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Are you a contrarian?

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

John D Rockefeller was the business tycoon that started the Standard Oil Company in 1870. In 1916, he became the first person to amass a personal fortune of 1 billion USD. If inflation models are used, he would now be worth ~350 billion USD. During his peak, 90% of the oil in the US was controlled by Rockefeller’s organization.

When it came to investing, Rockefeller always ignored the “crowd” and market inclinations. Without a doubt, Rockefeller had the attitude of buying stocks when there was blood in the streets. This is commonly known as contrarian investing, and in a broad manner: contrarian thinking. Warren Buffet is considered a stalwart investor and he epitomizes contrarian investing.

Contrarians don’t respect the status quo, instead, they challenge it and use the underlying weaknesses to their own advantage. They tend to form their own principles and the idea of seeking permission is not in their dictionary.

Why are contrarians important to society?

Their life philosophies are usually formed in their own heads. It propels them to change their environment and have radically different visions. The actualization of a different vision means the possibility of a different and hopefully a better vision for society.

Contrarians don’t shy away from holding contrary opinions against the majority, and they manage to achieve it by questioning every opinion, especially their own belief system.

Rene Descartes- the French philosopher and mathematician, who is considered the first modern philosopher, devised the technique of cartesian doubt. The methodology involves stripping everything that is commonly considered to be true and subjecting it to careful scrutiny. This allows the practitioner to sieve out the false claims and build a mindset based on a belief system that is absolutely certain.

“Think different” was popularized by Apple’s advertising campaigns in the late 90s. When Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, “Think different” became the popular mantra and a lot of people felt compelled to think differently to achieve success.

The idea of contrarian thinking is not to think differently just for the sake of it. But, to develop a faculty of thinking that has the courage to challenge every belief system and absorb ideas and thoughts that can stand the test of time.

Thank you for reading!



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