Is it just me who has these random thoughts pop into my mind, creating nagging questions that just have to be answered?
Bear with me, as I think you’ll get some benefit out of this dive into the inner workings of my mind.
If not, it is highly likely that you will learn at least one new thing and have a laugh from this blog — and of course, I will tie all of these ramblings into a few very valuable lessons for your investing future.
So, about a week or so ago, I caught part of a segment of a TV show hosted by Dr Michael Mosely, looking at the relationship of sugar in our diets and health. Now, I didn’t see the whole show; but what I did see was focused on the evolution of the humble strawberry.
It is a truly amazing bit of evolutionary symbiosis. Just thinking through everything that has to happen in order for a strawberry to survive to maturity and offer up its sweet bounty for some animal to eat it in order to spread its seeds far and wide is staggering.
I will keep the biology behind all this brief. Unripe strawberries are typically hard, green, and very acidic, which makes them unappealing to be consumed by most creatures. However, as the fruit matures, it releases a hormone called auxin. This causes the sugar content of the strawberry to increase, the acid content to decrease and the cell walls to degrade, making them juicy. It changes colour and releases fragrant esters, making it almost irresistible to consume by a wide variety of critters (including us humans).
Anyway, I was chopping up my fruit salad as I do most mornings and I encountered a particularly sweet pineapple. It got me to thinking: “OK, so most fruits are sweet to attract a creature to want to eat them. What creature in the wild would eat a pineapple?” Perhaps you might argue I have too much time on my hands. But as I do when I have a question I don’t know the answer to, I decided to do a bit of research.
I started with where the pineapple originated, thinking that might have given me some sort of clue as to what animals would be likely to have eaten it. The pineapple is from the bromeliad family and was thought to have originated in Brazil, although it is likely that other South American countries had their own varieties. So, my first clue: it’s likely to have been a rainforest creature that first ate it.
So, I Googled “what eats pineapple in the wild?”
Most of the forums were somewhat vague as to what creature would eat a whole pineapple. Some identified the fact that bats and hummingbirds can pollinate them. Other described how some insects, beetles and moths could attack the fruit, or that large Frugivorous (fruit-eating) parrots might be able to get through the prickly exterior. Yet others hypothesised that large, extinct Megafauna (mammals > 1,000kg) were the original consumers of the pineapple.
This then led me to a Melbourne University blog that described how the pineapple was introduced to the world via trading routes through South America and eventually to the Caribbean and the Indies – where Christopher Columbus discovered it in 1493 and brought it to Europe.
Interestingly (at least in my mind) the pineapple landed in England in the 1600s but became a massive hit in the 1700s. According to the post:
“It was THE status symbol! […] If you had a pineapple under your arm in the 1700s… WELL, you were just the richest, coolest kid on the block. I am speaking literally though. People quite seriously took a pineapple to parties to show off, carrying it around for weeks until the pineapple started to rot. You could even rent a pineapple for an evening.
“Pineapples were expensive too. They cost about 5000 pounds each (around $8000AUD) by today’s standards – OR the cost of a new coach.”
Sort of reminds me a bit of Bitcoin! (Check out my take on the Bitcoin craze, Have You Missed the Bitcoin Boom?)
So anyway, here are a few important lessons we can learn from the humble strawberry when it comes to investing.
The strawberry is a great example of a symbiotic relationship, defined above as a “mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups”. Note how the strawberry does not want to get eaten too early. Only when it’s ready does it make itself sweet, juicy, colourful and fragrant — thus signalling that it’s ready for some critter to provide it with a transport and germination system, in return for a delicious meal.
At The Property Mentors, we pride ourselves on creating a symbiotic, win/win relationship with each and every one of our members.
In this relationship, we are very much like the strawberry, out there doing a whole bunch of things behind the scenes to create something truly sweet for our members to enjoy. Ask yourself with your investing: “Do I want to be the one doing all the work — or the one getting access to all the rewards?”
Following the lessons that nature provides, there is actually a perfect time to enjoy the fruits of your investing.
Try to “pick” the “fruits” of your investments too early, and you might find that it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth afterwards. Wait too long to enjoy the fruits of your investing efforts, and you might be left with a mess on your hands. Of course, learning how to balance your asset growth and cash flows throughout your investment journey is a skill — one you can learn to master over time, given the right guidance and support. Get it right, and you can expect to enjoy a very sweet reward down the track.
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