Driving to and from London is quite boring. Even though the journey only takes about an hour, the monotony of unchanging scenes along the motorway can get quite tedious. Listening to the ipod and radio helps, but it’s still all too easy to drift off in to a driving daydream.
Driving home from London last night, I turned up the radio and opened the window so the cold air and loud music would help keep me awake. Still my mind wondered off for a matter of seconds … just enough for me to miss my junction. Alas, the next junction is many miles away and my journey length and time was increased by more than half.
Two lessons from the road:
– It only takes a small slip-up to create big negative effects. Conversely, the road to success in many of life’s ventures seems to be more incremental. Think of the engineering behind cars, space shuttles etc. One small error can lead to total disaster, but for everything to work, so many things have to be ‘right’. A related pattern is the carry trade in the currency market, where returns are incremental as the high yielding currencies slowly appreciate, but when we witness episodes of carry trade unwinding, things are not nearly as orderly.
– Missing my junction would be less of a problem if I was less tired and fatigued, because I would feel less downhearted at having to do the additional driving. However, it is when we have energy and are wide awake that we are least likely to miss our junctions, and we are more likely to miss them when we least want to. This reminds me of insurance not working when it comes to claiming, of correlations heading to one in times of crisis, and of markets being flush with liquidity, only for it to dry up right when it counts.