markets are NOT efficient

Why do we teach in school that the market is efficient? I feel like this is one of the biggest lies told to/indoctrinated to the American public that has large implications well outside the realm of academic finance. Most all americans who enroll in middle and high schools are taught about the efficient market hypothesis. The schools and teachers make it seem like efficient markets are just a fact of the world. Like a law of physics of sorts. And while there are benefits to simplifying the world for the sake of being able to teach other fundamental concepts – I wish it came with a bigger disclaimer. I wish the teachers were obligated to say – by the way, in practice, markets are not efficient. Markets have tons of inefficiencies, even publicly traded markets with lots of participants. And those inefficiencies, that is where you can seek alpha and really differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. That alpha is where you can really get ahead.

When you start questioning the efficient market hypothesis, you start seeing alpha everywhere. You start seeing that so many of life’s markets are actually inefficient. That you could just apply a bit of seriousness to any market or action and get ahead.

Applying a bit of seriousness I find to be an underrated tactic to getting ahead and perhaps more importantly, getting what you want.

What I mean when I say applying a bit of seriousness is just ramping up the intensity and care to which you are looking at a thing or action or system or process. The reality is that most things have not received that much care. And by caring a lot about it, making it your priority, and going quite deep on it – simply by doing that – you can get ahead.

Working hard is one aspect of this. Like sure putting in the raw time. But the bigger thing is perhaps knowing how to take something seriously. Like knowing how to go really deep on something.

It’s not just about showing up at the gym. It’s about training with intensity. It’s about doing some of the right things in the order and then also doing them all consistently. A lot of people are just showing up. Once you start doing serious work, you realize how obvious that phenomenon really is. You look around. And, and yeah I have written about this before, but you see that so many people are just LARPing. They are not taking their work seriously. They are clocking in and clocking out. Which is fine. For them. But not necessarily for you. Not if you are seeking alpha.

There are many ways to take things more seriously. One obvious way is just to be more intentional with what it is you are doing. Simply caring about the impact of what you’re doing to a degree that most other people don’t, again, is the big difference.

This care can be a short term or a long term thing. Knowing when to ratchet up the care is also an important variable. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to sustain max care for max time. It’s more likely you’ll have to ride a wave of sorts. So knowing when to walk. Knowing when to explore. Knowing when to commit. These are also great things.

You are taught in investments that it is not possible to time the market. I think that’s true for a public stock market with the big assumption that you have no or little information advantage.

But life is more diverse than the public market. There are going to be categories of things beyond stocks that perhaps more directly and confidently you will have clear information or situational advantages. And in those cases, perhaps consider that it IS possible to time the market. It is possible to go deep when it matters most and also go back to exploring when things are not that interesting.

Again, another example of something taught in school that does not really pan out in reality. I mean it’s not clear the point of school is in teaching you super practical things. That’s fine. I understand there are other use cases for schooling and education of the masses.

But I do think that more disclaimers would be really helpful. I know far too many people that have heroes that are frauds. Heroes that are consistently lying. Lying to the public and lying to themselves about their knowledge and superpowers. People dressed up as intelligent but are really surface level salespeople.

That’s what I mean partially when I talk about getting serious about things. Getting serious about things means actually giving a fuck about the details. Actually going deep on something. Actually understanding something and analyzing it from dozens of dimensions as you seek to make a plan and get to action.

Go deeper. I rarely regret this. I rarely regret doing a little sleeve rolling and committing to getting more serious about whatever it is that I’m working on.

Some of it has to do with energy and distractions. I think about creating an environment for myself where I am actually capable of getting real work done. This has been a big goal for me over the past few months. And I think I have succeeded. I have a new box of sorts. A new system around me. Where I can actually commit to doing real, hard work. Rather than roll around distracted.

Distracted by mediocrity. By purposeless things. But not even interesting enough to meaningfully contribute to serendipity.

Eliminating that fluff. That’s a big key to doing things fast and high quality. At least for me.


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