everything feels unusual – the ingredients, the process, the timing.
But as you keep repeating the process, you begin to understand it better, you start to make it easier and faster.
The same principle applies across the board.
Let's return to LeBron.
In his world, games are won and lost not just on talent, but on repeated practice and drills.
Basketball players practice every day for games that happen 2-3 times a week.
Similarly, in Formula 1 racing, the winner isn't decided in the first or even the twentieth lap.
It's a repetition of those 50+ laps that determine who takes home the trophy.
Repetition, therefore, breeds familiarity, builds confidence, and paves the way for mastery.
And its those that embrace and learn to love this repetitiveness that stand to succeed the most.
Taking Luck out of the Wealth Equation
Now, imagine applying this principle to your financial life.
Think about your budgeting or investing skills.
They're not much different from cooking or playing a sport, are they?
You're not going to nail it on your first try, and that's perfectly okay.
What matters is that you keep trying, keep learning, keep refining your strategy.
Repetition in financial management takes luck out of the equation.
Instead of relying on the random stroke of fortune, you're banking on skills that you've honed over time.
By practicing your wealth-building skills repeatedly, you increase your chances of being ready and prepared when you need them most.
By repetitively practicing good financial habits, you're laying a solid foundation for your financial future.
Each budget you create, each investment you make, becomes part of your broader wealth-building repertoire.
A healthier, more robust financial life.
Repetition in Investing
I want to go a bit more into investing specifically because I want to be clear on some aspects of how repetition fits in there.
When it comes to investing, repetition doesn't mean investing in the same stock, ETF, or fund over and over blindly.
You still need to do research and due diligence for the products you put money into.
Here's It's less about what you are investing in and more so about being invested.
Making the decision to contribute to an investment process.
Invest in whatever you want but the fact that you are investing is the repeated pattern that can lead to faster wealth creation.
You see, the stock market has a historical pattern of rising over time despite short-term fluctuations.
Like the property cycles, we can see there is a stock market cycle.
According to a study by JP Morgan, the S&P 500 Index saw an average annual return of approximately 10% from 1926 to 2018.
Despite various economic downturns and market crashes, the overall trend is upward.
While we cannot predict future performance like the exact returns we will get, this long-term trend and the repeated pattern of recovery is something to bear in mind when making investment decisions.
Remember, though, repetition in investing doesn't mean a blind repetition of past actions.
As the saying goes, “Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.”
So, while you can learn from past patterns, each investment decision should still be made with due diligence, considering the current context.
Repeat but avoid complacency
Like most things in life, repetition is a double-edged sword.
It's crucial in building skills, but it can also lead to complacency or, worse, repeating the wrong things.
Consider those who dive headfirst into investments, pouring a substantial amount of money into ventures they barely understand.
Driven by enthusiasm or a desire for quick returns, they end up burning out or incurring significant losses.
Because they repeated the act of investing without understanding, without taking the time to learn from their actions and improve.
Repetition should not be an excuse to stop learning, to stop questioning.
You must always stay alert and flexible, ready to adapt your strategy when needed.
Yes, practice your wealth-building skills repeatedly, but make sure they're the right skills, the ones that will bring you closer to your financial goals.
Get comfortable with repitition
So how do we ensure we're repeating the right things?
Start small and manageable. Imagine you're training for a marathon.
You wouldn't start by running the full 42 kilometers, would you?
You'd begin with a short distance, maybe a 1km run, then gradually increase the length as your endurance builds up.
The same approach works with your financial habits.
Start by creating a simple budget or making small investments.
As you grow more comfortable and your knowledge expands, you can take on more complex financial tasks.
And remember to make it enjoyable.
Just as TV shows find ways to keep viewers hooked, find ways to make these repetitive tasks engaging.
Perhaps you could turn your budgeting session into a game, challenging yourself to cut down unnecessary expenses.
Or you could make investment research fun by learning about companies in industries that interest you.
When repetition becomes a comfortable, even enjoyable part of your routine, it's much easier to stick with it.
And that consistency is what will ultimately lead to your financial success.
Keep it going (and going, and going…)
Repetition is a powerful tool, one that can dramatically impact our lives and financial journeys.
LeBron James, and countless other successful individuals, attest to its power.
Yet, it's often overlooked and underappreciated.
In our quest for financial stability, we often search for the next big opportunity, the quick win.
We overlook the fact that success is more often the result of repeated actions, practiced skills, and consistent effort.
As we've seen, repetition isn't just about doing the same thing over and over.
It's about learning, improving, and adapting.
It's about creating a comfortable repetition that aligns with our goals and our capabilities. It's about having the will to persist, even when the results are not immediate.
Remember, success through repetition is a marathon, not a sprint.
It might take time, but the skills you forge through repetition will serve you well, not just in your financial life but in all areas of your life.
So, keep repeating, keep practicing, and keep learning.
As LeBron James has shown us, when you perfect it in practice, it makes it a lot easier on the floor – or in our case, in the world of personal finance and investing.