EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I often refer to The FENG as a circle of friends. In a very real sense, the power of The FENG is our interconnectedness, and if that isn’t friendship I don’t know what is. Were it not a true fact that we have reduced 6 degrees of separation down to less than 3, networking within our little family wouldn’t be as much fun as it is. (I hate false facts, don’t you?)

Anyway, I don’t know how many of you remember “The Millionaire,” (I think it was on in the early 1960’s) but it was about a guy who was hired by someone very rich to give away checks for $1 million. You would think that would be easy, but you would be wrong.

Bestowing your friendship on others isn’t as easy as we would like to think it is.

The core reason is a corollary to the answer to why men don’t ask for directions at the gas station. Our innate pride in being able to do things on our own causes us at many inappropriate times to give off detectable signals to others of our reluctance to accept their advice — even before we have heard it.

The lawyers’ rule of never asking a question to which you don’t already know the answer is a good way for each of us to start the process of seeking the advice of others and appearing to be willing to accept it. Sad to say, however, that you will find yourself saying “Why didn’t I think of that?” And, meaning it a lot more than you thought you would.

The truth is, although we are logically thinking financial types who come to our ideas about the world the hard way – through careful and considered analysis – we don’t know everything. There are new ideas and new twists on old ideas just waiting for you to “ask a dumb question.”

In case you don’t know, asking for someone’s advice is the easiest way to make them into a friend. Consistent with the theme of the first “Godfather” movie, allowing yourself to be put in the debt of another is a great honor, and one you can pass to other people without spending any money. (A good thought for us tight fisted financial types!)

Knowing that you can offer advice to other members without them rejecting it out of hand is a real plus that will lower the hesitation of those contacting you and further our aims of building on the unique aspects of our already intricate web of friendships.

Open yourself up to acts of friendship. Sometimes they are as subtle as your signals that you don’t want any advice and don’t need any help.

Look for them. Welcome them. And, build on them. Let’s see if we can make being a friend a little easier, at least within our “little” family.

Regards, Matt

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