Passive, Active & Non-Passive

I was reading how Alphabet made an announcement to acquire FitBit today. In reading the VP’s blogpost on what they think would be a great union between the two companies (I for one am excited to see where FitBit can be even more useful with Google’s platforms), I was triggered by the words being active and what means for health and investing.

Being more active is what a lot of doctors tell us to do. Being more passive is sometimes what people tell us to do if you don’t know anything about investing and think that it’s just one long random walk. While that all may be true, we have come to use these terms with its connotations in health and wealth/investing and taken these terms for granted.

Active. Passive. Being Active. Being Passive.

Being active may mean you’re investing by buying/selling securities and in the case of health being active means you’re running or exercising regularly. Or at least that’s the connotation that I feel when someone tells me they are physically “active”.

But consider for a moment what it is to be non-passive. We have increasing evidence that any movement, even standing is better than sitting and so our Apple Watches and FitBits now tell us to stand when we sit for too long a period. Non-passive seems more interesting than being active; at least to me.

I’m going to start thinking of ways to be non-passive. Perhaps this is what Charlie Munger said to invert — always invert. There’s a famous story about Charlie Munger out there. He famously makes very few stock purchases (i.e. bets) but does so at the most opportune times. The story goes that he has spend decades reading Barrons and he was able to find one stock idea that made sense and that he purchased in droves.

To me that’s not active, that’s not passive. That’s non-passive.