Discover more from Memos from Hawk Hill Ventures
The impact positivity and appreciation has on all aspects of your life
Coming off of my wedding, I am filled with immense gratitude. Gratitude for my partner, family, friends, love, connection, fun, health, oysters—the list is longer than a blog post. This time, I want to delve into the profound impact gratitude and positivity have had on my life, career, and investment approach.
Let's begin by exploring some research findings on gratitude and optimism:
According to an HBR article, optimists tend to fare better financially and professionally than pessimists. The study noted the following findings:
“90% of optimists have put money aside for a major purchase, compared to 70% of pessimists”
Work optimists are “40% more likely to get a promotion over the next year, not to mention six times more likely to be highly engaged at work, and five times less likely to burnout than pessimists”
“Sales professionals outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56%”
“Gratitude research has shown that practicing gratitude enhances your managerial skills, enhancing your praise-giving and motivating abilities as a mentor and guide to the employees you manage (Stone & Stone, 1983).”
On a more personal side, gratitude can have quite a positive impact:
“Simply journaling for five minutes a day about what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness by over 10% (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005)”
“Research has shown that gratitude reduces envy, facilitates positive emotions, and makes us more resilient (Amin, 2014)”
“Those who are more grateful have access to a wider social network, more friends, and better relationships on average (Amin, 2014)”
“Another benefit to both ourselves and others, gratitude can decrease our self-centeredness. Evidence has shown that promoting gratitude in participants makes them more likely to share with others, even at the expense of themselves, and even if the receiver was a stranger (DeSteno, Bartlett, Baumann, Williams, & Dickens, 2010).”
Gratitude and optimism in investing
Generally, optimism serves investors well. It's not a coincidence that there are very few successful, enduring short-selling firms. Yes, they exist, and some excel in their approach. However, most investors take long positions and focus on buy-and-hold strategies for good reason. The S&P has returned nearly 400% in the last 20 years, even considering the 2008 financial crisis. Investors who remained optimistic and patient during that period were handsomely rewarded. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.
At Hawk Hill Ventures, we firmly believe that investing and optimism go hand in hand. To bet on a company with little to no traction, you need to possess that optimism. You have to be excited about the vision and opportunity, grateful for the chance to be part of the journey, and ready to tackle the challenges ahead. However, it's important to note that we do not advocate blind faith decisions. We recognize the necessity of scrutinizing ideas, markets, and products to evaluate investments thoroughly.
Optimism and gratitude in life
Gratitude begets optimism, positivity, and happiness. I strongly believe that a practice of gratitude is immensely important for success in all aspects of life, and I have personally found it to be beneficial in numerous ways. Interestingly, a repetitive practice of gratitude loses its impact on us over time due to a concept called hedonic adaptation. This concept, a core tenet of Dr. Laurie Santos' class "The Science of Wellbeing" (which is free on Coursera and highly recommended), highlights the need for variation in our gratitude practice. Regular gratitude practices, such as journaling, expressing appreciation to friends and family, or meditation, all contribute to our well-being, but we shouldn't rely on a single tactic. Mixing in some variation is essential.
This may seem like a peculiar blog post from a tech-focused investment blog, but to me, it feels entirely appropriate. For me, success is measured by happiness. The happier I become, the more successful I will be. I firmly believe in a daily practice of gratitude and how optimism can enhance every aspect of life, even during the most challenging times. This mindset translates into my relationships, career, investments, and everything else.
For those who watch Ted Lasso, he always tells his team to be like goldfish because their memory lasts only a few seconds. It's hard to dwell on something when you forget about it within seconds. So, here I am, channeling the uplifting spirit of the most inspiring TV show I have ever seen. Be a goldfish. I hope you have a fantastic day.