Earlier this week I introduced myself as “one of the misfits”. I didn’t plan to place this label on myself, but I think it might stick. If you are not familiar with the origin, it stems from Apple’s “Think Different” advertising campaign in the late 1990’s. Here is the first half of the script from Apple’s television commercial:
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
I identify with every sentence above and have felt this way my entire life, especially those last two sentences.
Harari describes the difference between religion and following a spiritual journey. Religions have clear sets of rules and outcomes. The clarity of religious rules allows humans to create social order, but it requires us to follow the rules. Spiritual journeys on the other hand, are a quest for the truth. Surely there must be more to life than the simple rules spelled out in my religion? Here are two excerpts from Harari’s book:
Whereas most people just accept the ready-made answers provided by the powers that be, spiritual seekers are not so easily satisfied. They are determined to follow the big question wherever it leads, and not just to places they know well or wish to visit.
Such journeys are fundamentally different from religions, because religions seek to cement the worldly order whereas spirituality seeks to escape it. Often enough, one of the most important obligations for spiritual wanderers is to challenge the beliefs and conventions of dominant religions.
This is exactly what we are doing at Ritholtz Wealth Management.
It’s helpful for investors to have a group of people saying: “That is bullshit, you should ignore it. This matters, pay attention to this.” I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. We want people to focus on what is true and what matters and to ignore the stuff that’s provably false, distracting, and nonsensical.
We are truth seekers. Truth seekers, by definition, are misfits, rebels, and troublemakers.
We are tearing down normal conventions in financial services. We are challenging the conflicted business models inside brokerage firms, banks, and insurance companies. We went on a spiritual journey to find a better way to work with our clients, and we found it. And because we have the nerve to speak our truth, we make members of these entrenched institutions uncomfortable.
They anonymously sling insults at us on social media. They “actually” and “mansplain” us in the comment section. Sometimes they even call our office repeatedly for the pleasure of telling us how it is. How they think it should be.
Taking on the church of Wall Street is no easy task. Hundreds of thousands of people earn a living selling financial products. Most of these people are good people. Many are trying to do right by their clients. Our truth telling challenges their livelihood and understandably makes them uncomfortable. But we are not going to stop screaming our truth for the rooftops.
Describing myself as a misfit was unbelievably accurate. It sprang forth from my inner psyche. Now that I have taken the time to explore where it came from, I understand perfectly why RWM is the right firm for me. I’ve found my way home.