Knowing Vs. Doing

This summer I’ve become halfway-decent on the mountain bike. Good saddle time, good riding buddies and pushing myself (and a new bike…) have led to getting stronger, faster and a tiny bit more confident. I’ve come to enjoy the climbs, I can hang with most people on the way up and have even picked up a couple of top 10’s on Strava segments.

Alas, I have a weakness (at least one): tight and/or technical cornering.  I’m awful.  I mean really quite terrible.  Put-a-foot-down-and-push-through-the-turn terrible. Before I started mountain biking last year I spent almost 10 years on a road bike, and cornering on a road bike and on a mountain bike couldn’t be more different. So I’ve carried lazy road biking habits into my mountain biking and it has resulted in sloppy technique.

Mine enemy.
Mine enemy.

The thing is, I know what I need to do to corner well on the mountain bike.  Drop my outside foot, look through the turn, point my hips through the turn, get off the saddle, lean the bike over but keep my center of gravity over the wheels.  Easy enough! The hard part is taking that knowledge and putting it into practice. Sometimes I just plain forget.  Other times I get lazy.  Most of the time I just simply don’t trust what I know to be true. It’s not an easy thing to put theory into practice, on the bike or off.

Handling our investment portfolios, most of us know what we need to do.  Rebalance.  Stick to your long term plan.  Don’t panic.  Don’t get greedy. Don’t be afraid of today’s international crisis.  Don’t be disappointed that you missed out on today’s absurd 300%+ move in a hot biotech stock. Don’t be susceptible from the “next big thing” pitch from your neighborhood broker or the promise of riskless returns from that insurance agent.

We know all of that. But can we put it into practice?  In 2013 were you selling small cap US stocks and buying intermediate muni’s and emerging markets? In early 2009 were you selling off US Treasuries and buying stocks of all stripes? From 1995-2000 did you hold on to your small caps, your value stocks, your REITs and your bonds while your golfing buddy bragged about his 25% annual returns?

Knowing is easy.  Doing requires commitment.  It requires rationality.  Doing requires the belief that it’s not really different this time, that it’s not a new world order. Sometime in the next 10 years we will get a market cycle that forces all of us to put our theoretical knowledge into practice. Are you confident that you’ll do what you know?

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