When The Low Hanging Fruit is Gone

** Have you gotten a copy of my new book yet?: I Wish I Had Known: A Former Student’s Guide to University and College You can read about it here:https://blairlivingston.wordpress.com/my-book/ **

The financial industry is changing and, like any other business, continues to change. Businesses that have been generating the bulk of profits over the last 50 years have had their margins compressed so thin that they are barely visible. On the other side of this phenomenon, business units that didn’t even exist 10 years ago are now some of the most profitable on all of Wall Street.

When I started in finance, I heard the idea that the low hanging fruit on Wall Street was gone – and to this date I couldn’t agree more. Over the last 50 years, the story of fruit laden trees has attracted numerous fortune seekers to the financial arena. All these travellers piled into the same orchard, and their sheer numbers picked the trees bare.

However, what these fortune seekers failed to notice was that there was thriving orchards right next door. It’s the age old story of life: whenever something is dying, something new is being born. In a neighbouring orchard, what started as just a couple shrubs quickly grew into a couple trees. As people continued to ignore this new and thriving resource, those few trees grew into many trees, and those many trees have been bearing bountiful fruit, so much so that in some circumstances it is literally lying on the ground – all you need to do is walk over and pick it up.

For the lucky few that went looking for a new orchard, or just decided the current scenario was too crowded, they had the good fortune of stumbling upon a proverbial Garden of Eden. The new area was void of competitors, bountiful in resources, and relatively untouched.

Paradise cannot be sustained indefinitely however, and neither can a pristine orchard of opportunity. As time goes on, other people will walk by and notice the new thriving property. They will hear the stories of abundance, and they will be lured in by the promise of low hanging fruit. Over time, this new orchard will become equally well picked, and the time again will come for a brave few to search out new fields of opportunity.

Why Does It Matter To You?

Joe Kennedy decided to sell his entire stock position in 1929 because a shoe-shine boy started giving him investment advice. His logic? If the shoe-shine boy is already in on the rush, who else is left to buy.

This example can be applied to any job, and any industry; universally, one thing is always certain: the most important, profitable, lucrative, and engaging areas of any field will constantly change. Whether its finance, education, or art, the methods of production, delivery, and communication will always be changing, and with that change new opportunities will rise out of the ashes of previous results.

When someone tells you about the next-big-thing, the highest paying job, or careers that have been a cash cow for the last fifty years, take it with a grain of salt – the past is not always a strong indicator of the future. Many a young adult has chased the dreams of the past generation, only to find out that the dream is not quite everything it was promised to be.

As we take our journey through life, we must decide which orchard to stop in at. We can listen to others, but when everyone is bee-lining for a single location, it sometimes pays to take the road less travelled by.

However, just as certain areas become overcrowded and commoditized, new areas of opportunity and abundance are always growing around us. You need to question the status quo, look for opportunity, and explore widely accepted assumptions. Sometimes it pays off to leave the area you know in search of new lands.

And after what might end up being a long walk, when you stumble upon an undiscovered orchard, you can bet the ‘fruits’ of your labor will taste that much sweeter.

Blair Livingston


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