Miss Universe and Why Owning Up to Your Mistakes Can Make You a Better Investor


Beauty pageants don’t usually teach us some really heavy life lessons. But this year, at the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant, the audience witnessed something extraordinary that kept people talking about the event long after it was over.

Miss Universe has been running since 1952 as one of the most popular beauty pageants held internationally each year. Donald Trump used to co-own the Miss Universe Organization with NBC. However early this year, NBC boycotted the pageant after Donald Trump made some inflammatory statements about illegal aliens from Mexico. Trump bought the entire stock of Miss Universe Organization and later on sold it to WWE/IMG. Although not as popular in most western countries, the Miss Universe Pageant is a big affair for third world countries like Colombia and the Philippines.

So what was so special about this year’s Miss Universe? Well after the contestants were finally whittled down to two – Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines – the host, Steve Harvey, was supposed to finally announce the winner. But of all the horrible mistakes one can make, Steve Hervey, announced the wrong winner. So here was Miss Colombia, the Miss Universe sash and crown upon her, tears of joy streaming down her eyes, taking her first walk as Miss Universe 2015, waving to the crowd and the crowd going wild. In South America, the Colombians are already shouting on the rooftops, lighting fireworks and cheering for joy over their national victory.

Then, three minutes into all that, Steve Harvey goes back on the stage in Las Vegas and says to the entire audience that he made a terrible, terrible mistake. Miss Colombia was only the first runner up. Miss Philippines was actually the winner. The most awkward, unbelievable situation then befalls Miss Colombia. The crown had to be taken from her and transferred to Miss Philippines’ head. It was a live telecast via satellite so everything that went wrong was witnessed by the entire world, or should we say “universe.”

This is where the lesson comes in. Steve Harvey, as stupid as his mistake may have been, was a big man that night. It takes a big man to admit you’re wrong. And Steve Harvey did that in front of an arena, and the whole world for that, humiliating himself. When he admitted his mistake, he faced the possibility of ending his career, earning the ire of the world (particularly the Colombians), and hurting the feelings and embarrassing such a beautiful girl as Miss Colombia. He still did it though.

Are you like that when your investments go wrong? Different investors react in different ways when a stock they buy, for example, fails to perform as they expected. Some find it easier than others to admit that they made a mistake. The wise investors cut their losses ruthlessly, regardless of the initial pain. It hurts a lot when a paper loss becomes a realized loss. But after that, there’s also a feeling of relief and release. Release from worrying about your investment and wondering whether your loss will get even bigger. These investor types know how to accept the truth and move on.

Some investor types, however, can’t seem to sell their losing stocks. Some seem to be “in love” with their investment, thinking that they made the right analysis and chose the best – regardless of actual performance. They continue hoping that the price will rise in the end. Days turn into years and the investment stays stuck in their portfolio. These investors continue to deceive themselves and refuse to face the truth.

When Steve Harvey was going back up on stage to rectify his mistake, he seemed to walk around in a circle at first. He looked awfully nervous and hesitant, like he was trying to force himself to do something he found humiliating. But he still did it, however painful it was for him and everyone else. After he made the truth clear, and righted what he did wrong, there seemed to be an expression of relief that washed over his face. He got it over with. He did what he had to do.

Sensing that the audience was still confused and in shock, especially Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines, Steve Harvey even went further to tell the crowd that he was taking full responsibility for the awful thing that took place. That’s a brave man.

As investors, we also need to take full responsibility for our investment decisions. Don’t blame the underwriter or the research analyst or Vladimir Putin. Own up to your investment mistakes and learn from them. That’s the only way you can move on and shift to a better investment that might even help offset your losses. Win some, lose some. Cutting a loss means admitting you were wrong and owning up to your mistake.