I’ve never met anyone who is closer to the Dos Equis beer guy – the “most interesting man in the world” who, for example, “The police often question just because they find him interesting” and who “learned to speak Russian… in French” – than Jim Rogers.
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Fellow Singapore resident Jim is an investing legend, a best-selling author and a Guinness World Record holder. He’s visited most countries on earth – many while traveling around the world on a motorcycle and by car (forming the basis of two of his books, Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist). (If you haven’t read them… you should.)
In addition to his great investing insights, Jim is an authority on how to follow your passions.
(Dos Equis is a brand of Mexican beer… and the most interesting man in the world was an entertaining ad campaign they ran.)
I recently sat down with Jim for a chat… below are excerpts of our conversation.
How to have an exciting life
A bit more than a year ago I spoke with Jim and asked him about this…. here’s what he told me:
Jim: Well, the most important thing for everybody is to only get involved with what you, yourself, know a lot about, or… figure out your own passions and pursue your passions. Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to your teachers. Don’t listen to your parents. Don’t listen to your friends – especially your friends. They all want to do whatever is popular and hot at the moment, your parents too, and your teachers too, probably.
No. Figure out about your own passions. And if people laugh at you, you’re really onto a good thing. You’re really probably going to be very successful, if you pursue your own passions and figure out how you would like to spend your life and that way you never go to work. You wake up every day, you have fun… just start doing what you love, you don’t care about weekends, you’re just having too much fun to worry about work.
… Those are the people who are most successful, and of course they are the happiest people. And if they’re not successful they don’t care, because they’re happy. They don’t care if they’re successful or not, they are so happy having so much fun.
… I mean, Kim, if you want to be a gardener, you should be a gardener. Now, your parents are going to say “What is going on here? We didn’t spend all this money raising you and educating you to be a gardener,” and your teachers are going to say, “Why are you even here? Why don’t you leave and go be a gardener? What a waste.” Your friends… they’re going to laugh and giggle.
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But then someday you’re going to be the gardener at the White House, or Buckingham Palace, and someday you’re going to have a chain of garden shops, all across Asia. They’ll be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange… Your parents are going to say, “Kim, we used to give you seeds because we could see. We knew you had it in you.” And your teachers are going to say, “We always used to encourage you, remember how we encouraged you to be a gardener?” And your friends are going to call up and say, “Kim, oh my God, it’s been a long time…”
… that’s how you become successful and happy.
Buy low and sell high… learn a second language… not to get married too early…
In our sit down a few weeks ago, I asked Jim that if there was a message, a thought or idea, that he could put on virtual billboard that billions of people would see, what would it be?
Jim: Buy low and sell high. [He laughs.]
I’d tell them to learn a second language, especially Chinese… not get married too early… don’t have children too early… put your money somewhere safe… get a job when you’re young.
My daughter turned 14 recently. I told her she had to get a job when she was 14, because it’s good for children.
I thought she would go to McDonald’s and make US$8 an hour. Instead, she’s teaching Mandarin at US$25 an hour. I mean, this kid’s smarter than I am, a lot smarter than I am. And she complains because the grownup teachers make US$80 an hour. She thinks she should be making what they make. So having a job when you’re young is very important.
Talk to everybody…
Another piece of advice Jim has given me in the past is to talk to everybody you can…
Jim: I’m trying to teach my children – they’re still very young – to get information from five or six different sources, preferably contrasting sources, left-wing, right-wing, call them what you will, from different countries and then you figure out what’s really happening. If you read the Communists and the fascists and the Nazis and the capitalists or the religious, if you read them all, you get all sorts of different views, but it’ll help you figure out what really happened.
Sometimes, I get interviewed by different kinds of people. A few will say, “Well, why are you talking to them? They’re nuts, they’re crooks, they’re blah, blah,” whatever they have to be. And I try to say, “No, no, first of all, the one problem in the world right now is we don’t talk to each other. We should be talking to everybody, no matter what you think of them. And second, that’s how you get your message out. If you talk to them, they have to listen to you no matter how nuts they are. And also, you can help possibly change the world.”
So talk to everybody. The weirder the better.
Again, Jim Rogers isn’t just an authority on investing… he’s a great resource for how to live your life to the fullest. So when he talks, I listen.
Publisher, Stansberry Churchouse Research
P.S. I also write International Capitalist, where I focus on investment opportunities in markets that are even of interest to the Most Interesting Man in the World. I focus on out-of-favour stocks in out-of-favour markets… or else places that you’d just never think of looking at. And the returns in those places can be extraordinary. You can learn more here.