That's a picture of Calvin. He looks like he's deeply contemplating the state of the world or, at least, the state of his life. Actually, I'm extremely confident that very few neurons are firing. Calvin is one of nine dogs that have taken up residency in my house. There are also two bonded pairs of rabbits at the homestead. Each pair has its own room. I like animals. I don't like people (then again, people don't like me).
Calvin, like our other pets, is a rescue. Supposedly, he's a Cavalier King Charles spaniel-supposedly. I generously refer to Calvin as Stupid (with a capital "S.") My wife corrects me, pointing out that I'm stupid (lower case "s" because she loves me) and Calvin has issues. As always, my wife is correct. Still, one of Calvin's issues is that he's Stupid (capital "S.")
Calvin had patella surgery so he could bend his knees when he walks. But many years later he doesn't know he can walk by bending his knees. It's taken Calvin only six years to learn how to bark and now he barks completely randomly. If Calvin is facing a wall, he thinks he's surrounded and will not move. There's a dog intelligence test and Calvin rates a solid "deficient."
However, by understanding Calvin, you can become a better professional and possibly relax as you seek to make a living.
In all aspects and facets of your life, I'm confident you experience what I'd call Calvin Moments. These are those special times when the people you're dealing with are unquestionably and irrefutably being Stupid. For example, my wife regularly points out my Calvin Moments, such as when she purchases yet another pair of Manolos and I ask her why.
Watching professionals in action, it's amazingly easy to see the flood of Calvin Moments, such as the advisor who wouldn't work with a wealthy client because he reminded him of Jed Clampett (see "The Idiot Advisor," Private Wealth, November/December 2010). There are so many times professionals act in ways that have anyone with a little knowledge-just a little-shaking their heads in bewilderment. For example, one insurance agent has a great sales strategy for variable life insurance: He suggests to wealthy prospects that, with their investment in top-rated mutual funds, they get a free physical.
Then there's the advisor who "unwound" a charitable remainder trust. The client placed millions of dollars in appreciated real estate into the trust. He took the deduction, avoided the capital gains and was receiving a substantial income stream. After a number of years, the client explained that he wanted the money back to invest in more real estate. The advisor said OK and employed an "ingenious strategy" to return the money to the client: He went to the bank that held the funds, closed the account and transferred the monies to the client. Because of the quick actions of other professionals working with this client, the situation was expeditiously rectified. The advisor still does not understand what he did wrong. Apparently, he has a lot of problems with the word "irrevocable."
To be clear, these professionals are not trying to be devious, slick or clever. They're just being Stupid. I'm sure that you can identify more than a few Calvin Moments among your peers (not yourself of course, just your peers).
Many years ago, dealing with professionals who tried to out-Calvin one another would drive me up a wall. Then Calvin came along and taught me a wonderful life lesson. Now I no longer let these professional acts of stupidity bother me. Instead, I expect them. I recommend you do the same.
According to my wife, the fact that it took me so long to recognize Calvin Moments is just another example of one of my Calvin Moments. And we all know she's always correct.