Amateurs Don’t Get It

When I was young, I was a competent golfer. After watching the pros I decided that the winner of the US Open could spot me a dozen strokes on a championship course and still beat me.

There is no chance that an amateur, even a good one, could compete. Tommy Lasorda once opined that an amateur baseball player not only could not hit a major league pitch, he probably couldn’t catch one either. There is a vast difference between elite athletes and the rest of us.

That happens in every field

You can’t know enough to compete with what your doctor knows. Your doctor cannot compete with people having narrow specialties. A virologist with 20-years experience writes reports and you doctor reads them. The reports are summary. The subtle parts are missing.

Do politicians have skills the rest of us lack? Likely.

Does anyone want to do their own root canal? Likely not. Do-it-yourself is seldom the ideal solution to complicated problems.

Should we criticize?

Of course, but we should understand what we are doing. We don’t know enough to criticize constructively. Many times what we think is wrong, or what seems poorly done is really as good as it is possible to do. Unwarranted criticism requires a response and reduces efficiency.

Theodore Roosevelt has a thought:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

If you want to criticize you should, but your criticism should include a suggestion for better performance. Failing that, it is just whining.

Understand the playing field and the possibilities. You learn by noticing what you don’t know.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com  

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