This past Sunday, the Denver Broncos won their sixth straight game — and their seventh of eight overall — with controversial quarterback Tim Tebow starting under center.
I have to admit, I was one of the many folks who thought Tim Tebow would never make it as an NFL talent. And I remain in the camp that remains skeptical about his long-term prospects as a pro quarterback.
But say what you want — that kid sure knows how to find ways to win.
Despite the fact I think Tebow isn’t cut out for the NFL Hall of Fame, I actually admire him a great deal. He is good-natured in the face of his critics, he is principled in a league often characterized by thugs and he seems genuine in an age where not much is real on TV anymore.
So for all you armchair quarterbacks and part-time investors out there, take notice: There are a few life lessons you can glean from Tim Tebow:
Cut out the Media Noise
Some on ESPN say Tim Tebow is cruising for a historic crash and burn. Others think he will be vindicated and breathe new life into the Broncos. But the reality is that the young quarterback probably is going to see plenty of ups and downs, plenty of honest mistakes and lucky breaks along with plenty of near-misses and brilliant plays. Football players, just like the rest of us, have good days and bad ones.
The market is no different. It’s either the best time to buy stocks or the worst time to buy stocks if you watch TV. Most of the time the oversimplifications, scare tactics or wishful thinking seen in the media is simply to juice ratings — so keep your head and keep some perspective.
The fact is things come in all shades of gray. While on rare occasions you might bear witness to a perfect season — or a historic flop like the 0-16 Lions a few years back — the reality is that these are outliers. All those marketing messages promising you “the next Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)” or “the next Lehman” are just pushing your buttons.
Reality is much less dramatic, but it’s important that investors learn how to live there.
Know Your Weaknesses
Don’t know anything about patent expirations or biotech drug pipelines? It’s probably best not to chase small-cap health care stocks. Can’t day trade because you have a day job? How about you stick to buy-and-hold investing and avoid leveraged ETFs that can shave 10% or 15% off your portfolio in a single day.
Tim Tebow is far from a perfect quarterback. Heck, the biggest criticism of the guy is that his throwing mechanics are the ugliest in decades among NFL gunslingers. But Tebow mitigates this shortcoming by relying on his size and mobility, and using good judgment to not turn the ball over by making wild throws beyond his skill. That kind of self-awareness is a big reason for his success.
Even if you know a trader who has made a killing in the last year, his strategy is useless to you if it’s beyond your market knowledge or too risky for your comfort level.
Stick to what you’re good at. You always can grow and improve as an investor — but make sure you know the limitations of your skill. Limiting mistakes is just as important as seizing opportunities.