In 2010, a small brass key supposed to have been on board the Titanic sold at auction for $137,000. Why? Because many people believe the key could have saved the ship from sinking.
David Blair was a merchant seaman on the Titanic before her maiden voyage. He participated in the sea trials as 2nd officer, but, as fate would have it, he was replaced before the voyage began. His replacement was a more experienced sailor, but it wouldn’t be enough to save the ship.
When he left the ship, Mr. Blair unknowingly took the key with him. The key is for a locker, an innocuous cabinet of supplies, but the entire ship’s safety is in jeopardy by it. Two sailors were standing watch on the night of the sinking, looking for icebergs, without their binoculars. Binoculars that so happen to have been located in the locker to which Mr. Blair’s key belonged.
Whether the binoculars are the key to the Titanic’s sinking is debatable. After all, if the binoculars were so important, why didn’t the sailors break into the locker or find a pair elsewhere? Several other important events led to the ship’s demise, and many could have been avoided. Perhaps, the most significant is the captain’s decision to run at high speed at night while in iceberg-infested waters.
The takeaway for investors is that you need to take responsibility for your investment decisions. If you can’t do that, you won’t learn from your mistakes, and you won’t become a better investor. You will lose more money, making the same mistakes over and over again. You are the captain of your own destiny. Don’t blame your mistakes on a pair of binoculars.