The Best Investing Lessons David Gardner Has Taught His Fans
One of the great joys of teaching is watching a student absorb the roots of a lesson -- not just a particular set of facts, but fundamentals and processes that they'll be able to apply again and again. And while Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner might not have a classroom, there's no doubt that he views himself, in part, as a teacher. It's not for nothing that the company's original motto was "Educate. Amuse. Enrich." Today, that's been updated to "Making the world smarter, happier, and richer," which obviously hits the same themes.
Earlier in May, The Motley Fool asked our Twitter followers, "What investment principles and ideas have you learned from David Gardner?" The answers were so gratifying to Professor G. that he's dedicating an episode of his Rule Breaker Investing podcast to his listeners' favorite pieces of advice and a quick refresher course on the lessons they cited.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. A full transcript follows the video.
10 stocks we like better than WalmartWhen investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has quadrupled the market.*
David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Walmart wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
Click here to learn about these picks!
*Stock Advisor returns as of April 1, 2019The author(s) may have a position in any stocks mentioned.
This video was recorded on May 22, 2019.
David Gardner: It was my birthday last week, and I don't know if our company's social media account was doing this intentionally or not, but a week before that, I received a wonderful present. It came in the form of a simple question put out on Twitter, where we're @TheMotleyFool. What investment principles and ideas have you learned from David Gardner? As I read through your responses, not only did I have my own kind of a Mr. Holland's Opus emotional reaction, but I started to realize that how you answer that question -- what have you learned from me -- whether you've been listening for four weeks or for four years, also happens to be a wonderful format for a podcast. This week's podcast, in fact. So, the gift that I got that week becomes a gift I'll try to give out this week, summarizing and sharing what you've learned from David Gardner, to help remind listeners old and new of some of the eternal verities of Rule Breaking and our Rule Breaker-y ways. So, what have you learned from David Gardner? Only on this week's Rule Breaker Investing.
Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing! Yep, it was my birthday last week. Thank you for some of the kind wishes! As I mentioned, at the top, I got a wonderful birthday present when I began to hear what you feel like you've learned from me. Now, I'm a little bit self-conscious entitling this episode, What Have You Learned From David Gardner?, because I'm the first to make jokes, especially about professional athletes, who refer to themselves in the third person. Things like, "What's ahead for Michael Jordan?" And then Michael says, "Well, Michael Jordan is thinking a lot about his future." This sort of a thing. Often, it seems like the sports journalists set up the athletes to use third person by asking them questions directly in the third person themselves. Anyway. What have you learned from David Gardner? Well, here's David Gardner to share that back this week.
But I hope it's clear that, I realized as I read through the responses, that it's a pretty good summary of a lot of what I've tried to teach in a very compact and efficient format. So if I'm doing my job right this week, you're going to be getting an info-rich, highly efficient view of how to approach investing, business, and life -- but mostly investing, because that's what you tell me you're learning here on Rule Breaker Investing.
I have a bunch of Twitter comments. I'll read out some of your names, read out what you said. And just think together around these things. At the end, I think I'm going to tell a story that happened on my birthday, when I was sitting in the backseat of an Uber. I'll share that at the end. But for now, let's stay focused here on investing. Alright, I've lightly organized these, but mostly, this is just a good-natured Rule Breaker-y ramble. So let's get started!
First one I want to point out was Art Burke, who's @despicabull on Twitter. Art said, "I learned the difference between investing and trading, a very important lesson." I wanted to lead off with that, because I think a lot of us, when we first approach the stock market or money or, in this case, we'll go with the word investing, we don't really understand the difference between investing and trading. Art, thank you very much for pointing it out!
I wanted to lead off with this one because I think too much of the world is trading. A lot of people think as soon as you buy a stock, the first thing you should be asking is, when should I sell? What's my price target? If it doubles, I'll sell half, and leave the rest in. People operate off of all kinds of short-term thinking and old saws that never made sense to me in the first place. But the word investing, as I've often pointed out before and I know [I'll] be doing it for years going forward, derives from the Latin word "investire," which means to put on the clothes of. And so, as I've taken some pains on this podcast to note, my favorite visual for thinking about how to approach money in the stock market, specifically your money in the stock market, is to think about people who go to sports games -- baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer -- and they're wearing the jersey of their home team. They're not going to take off the jersey if their team loses that game that day. Maybe a few will, but I wouldn't call them investors. Those are the traders. Nope, the investors are going to keep that shirt on. And they're going to leave it on, probably for years. And part of the reason they're wearing that shirt is because they love the team. They probably love the stadium or their fellow fans, it's kind of a tribal thing. They love their city. So much of our sports world is geographically minded. We're not talking about sports brands as much as we're talking about cities. That's typically how we've set up our sports leagues. They're geographically minded. But they're going to keep that jersey on. So, too, should you be keeping that jersey on with your investment portfolio. Find companies that you love, that you want to be identified with for years, and look to add to them over time, not buy and then right away sell, and then try to guess where the price is going to go next, or the market overall.
So Art Burke, you got it! You've learned the difference between investing and trading, a very important lesson, as you say. The reason it's so important is because you're going to make a lot more money, a lot more money doing the former instead of the latter. I'm sure that there are some good traders out there. But I know two things about good traders. One is, they're few and far between. It's probably not you, it's probably not me now. Maybe it's you; I know it's not me. That's No. 1. No. 2, even if you're really good at trading -- boy, does that take a lot of your time and attention. Part of the reason I love investing is because my money does its work for me. I don't have to do anything. I can be off pursuing my own professional career or my hobbies or spending time at my kids' soccer games, not trading. Thank you, Art Burke!
Alright, next up. This is from Peter Rogner, @Peter_R_Aus_H. One of the more ambitious Twitter handles. Peter, I hope I got that one right. But you sure got it right when you said this. You said what you've learned from me, "Stocks always go down faster than they go up, but they always go up more than they go down." I love that quote! Thank you, Peter! I love that you quoted it verbatim. You nailed it! Sometimes, when I'm trying to lock down a quote that I want people to remember, and I'll have a few others later this episode, it makes me slightly sad if they change one of the words, we kind of get it wrong. You got that exactly right! I'm going to say it again, Peter -- stocks always go down faster than they go up, but they always go up more than they go down.
I think I want to say something about both halves of that briefly. The first part, yeah, stocks go down faster than they go up. I think we've seen that some in recent months. We've seen some bad days. Within the last couple of weeks, there was a down 3% day for the Nasdaq. You're not going to find as many up 3% days, in my experience, for the Nasdaq. And forget about one day, sometimes just a whole month. How about fourth quarter of last year, 2018? A whole quarter. I think my investment portfolio lost about 25% of its value in just one quarter at the end of last year. That happens a lot faster, in my experience, on the way downward. And then we have to slowly creep and crawl back upward. Yes, there's some good days and good quarters. And we've had one. The first quarter 2019 was an outstanding retracement, where we got back to where we'd started the fourth quarter of last year. We dipped down and came all the way back up. That's how it felt, anyway. But stocks always go down faster than they go up.
That second part, they always go up more than they go down. This is the key part of the phrase. It's self-evident if you just take a look at a graph of the stock market over the last century. It starts in the lower left, it goes to the upper right. That is the reality. And I predict, as I have on this podcast, that that's what's going to happen in the next century. We're going to keep creating value for each other. That's what we do through business. And then we can co-own each other's enterprises. That's what we do in the stock market. And as we continue to innovate, we continue to improve the world, and find better ways to serve you and me more cheaply or more amazingly. That's the story of capitalism done well. And it ends up resulting in decades and a century of gains. So stocks always go up more than they go down.
A lot of people don't know this -- I know you do, dear listener, but a lot of people don't realize that the stock market rises around 9% or 10% every year, compounded on average. Yes, there are years where it's down 29%; there are other years where it's up 45%. But take it all in all, an average gain of around 9% to 10% annualized, which is amazing! So of course, stocks always go up more than they go down.
Alright, next one up is from Terry Chung @Bat_tery on Twitter. Terry, you're just quoting what probably is my No. 1 legacy line: "Make your portfolio reflect your best vision for our future." I think this is pinned to the top of our @RBIPodcast account on Twitter. It goes on from there. "Always be thinking ahead. Be optimistic. Think about the world that you want to create because sure enough, your dollars and mine, our capital, is helping shape the world." I don't think we need any mini rant or any additional sermon to speak to that one. I hope it speaks in a straightforward way.
A number of you pointed to that line. Marc Fitzgerald, @MFFitzgerald. You also said, "Make your portfolio reflect your best vision for our future." And Mark, you added that you think about that all the time, and that's how you invest. Well, I'm glad to know that. That's how I invest. I truly believe that the more people who understand that and invest that way, not only will they feel aligned, where their money is leading directly toward their purpose in life and what they're trying to get done on this planet, but they're going to do a lot better, as well. So rather than take a flyer on somebody else's dodgy stock, how about putting your money right in line with the companies that, when you play it forward and think about the world 10 years from now, you're like, that's a better world. You probably foresee growth for that company, because companies with great products and services, those tend to spread and grow and truly shape the future. So make your portfolio reflect your best vision for our future. Try it! You'll like it!
Alright, next up. Speaking of tweets that speak for themselves and I don't have to add much more, @KurtElia, a frequent correspondent here in our mailbags -- by the way, mailbag for this podcast coming next week. If you do have any further thoughts, suggestions, questions, maybe you're still thinking about the future and business of sports, which I covered last week with Phil De Picciotto, we've got some nice notes about that. Drop us a line! Our email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also tweet us, of course, @RBIPodcast. Next week is the mailbag.
Kurt, what have you learned from me? Well, you said, "In order to beat the market," and then you have three bullets. The first: "Invest in disruptive companies since Wall Street doesn't know how to value them." Second, "Hold for the long term since Wall Street doesn't look much further than next quarter." And third, "Diversify, knowing that half will lose money, but the winning half will more than make up for it." Really, a lovely recitation of probably three of our principal themes in Rule Breaker Investing. And not just Rule Breaker Investing... that runs through a lot of The Motley Fool oeuvre. Yep, that's French. I remember that. My schoolboy French. That's the work of The Motley Fool.
Yeah, those three principles run through a lot of our oeuvre here at fool.com, and always will, for really good reasons, because it wins and it works. Investing, as Kurt says, in disruptive companies, because yeah, Wall Street didn't know how to value Amazon in its early days, and arguably, 10 or 20 years later, still doesn't know how to value Amazon. That's why the stock has made so much money for us. Or companies like Netflix, they're just so disruptive. Even America Online back in the day. So disruptive that people could not -- Facebook -- could not understand what they were going to become. Google. And so these stocks are consistently viewed as overvalued and so people don't buy them. But you and I do, and then we hold them, to Kurt's second point, for the long term, because Wall Street isn't going to. It's not going to look much further ahead than next quarter. And finally, as Kurt says, we diversify. While I might have a small quibble with what Kurt said -- he said knowing that half will lose money -- I don't think half of your picks or mine will lose money. Half will lose to the market averages. But if we're actually finding really good companies that reflect our best vision for the future and we're spreading it out, in my experience, you're going to make money with, well, more than half. But sure enough, a number will lose to the market, will be wrong and lose some money. But the key here is, your winners will wipe out all of the mediocrity, and more so. So diversifying over the long term into these disruptive companies, as Kurt has summarized, that has proved so successful for us at Motley Fool Rule Breakers, and I know for so many of you, my fellow Rule Breakers out there in Podcastville.
From there, let's go next to @SpiritCat. What have you learned from me, @SpiritCat? Well, you're saying, "Add to your winners and hold for decades, not days." So yes, sure enough, there is that long-term focus and emphasis again, which is really at the heart of success for investors worldwide. It's always been true. It's true today, it will always be true going forward. But then you add, and indeed a number of you added, the importance of adding to your winners. And why? Well, as I was saying, the 2018 theme, the leitmotif for this podcast... why? Well, because winners win. And thank you, Ali Al-Lawati, @alirallawati on Twitter, for saying that's what you learned from me in this podcast. Winners win. What do winners do? Rick Engdahl, what do winners do?
Rick Engdahl: They win!
Gardner: That's right! It's very simple! We're having fun with that tongue-in-cheek about half the time. The other half of us, though, is serious. Usually, one of the best indicators of future results is past performance. Now, that runs in direct contrast to the often used financial disclaimer that I'm sure all of us have heard any number of times: Past performance is no guarantee of future results, you'll very frequently hear disclaimed in various forms of financial advertising. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. And yet, as I've always taken pains to say, it's actually probably our single best indicator going forward of what to expect. The lawyers won't let financial advertisers say that, but you and I are looking for what works, what wins, and in my experience, winners win. That's why, with @SpiritCat, yep, we add to our winners.
Many people do the opposite. They keep adding to their losers. The old cliche is, they are trimming their flowers and watering their weeds. We're going to try to trim our weeds and water our flowers. Most of all, we're not going to think too much about our weeds. We're going to be watering our flowers. When you find great companies, they shouldn't be great for just a quarter or a year. That's not great. Great companies go five, 10, 15 years, sometimes longer runs have huge growth, by adding lots of value to all their stakeholders. And you and I are going to add to those stocks as they go up over time.
One of our contract writers and a friend of mine that I've gotten to know through Motley Fool over the years, Danny Vena, as a newer investor years ago, he made his own rule, which he shared through our discussion-board community at the time. And it read a little crazy to me, and yet I admired it. He would only invest new money in a stock if it was already up 40%. And then he had some additional rules. I use the past tense, but he may still be doing this. Once it went up 40% again, then he would add to it even more. And as it turns out, what was he doing? Well, he was adding to his winners. Winners win. I'm pretty sure Danny's pretty happy with that approach. Now, of course, diversifying also has us not overloading into any one stock or stocks. But I hope you get the principle. In fact, I know you get the principle, because so many of you replied that way when we said, "What have you learned from David Gardner?"
Alright, next up, this one, one of my favorites here. This is from Daniel Shelton @DTShelt on Twitter. Daniel, what did you learn from me? "Buy a sports car as soon as you have the money." [laughs] Clearly, Daniel's one of my longer-term listeners. Once or twice a year, I'll mentioned how early on, with some extra dollars, in part because I had a college scholarship, I chose to buy a sports car. That was probably one of the more expensive mistakes, financially, that I've made in life. I actually have no regret about it. I enjoyed that sports car for several years before, since I'm not great at maintaining cars and I'm not really a cars guy, eventually I sold it in a more decrepit form of that vehicle, some six or seven years later. No real regrets. But if you do the math, you'll realize that tens of thousands of dollars put into the market would have been worth a lot more today than that sports car. But I also believe in living a balanced life, trying to have your cake and eat it, too, creating a win across all aspects of your life. So I don't actually have regret around that. But I do like to mention that from time to time because in so many ways, I think it flies in the face of really better advice that you get from podcasts like Motley Fool Answers, from people like Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp. They'd be the first to say you shouldn't run right out and buy a sports car when you have the money to do it. So thank you, Daniel, for the humor! And you're right, you certainly could have learned from me, "buy a sports car as soon as you have the money."
Alright, a few more and some favorites. Next, I want to go to Nate Outland @MTOutland on Twitter. Nate, you just wrote, what did you learn from me? "Not to be afraid of buying at 52-week highs." Now, that does fall in line with some of what I've already presented this podcast, so I won't belabor it. But in addition to adding to winners and finding great companies that you believe in, I do like Nate's emphasis on not being afraid of buying at 52-week highs. Now that phrase, 52-week high, especially for investors or people new to investing, you're going to see very frequently quoted the 52-week high and low for a lot of stocks. Early days for me, as a kid, when I was a teenager investing, I thought I should be looking at the 52-week lows. After all, buy low, sell high, the old saw goes. But it wasn't until probably reading William O'Neil's book, How To Make Money in Stocks, which, as I've said sometimes in the past, is both one of my favorite and least favorite investing books at the same time because it has some spectacular material and then some spectacularly off material. But at his best, what O'Neil has done and does for us is, he reminds us, in fact, to look at the 52-week highs. Usually, great stocks just keep making new highs from one month or year to the next. So once you start looking at the 52-week highs and realize that's the group of stocks, that's the pond that we should be fishing in, it really does -- for me, anyway -- improve your investing and your results. So it is counterintuitive. Nate Outland, you get it. It sounds like you've learned it from us here. Thank you! Don't be afraid of buying at 52-week highs.
And the next one, this is from my friend, Matt Cochrane, who writes for The Motley Fool, @FoolMCochrane on Twitter. Matt, it was great to see you and your family visiting us some weeks ago here in Alexandria, Virginia. You wrote, what did you learn? "Buy companies with many possible futures or optionality." Here on Rule Breaker Investing, I've talked about that a fair amount in the past. Some of my favorite companies have lots of options. After all, if you start by selling books online but build a platform for e-commerce, where all of a sudden you could sell other things online, play it forward a decade or two, and all of a sudden, you might be selling everything online, as Amazon is today, seemingly. And it all came from a platform that was initially just built to sell books. Amazon had many possible futures. It had, as I like to say, optionality, a lot of options, by having the world's leading e-commerce platform, even in its earliest days. Of course, Amazon has gone on to do some other amazing things, like Amazon Web Services, which we don't need to belabor here. We'll just say that adds even more options to what Amazon can do and become, and even more tactical things these days, like Amazon's new emphasis on single-day delivery. That represents just another capability that Amazon has built up over time, giving the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos, so many options in terms of how to grow, but in a way that people appreciate. I know some people probably don't like Amazon or think it should be broken up. I'm somebody who thinks that would be a real mistake. Amazon, from my standpoint as a customer, anyway, every day is adding convenience to my life, I bet to yours, to so many people globally. To me, it might be the brightest crown jewel in the American capitalism crown.
So much of this is looking for optionality, many possible futures. In fact, Matt, you went on to quote in that tweet, and I'll just read it, "The best businesses are able to evolve. Why does that matter? Well, just like in biological evolution, changes in external circumstances happen, and your organization needs to both be aware of those things and be adjusting itself to be relevant and/or successful and/or just survive into the next era by evolving. And one of the best ways that innovative companies manage to do this is -- often, they have a second or third trick. And we call that, again, optionality. It means you have multiple possible futures." Quoting from an essay I once wrote on the comparison between biological evolution and business evolution and how you need to succeed and pass your genes on to the next generation. The most successful businesses do, just like the most successful species do, they survive, they procreate, they grow, they pass their DNA, in this case, the DNA of successful business thinking and execution, onto the next generation, by surviving, by being naturally selected -- thank you, Darwin -- by being naturally selected by, in this case, customers, who are naturally selecting that product or service, not that one, enabling those businesses to thrive. There's a lot of crossover, in my mind, between evolution in biology and evolution in business. And the most successful form of it in business results in many possible futures for companies and in optionality.
Alright, the next one's pretty short and sweet. This one is from @JohnathanWinkler on Twitter. You wrote, "The market cap of a stock is more important than the price of a stock." Well, that's a reminder that every quarter, we do our podcast game show, it's The Market Cap Game Show. And yes indeed, Jonathan, the big goal is to make it clear to increasing numbers of people worldwide that learning the market cap of companies is a much more valuable thing to know than what its price per share is as a stock. Market cap gives us the relative sizing of one company vs. another, whereas the price per share of a stock, which many people confuse for thinking a big price per share means a big company and a small price per share means a small company, or sometimes even worse -- they think only buy companies with penny stock, low-price shares because those would be potentially the most exciting ones, when often the opposite is true, I think, in practice. But the market cap of a stock is more important than the price of the stock. Thank you, Jonathan Winkler!
Alright, last two. The next one is from @StormKhaos. What have you learned from this podcast? Well, @StormKhaos, you said, "Buy Shopify, which has paid for my subscription for the next 50 years." That one made me really happy to read, and of course, how can I not chuckle? Shopify, one of the better Rule Breaker picks, not just over the last few years, but of all time at this point. In fact, it was only February of 2016, not much more than three years ago, that the stock was at $21.02 when we picked it in Rule Breakers for our members. Today, it's it $264, it's up about 11 times in value, which is not bad for three years of returns. I'm really happy to say, one month later, we re-recommended it right away. That position is up 900% or so. And yes, for those who followed the advice, I sure hope that a stock like that, assuming you've invested in it -- not traded it -- I sure hope a stock like that will pay for many future Fool subscriptions. It's a reminder that if you look at our business, just from our side of it -- sit in Fool HQ with me for a sec. If we're doing our job right, truly, our services should be paying for themselves. And if and when they do pay for themselves, that's really a wonderful business to be running. And that is, in fact, the business that my brother Tom Gardner, our CEO, is running today. Not everybody's going to make back their subscription money right away. New subscribers last fall probably weren't feeling too great a few months later when the market had caved in about 20%. But sure enough, if you're using your subscriptions over time and you do the math with me, literally every single subscription we've ever sold should more than pay for itself, which is a pretty good example of capitalistic modern magic. I hope The Motley Fool will continue to pay for itself, whether you're finding Shopify, which is a pick from a few years ago, or a stock like ShockWave Medical, which is a more recent pick and doing pretty well for members just in the last few months.
And yes, of course, we have a bunch of losers. Any scorecard that I've ever generated -- and largely it's Motley Fool Stock Advisor today and Motley Fool Rule Breakers -- you're going to find a lot of stocks that are down or underperforming. That's natural for me as an investor. The way I play it up, the way I've put in the past, is that we need to lose to win. We take more of a venture capital mentality to the public markets. I know you as a Rule Breaker Investing listener knows that.
Anyway, thank you, @StormKhaos! I'm glad that you went in with us on Shopify!
Alright, that takes me to my final one, @ebcapital. That's my friend, Todd Campbell, who is also a Motley Fool personality. He's a contract writer, like a few others I've mentioned today. He's also regularly on our Industry Focus podcast for the Healthcare industry. What have you learned from me, Todd? You said, "One of my favorite pieces of advice from him: lead a more interesting life." Todd goes on, "Go out in the world, try things, meet people, travel, take some risks, have fun." Thank you, Todd! I will mention that I have one podcast that I taped in the first year of the show. And my producer Rick and I said, "Hey, if I'm ever hit by a bus or we just couldn't get to the microphone that week, we're going to keep that one in the hopper, we always have one in our back pocket." And literally, we still never used it now, 3.5 years later, because every single week, we've both been healthy. We've managed to make this happen, even if we're away, sometimes, during the summer. It's a fresh podcast every week. But if that podcast ever does get played, you'll hear it, and it's entitled, "Lead A More Interesting Life."
Todd Campbell's gotten to hear that from me because, in addition to being a Rule Breaker Investing listener, Todd is also a Motley Fool contract writer. He comes and visits Fool HQ once a year or so, and has probably heard me say that. And I'm not going to go through that mini-sermon right now, other than to say that the best way for you to improve your investing and indeed your life is to have new experiences. Lead a more interesting life. Say yes to an invitation. Try out a new piece of technology. Have a conversation that's uncomfortable. Push yourself. Not only will it improve you, but I guarantee you, it will improve your investing. The more that we discover of the world around us, the smarter we're going to be. Leading a more interesting life. Todd, I'm glad I made that impression on you. Perhaps one day we'll air that podcast.
Alright. Well, this is all my way of saying thank you to every one of you who responded with what you learned from David Gardner. David Gardner, to use third person for the last time this podcast, was delighted to share it all back.
Alright, before I go to my closing story, I want to remind you again, mailbag next week. email@example.com is the email address. I'm looking forward, as always, to sharing your stories, questions, thoughts, sometimes your poetry. RBI mailbag next week.
Alright, well, I mentioned at the top of the show, I wanted to tell a short anecdote to close. My birthday last Thursday, I was driving from where I'd spent my day to supper that night. It was a gorgeous evening here in Washington, D.C. For those of you who know our climate, there's a little bit of the Mid-Atlantic in general, but especially Washington D.C., there is a wonderful three weeks or so each year where spring is sprung, and yet the heat, humidity, and the gnats aren't out yet. The Washington Nationals may be out, but I'm talking about the gnats, which start to swarm around us like clouds through most of the summer. It was one of those nights last week on my birthday.
I got in my Uber. My driver had... I'm going to say it was a Russian accent. Quietly, on my own, I noticed he had the windows up, but it was about 5:30 p.m. and I wanted to drink in the evening air, so I put my window down. We got started. About four minutes in, he just reflexively rolled my window up. So I'm just sort of sitting there. I'm a generally pretty non-confrontational person. So in my mind, the driver wasn't comfortable or didn't want me to have my window up. He probably had air-conditioning. Maybe he was thinking economically. I'm not really sure what he was thinking other than, he wasn't thinking what I was thinking, and made me sad as he put my window back up.
So I sat there for about five minutes and stewed about it a little bit. I noticed that the air in the car was not particularly pleasant. It wasn't really air-conditioning. I think he had the air going, but not the AC on. And I was just sitting there thinking, it looks so beautiful outside. Should I do it? I decided, I'm going to do it. I'm going to ask him if I can roll my window down. Now, I know, many of you are like, "Of course you can roll your window down. It's Uber. They're there to serve you. It's your window temporarily while you're in his car." And yet, that's just not how I roll. I'm pretty non-confrontational. But I decided I'm going to ask him directly. "Hey, do you mind if I roll my window down?" I asked him, and he said back to me, in so many words, "Thank you so much for asking me to do that. In fact, I'm getting a little sick right now, and the air in the car would not have been good for me."
And what I realized from that conversation was that we were both creating together a small dystopia. He misunderstood my intentions; I misunderstood his. We both found out the wicked witch was dead. All hail Dorothy. We both wanted the window down. And as I told my kids later that night, it's important in life not only to let others know what you like and not make assumptions about what they're thinking, but sometimes you may be surprised that the other person was thinking exactly the same thing that you were. And yet, if I had not reached out, if I just sat there and stewed for another 25 minutes, missing a gorgeous evening in the nation's capital, I would have been living in a dystopia of our own collective creation.
Now, I'm sure many of my seasoned, wise, and knowledgeable listeners already knew that. That's maybe not something that you had to learn from David Gardner. But perhaps for a few of you, I've given you a nudge.
Looking forward to being with you next week! Fool on!
As always, people on this program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Learn more about Rule Breaker Investing at rbi.fool.com.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. David Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. Rick Engdahl owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Shopify, and Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends ShockWave Medical and Uber Technologies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.