The following story shows us all that nothing can stand in the way of an individual who is determined to lead the life of his/her own choosing. It is also true that obstacles teach and make the human spirit strong. Trying situations are NOT our enemies but OUR allies. Its how we react to them that determines whether we move forward or get pulled backwards.
Ms Laura Sloate now 65 years old, when she was 6, she went blind as a result of an illness that caused her retinas to become detached. When Laura was aged 10 years, she found her passion in the capital market. Her father was an investor who would call her in on New Year’s Eve to calculate the value of his portfolio. She says she would do the calculations in her head faster than he could with a pad and pencil.
She dreamt of becoming a stock analyst and to study hard and despite her blindness, she graduated with a Masters Degree in History. While interviewing for her first job as a securities analyst, a research chief at a brokerage firm basically told her to forget about a career on Wall Street. “He said, ‘You have three things against you: You can’t see; and you’re inexperienced”.
Laura refused to believe it. She says, “Blindness isn’t an obstacle. It just forces you to do things differently.” She proved him wrong. After landing her first job as a stock analyst after numerous stinging rejections, she went on to become one of the top stock analysts and investors on Wall Street, achieving a 20%+ annual conpounded return from the stock market that turned her into a millionaire.
Today, she manages a $405 million stock portfolio even though she can’t read a stock chart, scan a spreadsheet or look at an annual report. In 1974, she started her own investment firm, Sloate Weisman Murray & Co., She also manages the Strong Value Fund, which gained 13% in 2008 despite the stock market’s crash during the financial crisis.
Paying the Price
So, how did Laura succeed despite all the odds stacked against her? How is she able to beat 95% of other stock analysts and money managers who only make 10%+ return a year and lost millions in the financial crisis?
It is because she is willing to pay the price for success and to work 10 times harder than a normal person who can see.
Laura sleeps less than four hours a night. Her day starts at 3:45 a.m. The minute she gets up she” flips on” the paper. Picking up the phone, she dials a number and keys in a six-digit access code. When the call connects, she gets a line-by-line account of stories published by top national newspapers.
To keep up her level of energy at fitness (she is 65, by the way), she starts her exercise at 5:30 am. she climbs up and down 75 flights of stairs in her Manhattan apartment building. A personal trainer arrives at 6 am. to spot her during her workout with weights. The fit 5-foot-6, 110-pound Sloate bench-presses 60 pounds 60 times – in three consecutive supersets. She arrives at her Park Avenue office by 8.30 am.
Once at her office, she spends the whole day analyzing the stock market, news and other financial data. Because she is blind, she uses technology to feed her the information.
She listens to breaking business news that spills out of her PC’s speakers at 320 words per minute. To check stock quotes, she hits the F3 key on her PC and punches in the symbol ‘C’. A robotic voice responds with a quote for Citigroup, her top holding: “C… Bid … Point … 5265 … End … Ask … 50 … Point … 750 … End.”
To reading e-mail, she double clicks on a message from a Wall Street analyst dissecting Citigroup’s earnings report released before the bell. The computer reads the e-mail’s content to her. Her work ends only midnight, every day!
She refused to settle for second best inspite of her circumstances. If she CAN do it, you CAN too!
Remember: Learning without implementaion is useless. Therefore consider taking action.
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