Matthew Lekushoff |


The holidays are a great opportunity to take a breather from the daily grind and enjoy some quality time with friends and family-----  once the shopping mania is complete, that is!

Although a time for joy and merriment, I'm sure many of you may find yourselves confronted by someone who holds opposing views to your own this holiday season, be it your "old school" uncle who tells it like it is, or your tree-hugging cousin home from another planting excursion.

This year, instead of seeing these perspectives as wrong, how about engaging in conversation with them?

Over the last year or two, I've noticed an increase in toxicity between opposing sides, or, possibly just as bad, joint denunciation of an "out group" by those who share the same views.

These reactions degrade the level of trust within our society. If we see someone as wrong without empathizing with their perspective, it's easier for us to build a wall between us and them, distrusting their reasons rather than trying to understand them. And the less trust in a society, the more likely various issues are to arise that divide and hurt it. 

Even more, being closed-minded and shutting down opinions that challenge our own can seep into our personal lives as well. An unwillingness to challenge ourselves, reassess our views, and self-reflect, creates a blind spot that can even prevent us from achieving personal goals or accepting when those goals have changed and evolved. 

In the investment world, blind stubbornness can be financially devastating. I know advisors who are still searching and waiting for their junior mining stock to cash in...and they're in their 70s.

Blindly attempting to prove we are right is an exercise in ego protection. It's wasted time and effort better spent listening and understanding those around us. In fact, it's the people who are actively trying to figure out where they're wrong who are usually the most thoughtful and successful in achieving their goals.

So let's make this holiday season a collaborative exercise in compassion, listening, and open-mindedness in search of a greater truth. 

I'll be taking some time off the newsletter until January 11, so have a safe and happy holiday season everyone!!


You aren't the only ones in the festive season -----  the global markets have also been rising merrily with good cheer over the last few weeks. However, there has been one Grinch. 

Although oil prices have risen since our last letter, Canadian oil stocks fell slightly. There are a few signs the divergence between energy prices and stocks could reverse, but we will have to wait a little while longer to find out.
Things to think about for early 2018:
  • You'll be able to make an additional TFSA contribution ($5,500 for the year and lifetime $57,500), as of January 1. The RRSP deadline is March 1, 2018.


"Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues."
-----  Confucius
"I've also learned that judging people before really seeing things through their eyes stands in the way of understanding their circumstances-and that isn't smart. I urge you to be curious enough to want to understand how the people who see things differently from you came to see them that way."
-----  Ray Dalio


Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio: Of the 30 books I've read so far this year, this is definitely one of my top three favourites! A main theme is how critical it is to find out what is right, as opposed to trying to be right. Dalio consistently asks himself, "How do I know what I believe is true?" He feels that to find the truth, we need the help of other people, which requires actively seeking out those who disagree with our opinions and engaging them in a respectful and open-minded conversation.
The World Turned Upside Down (and what to do about it)  by Russ Roberts:  Like many of us, Russ Roberts is worried about the state of politics, the mainstream media, and public discourse. This 10-minute read illustrates what seems to be wrong and proposes three ways to improve this situation: Don't be part of the feedback loop; be humble; and entertain the possibility you are wrong and the other person is right.
J.K. Rowling On People's Intolerance of Alternative Viewpoints  by Farnam Street: J.K. Rowling reminds us why it's important to tolerate the opinions of other people, especially when they are objectionable.
I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup  by Slate Star Codex: A long, but very solid essay about how humans usually see things through the tribal eyes of us vs. them.
How to Disagree  by Paul Graham: The title says all you need to know.
On Being Wrong  by Kathryn Schultz:  Three things happen when someone disagrees with us:  We think they are ignorant; if they aren't ignorant, we think they are idiots; and if they aren't ignorant or idiots, we think they are distorting the truth for their own purposes.
The Work Required to Have an Opinion by Farnam Street :  I've used this article before, but it's worth including again. Putting a little more work into how we form our opinions, should not only lead to less distasteful arguments, but also a better set of opinions.


Matthew Lekushoff

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