What Wilderness Adventure Can Teach Investors

AMA1-24-14Throughout human history, wanderers and adventurers have been returning home with stories of challenging the natural world – and winning. And what they learned about overcoming fear and persevering became an inspiration for other kinds of endeavors too. Now, a modern day adventurer hopes that lessons learned from polar treks and mountain climbs can help investors find success in the decidedly less risky world of finance.

A recent piece on adventurer Alison Levine posted to CNN Money reveals how this world traveler applies lessons learned from a lifetime of wilderness adventuring to make some points about investing success over the long term.

Levine, who’s skied the North and South Poles and climbed highest peaks on seven continents as part of the Adventure Grand Slam, shares lessons learned from those experiences in a new book called On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership. As it turns out, investing may have more in common with those pulse pounding endeavors than you might have thought.

Mountain climbers and other adventurers have to face fear — and so do investors taking risks in uncertain markets. But according to Levine, fear isn’t always a bad thing. It keeps you alert, on the watch for pitfalls that can be avoided, and it helps you avoid getting complacent and assuming all’s well. The key, for both wilderness trekkers and the investor who manages income properties forma home office is to understand what fear is for, and to use it to push forward, rather than getting paralyzed.

How much pain can you stand? Under – or over – estimating your tolerance for discomfort and the amount of pain, physical or financial, you can accept in order to keep going is essential in any risk-taking endeavor, whether it’s buying properties or scaling a snow covered peak. Understanding how much discomfort and uncertainty you can tolerate can help you avoid iffy deals and manage money wisely.

It’s also important, according to Levine, to redefine your notion of progress. In real-world adventuring, progress toward the goal may come in tiny steps, or a few steps in an entirely different direction. Or, “progress” may be made by simply stopping and getting enough rest to go on to the next stage of the journey. Thinking of progress as any actions that advance you toward the goal can help an investor, too, to set priorities and accept the setbacks that can stall any investing plan.

Climbing Mt. Everest or trekking across the South Pole may be a more rugged outing than most investors would want to try. But those things have more in common than it might seem. Lessons from a life of high adventure in the world’s harshest places echo recommendations Jason Hartman makes in his 10 Commandments for Real Estate Investing – another kind of satisfying adventure.  (Top image: Flickr/PerAllen)


Chatzky, Jean. “5 Investing Lessons From Climbing Mt. Everest.” Money Sense from Jean Chatzky. CNN Money. 21 Jan. 2014.

Levine, Alison. On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership. New York: Hatchett Book Group, 2014.

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