Taking action over time creates confidence and competence

John owned a large chunk of land in the East Texas woods, with an old house on it.  He and his wife would spend days off and vacations at their cabin in the woods, for relaxation.  

He liked taking walks in the woods and tended to take the same route week after week.  Soon a path developed, a visible path that grew wider the more he walked that route through the woods.


Those who study our brains say the same thing happens in our brains as we repeat experiences in our lives.

Whenever we have a thought or take an action, a series of neurons gets connected in our brain.  Have that thought or take that action again and the connection gets stronger. 

This is how the brain creates memories, or pathways, if you will.  The more times we repeat that thought or action, the stronger the memory. 

This is what was happening as you learned to walk or learned your numbers as a child.  You were creating paths in the woods of your mind, so to speak.

Do you remember how learning to ride a bicycle or drive a car was not easy at first?  This is because you were early in creating that memory or ability.  The path wasn’t very well-formed yet.  But, over time, you became much better, more competent, and hardly had to think about it.

With repetition, our brains form these neural pathways.  One area in which we can get better and better is with investing.  I know that has happened with me over the years.


I had one of those piggy banks as a child.  I used it for my savings.  Out of every dollar I was given or earned, I was taught to give 10 cents to the church and put another 10 cents in my piggy bank as savings. 

It was fun watching the small change add up inside that piggy bank.

Regularly putting pennies in the piggy bank as a child developed a pathway, or habit, of saving.These became the first steps to learning how to invest.

I remember my dad taking me to the bank downtown one day and helping me open a savings account.  We deposited $3.87 cents, which I emptied from my piggy bank.  The pathway was getting bigger and more defined.

The little paper bank account booklet showed my savings grow and grow.

My grandfather would take me with him to Merrill Lynch, a stock brokerage, downtown across from the bank.  We sat together and watched the ticker-tape go by on a screen.  This was my first introduction to stocks. 

We’d talk about companies and investing.  I soon owned my first share of stock, Alice Chalmers, a farm equipment manufacturer as I remember.  Sweet!  As sweet as the ice cream cone my grandfather would get me as we walked back home.

With repetition and new experiences my investing pathway grew and grew over the years. 

From a piggy bank to a savings account to stock purchases to real estate.  With each step, the pathway grew stronger. 

I came to understand more and more concepts and approaches.  My capacity grew.  I also was more and more comfortable with more and more sophisticated investments.  I had come a long way from that piggy bank.


Where are you on your investing journey?  Have you, like me, grown a path from savings to stocks and mutual funds to real estate?

My guess is that some of you may be well beyond me on the path.  I know some of you are into cryptocurrencies or are running significant businesses. 

Others are still working on creating a pathway for themselves, learning, growing, developing.

Your brains are making connections as you learn and think and take action.  Repetition creates a well-defined investing pathway for you.

My friend John’s path in the East Texas woods grew wide enough over time that both of us could walk side by side on our walks together.  

All the best to you as you continue your investing journey and as you walk along the paths you are creating to the destinations you seek to reach.

Perhaps we can talk sometime, get to know each other better, and encourage each other along the way.


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