Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
One of the “Five Good Emperors” of Rome, Marcus Aurelius spent the final decade of his life between 170 and 180 AD fighting the Persians as they attempted to gain a foothold on the European continent from the east. In his spare time during the campaign he wrote – in Greek no less – a guide to life he had simply titled ‘To Me’.
Upon his death, these journal entries and affirmations would be retitled as ‘Meditations’ and published in the year 200. It is among the most important documents ever written – a treasure trove of clarity, resolve, wisdom and experience, all from the perspective of a man who, at the time of writing, is the most powerful person in the world.
Marcus Aurelius’s quotation about meeting the future armed with the weapons of reason we already possess is a most perfect exemplifier of our approach to asset management and investing. We neither believe that we can predict the future nor do we fear it. When clients or prospective clients ask for a forecast, we are fond of saying that we have absolutely no idea what will happen but we are highly confident that we will know the right thing to do when it does.
As Marcus Aurelius councils, we will arm ourselves in the future, as we do today, with reason – reason fortified with historical context, skepticism, good intentions and common sense.