Be Careful How You Measure Progress

And why Toyota's stock is back on my radar.

If you’re a stock, most people judge progress by how your price is doing.

Ask anyone how XYZ is doing, and they’ll pull up the price chart. We can’t help it. It’s what we can see and track in real-time.

Quarterly filing, management updates, and news releases are too few and far between. We want to know now. So we take the easy route.

We often apply that same first-level thinking to other areas of our life as well, which can leave us the wrong impression of a situation.

Let’s take people, for example.

How do we tend to judge a person’s progress? We measure what we can see.

A new job title. A bigger house or a nicer car. Your high school classmate’s Instagram post of a paystub from his new business, which pays $2,000/wk for a few hours of work from home! (hit him up for details).

Okay, not that last one. But you get the point.

We tend to measure progress by what’s visible (the result) instead of the many steps taken to achieve that result.

Take Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), for example. Last week the stock’s US-listed ADR broke out to new all-time highs after going nowhere since 2006.

Does that mean the company made no progress over the last 14 years? Of course not. But you’d only see that progress if you measured it using a metric other than the stock price.

OK Bruni, but what does all this have to do with your blog?

As silly as it may seem, the last two weeks have been pretty tough for me. I have to readjust how I measure my own progress.

For the last three years, I made visible progress every day. A new blog post, a conference presentation, a quote somewhere, something tangible.

But over the last two weeks (and likely for a few months), I won’t have much to show for my efforts. And that makes me uncomfortable.

To deal with this, I’ll have to rely on my own set of metrics to ensure I’m progressing towards my goals. And more importantly, I'll have to let go of the need to appear like I've got it all figured out.

Because like Toyota, I'll be making progress as my price consolidates...and sets up for its next leg higher.

And besides being a great metaphor, Toyota once again looks attractive on the long side. A nice 14-year base breakout on the back of a breakaway gap? Oh, and it pays just under a 3% dividend yield to its holders?

Sounds like a decent home for the cash in my Roth IRA.

With that, I’ll leave you with a picture of today’s beautiful weather in Central Park, NYC.

Have a great week all!