Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself. -Saint Frances de Sales
I've written much over the last ten years about how investing success is more a measure of an individual's patience and discipline than intelligence. I can't take credit for the observation - Warren Buffett once said: "The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect. You need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd."
Investors are constantly bombarded by what the "crowd" is doing. They hear it on CNBC, the nightly news and perhaps from friends and co-workers. Its no wonder a common practice of brokers is to bait unhappy clients with "last year's winners". When a client complains that the S&P 500 or FAANG did better than their portfolio, the broker pulls out "last year's winners" as an inducement to stay. The bet is on the ability to replicate past out-performance. While simple and tempting - this strategy generates very poor results. See the video for the data behind the replication of past performance.
I love the quote of former US President Calvin Coolidge: "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent". This is so true in all areas of life - relationships, careers, education and I'd submit especially true for investing.
I recently met with a couple who despite modest earnings over the course of their careers had a couple million dollars to retire on and a paid-off home. My comment: "you slayed the retirement dragon twenty years ago!" Why? Persistence!
Behavior is the ultimate arbiter of investor returns. Persistence sometimes means patiently waiting for a discipline to work. Markets don't always reward discipline over short periods of time but patient, diversified investors are eventually rewarded for taking prudent, educated risks while confidently living their lives instead of watching CNBC daily for results. Meanwhile, those who are so impatient as to chase past performance get far worse returns over time and experience daily angst by constantly comparing their results on a daily, weekly or even annual basis of what they "could have owned".