Roy Williams teaches grit.

Roy Williams – hall of fame UNC basketball coach – plays the long game.  From the perspective of a financial planner, there is a lot we can learn from Roy.

I am not a basketball expert.  Just a Canadian/American that has fallen in love with the game over the last 18 years.  Easy to do when you live in Chapel Hill.

From my observations, Roy has an overarching game plan he deploys in each game; he wants to run fast and hard with each possession.  I used to think he had superior athletes, and he wanted to push the kids on both teams to the edge of their ability.  Naturally, this would favor UNC if they have the best athletes.  I am pretty sure this is part of the plan.  However, I have come to believe there is much more at work here.

Simply put, the opposition team is not used to the Tarheel pace.  At first they keep up quite well, but by late in the 2nd half the payoff appears.  “We like to get into their legs” is an expression I have heard quite a few Tarheel players make.  The idea is that the opposition is tired by the end of the game…… shots start to fall short, speed will be diminished, and the Tarheels will start to surge at just the right time.  Serendipity?  No, a game plan that has been in place since the first tip-off.

You do this game after game, and your players learn not to panic if they create a couple of turnovers early in the game that let an opponent get on top.  They know they are setting themselves up for long-run success.  If you spend 4 years learning and believing in this system, you develop grit.  Big time.

Academics are now trying to identify individuals that display grit, then chart their success later in life.  Make no mistake – grit is a key ingredient to life success just as it is in almost all sports.  Tarheels display grit game after game.  It is why many of us follow them with such passion.

What can an investor learn from all this grit talk?

#1, Play the long game.

#2, Display grit – do not get bothered by short-term disappointment.

It really is that simple.  Simple to strategize,  much harder to execute.  Play the long game, ignore short-term market fluctuations.  You may not look brilliant at a given moment, but you are setting yourself up to be a consistent winner – just like Roy and the Tarheels.