Happy Guru Purnima 🙏

गुरु ब्रम्हा गुरु विष्णू गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा गुरु शाक्षात परब्रम्हा तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः

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The word ‘Guru’ is from Sanskrit, where ‘Gu’ means darkness and ‘Ru’ means dispeller.

The darkness here means the ignorance of illusion(maya) and only a realized master’s blessings can elevate such a soul to the supreme knowledge of self and god.

It is said that the guru appears when the shishya is ready. I do not know if I was or will ever be ready. However, I (completely and unconditionally) trust the guru’s appearance in their infinite compassion and wisdom to mean that I am ready.

Kabir Das, the great saint, mystic and poet of the 15th century placed Guru even above God in his Doha.

गुरु गोविन्द दोऊ खड़े, काके लागू पाय|

बलिहारी गुरु आपने, गोविन्द दियो बताय|

If Guru and Govind, are present before me, to whom shall I bow down first? Glory to the Guru since he showed me Govind.

India is the land of the Guru-Shishya parampara, where the teachers and students share a special and unique bond. Guru Purnima is a celebration of that bond.

It is also known as Vyasa Purnima in remembrance and gratitude to the greatest of sages Veda Vyasa, who wrote the Mahabharata and the Puranas and classified the Vedas into four categories.

On this auspicious day of Guru Purnima let us live in gratitude to all those who imparted knowledge in all aspects of life especially those who have blessed and guided us on our spiritual journey of self discovery, our parents, our teachers, mentors and colleagues.

I have been blessed with one such spiritual master who has been an embodiment of compassion, unconditional love, courage and an unshakable faith in god under the most difficult situations with a remarkable ability to treat one and all equally at all times.

Thank you Ma for your blessings, guidance and protection at all times.

Padapranams 🙏🙏🙏

Smart phone is the new stupidity box.

Truth when its not yours still remains untruth.

If Investing were a Game of Cricket

On an mundane weekend while I was flipping through TV channels I chanced upon some old cricket highlights followed by more business media noise. That’s when a quirky thought crossed my mind.

As I pursued this rabbit hole even further, I could see some parallels between the game of cricket and the world of Investing. This is by no means a perfectly rational analogy but a mere fun exercise in trying to recognize patterns and seek order in a world full of chaos and replete with randomness.

On the basis of ones time horizons the participants in the game of cricket or in the craft of investing can be split into three categories. Long (Test), medium (ODI) and short term (T20).

Just as there are three formats in the game of cricket, three types of men and women flock the world of investing.

Test Cricketers and Value Investors

These are folks who are a purists delight and epitomize excellence in their respective domains. They focus invariably on the process and believe that the results take care of themselves. Patience and perseverance are necessary ingredients in the making of a successful test cricket or value investing career. While the former credits his performance to technical proficiency and deliberate practice in the formative years the latter attribute their massive wealth creation to rigorous fundamental analysis and fortitude to go against the herd when required.

Both are perpetual learning machines and humble to a fault. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Every now and then you come across individuals who are cocky as hell and believe they know it all. Only to realize soon, how gravely wrong they were. Maybe there’s a reason why test cricket made Sir Don the game’s greatest and the value way made Warren one of history’s richest ever.

T20 Superstars and Day Traders (Dreamers)

This is the risk of the realm of the adrenaline junkies and the get rich quick seers of short cuts. Higher risk and lower room for error writ large in this unguarded adventure. While the former is all about sheer power and thrives on glitz & glamour, the latter counts on margin money to make them rich. While most aspiring T20 greats have their careers cut short by wrong technique and lack of discipline the speculators lose their shirt and throw-in the towel. Both are sore losers and blame the game and the markets for the disaster they brought upon themselves.

Heard of the likes of Lasith Malinga and Jesse Livermore? One lost his career while the other lost his fortune and tragically succumbed to suicide. Though on balance T20 has done more good to the game than trading has done to man’s mission for wealth creation.

Then comes the third category, which possibly includes some of us or so we hope.

The Moderates on the Middle Path

These are people who don’t fall into either of the extremes. While the players hang around for 8 hours to get a result, the investors (if you can call them that) pull the trigger sometime between three months to three years. These are people who are neither play with fire nor are boring to the bone. Both the length of the game and the investing horizon is temperamentally palatable for most people. But then the preferred duration for a game of cricket and the turn-around time for stocks are hitting new lows with each passing day.

Remember Michael Bevan? He was a quintessential ODIer. In investing, if you have held stocks, now’s the time to hold up a mirror:)

Forth and Final – The Rarest Breed

Then there is the rarest crop that harvests not too often in the history of any human endeavor. These are the true masters of the game endowed with an abundance of god-given talent coupled with an incredible work ethic which makes them truly great. Our very own Virat Kohli and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala are active specimens of this finest breed.

Everything makes sense on the time scale of eternity.

The missing piece in the myth of Icarus

We all know about the story of where Icarus’s father advised him not too fly too high as soon would then melt his wings of wax.

Because of his arrogance Icarus did fly too high, and he did die.

But the story is not over yet.

Icarus’s dad also told him not to fly too low or his weight would sink him in the sea.

This story is mostly used to instruct us to stop being arrogant but there are also times when one ought not to be too humble.

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

~Michelangelo

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

~Mahatma Gandhi.

To discover ones role in god’s creation and to work to fulfill it is indeed a blissful existence.

I think most people are good at more things than the world gives them opportunity to do.

~Ethan Hawke

Would you rather be lucky or skilled?

The more I practice, the luckier I get.

~Gary Player

How would you know if someone is successful because of skill or luck?

Depends on what’s the pursuit that we are trying to evaluate.

Most human endeavours lie somewhere on this luck vs. skill spectrum.

Some areas such as a casino or a Russian roulette are pure luck driven.

While others such as elite professional sport would skew more towards skill.

In investing (especially equity) most people who are successful in the long run, acknowledge some or in most cases a meaningful role of luck.

Charlie Munger opines that.

To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of undeserving people.

Naval Ravikant on the other 👏 talks about four kinds of luck.

  1. Blind luck – “dumb luck”
  2. Luck that comes to you through persistence – “fortune favors the bold”
  3. Spotted luck – “chance favors the prepared mind”
  4. Luck that finds you - luck by design - Destiny

Our normal tendency is to attribute our success to skill or effort and our failures to luck or karma or what have you…

Is there a way to tell?

Turns out, there is!

In fact, Michael Mauboussin in his excellent 📖 Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing digs deeper into this very question and provides some interesting answers.

If you would like to learn more before reading the book, here’s a talk he gave at Google elucidating some of the ideas in the 📖

One of the heuristics to determine if it is luck or skill that made someone successful is to see if you can fail on purpose.

If you can, then the role of skill is significant.

If you ask me, I would any day prefer to be lucky over skilled. As you would need some amount of luck even for the skill to play out as my wife rightly pointed out!

What about you? Would you rather be lucky or skilled?

Antifragile

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is an incredible intellectual.

A Lebanese born options trader, went on to become a professor and is also an amazing author of several entertaining and insightful 📚 centred around uncertainty.

Idiosyncratic, refreshing and honest.

One of my favourite 💡 of his is the idea of antifragile.

Simply put, it’s not something that just is resilient to or merely able to withstand disorder or chaos but on the contrary benefits from it and becomes better from it.

Imagine how being antifragile can help us in various walks of life, be it career, health, finance or just in terms of thinking and becoming a better human being.

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure , risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile.

Lets hear about it from Nassim himself.

Book Bytes - Seneca on the shortness of life

Finished reading: On the Shortness of Life by Seneca 📚

One of the most profound books ever! Also, one of the shortest. At around 11000 words, takes about a couple of hours or so to read.

This is one the those Antifragile books. One that has truly stood the test of time. Written 2 millenia ago by a roman stoic philosopher who’s life was indeed a tale worth telling.

Here are a few snippets from the book to read and reflect.

It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.


The part of life we really live is small. For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time.


So desirable a thing did leisure seem that he anticipated it in thought because he could not attain it in reality


There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living: there is nothing that is harder to learn


The fairest day in hapless mortals’ life Is ever first to flee.


I hear that one of these pampered people—provided that you can call it pampering to unlearn the habits of human life—when he had been lifted by hands from the bath and placed in his sedan-chair, said questioningly: “Am I now seated?


They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.


-Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Personally, I also feel it resonates closely with the perfect Yogic wisdom of revered scripture Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

If you read only one thing this weekend, let it be this great book!

Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece.

~Nadia Boulanger

#quotes

In a world of instant gratification, would we be willing to make art (or whatever is our path to greatness) in the dark for as long as one of the greatest ever did?

The Long Game Part 3: Painting in the Dark from Adam Westbrook on Vimeo.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.

~Bill Keane

Raindrop - Probably the best bookmark Manager Around

Every once in a while you come across a product or service that makes you jump in excitement!

Raindrop is quite frankly, one such product.

A bookmark manager par excellence. Awesome is an understatement.

A product so good that you want to use it, just for the sheer pleasure of it.

I’ve recommended it to family and friends and they’ve become fans too! Some of them did confess to me that its been a big life-saver and were grateful for sharing this tool.

Its available across operating systems and even browser extensions. Which can be especially handy to access specific links across work or personal machines or a laptop and a phone.

Raindrop is a wonderful tool for storing and organizing anything with a link. Web pages, videos, Stored docs or images or anything else.

You can create collections based on specific topics or even asset types.

Tags help you to further segregate and find content you want to refer back later on.

Its possible to share collections with others as well.

Latest update allows you to highlight content in your bookmarks.

Icing on the 🎂 it also features full text search.

Paid tier offers additional functionality including ability to take notes on your bookmarks, nested collections and larger cloud storage.

You can check it out at Raindrop

Please give it a try and feel free to share your experience in the comments.

Click to Subscribe for more such posts.

7 Lessons from Rocky Bhai (KGF-2)

Rocky Bhai and KGF chapter 2 is all the rage at the moment.

After all, he is the biggest national issue right now!

While its surely a treat for the 📽️ goers, here are a few things we can hope to learn from it.

  1. Greed is (not)good Though Rocky makes progress and also creates history, it doesn’t all end very well for him. Atleast not yet.

  2. Speed Matters The pace at which Rocky went gold digging 🤣 was (while greedy) an epitome of efficiency.

  3. Don’t talk, show the work Its not what he says(although he surely talks a good game too) but what he does that makes him a force of nature among friends and foes alike.

  4. Your word is everything When asked about his obsession and the reason for doing everything, he goes on to explain how much the promise he made to his dying mother mattered to him.

  5. Overcoming your fear is the ultimate test His courage gives people hope. Following his example they are not only willing to sacrifice their lives but are also prepared to kill for him.

  6. Powerful people make places powerful Most people are a product of their environment however a few who transcend it can shape the destiny of the time and space they power over.

  7. Nothing is greater than a mother’s ❤️

A mothers love and blessing is for sure the greatest thing in ones life.

All that he is, is because of her: - his courage - his respect for women - his extent of honoring his word

How remarkably well the movie captures this emotion, this experience is surely one of the 🗝️ reasons for its success.

This is also why KGF2 is not just a movie but a movement.

Rocky Bhai and KGF chapter 2 is all the rage at the moment. ​ After all, he is the biggest national issue right now! ​ While its surely a treat for the 📽️ goers, here are a few things we can hope to learn from it. ​

  1. Greed is (not)good Though Rocky makes progress and also creates history, it doesn’t all end very well for him. Atleast not yet. ​
  2. Speed Matters The pace at which Rocky went gold digging 🤣 was (while greedy) an epitome of efficiency. ​ ​
  3. Don’t talk, show the work Its not what he says(although he surely talks a good game too) but what he does that makes him a force of nature among friends and foes alike. ​ ​
  4. Your word is everything When asked about his obsession and the reason for doing everything, he goes on to explain how much the promise he made to his dying mother mattered to him. ​ ​
  5. Overcoming your fear is the ultimate test His courage gives people hope. Following his example they are not only willing to sacrifice their lives but are also prepared to kill for him. ​ ​
  6. Powerful people make places powerful Most people are a product of their environment however a few who transcend it can shape the destiny of the time and space they power over. ​ ​
  7. Nothing is greater than a mother’s ❤️ ​ A mothers love and blessing is for sure the greatest thing in ones life. ​ All that he is, is because of her:
    • his courage
    • his respect for women
    • his extent of honoring his word ​ ​ How remarkably well the movie captures this emotion, this experience is surely one of the 🗝️ reasons for its success. ​ This is also why KGF2 is not just a movie but a movement. ​

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by common sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”✨

– Dale Carnegie #quotes

If you stop learning, you stop living.