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It Will Never Happen to Me!

Sitting in a Kolkata hospital lobby while getting my father treated for a heart ailment, I see this wall hanging that says – “It will never happen to me!”


The pictures below this headline show how a person hurts his heart through stuff like…

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Poor eating habits
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress

…yet continues to think that a heart ailment will never happen to him.

It will happen to everyone around him, but not to him!

Such thinking is widely prevalent when it comes to deadly diseases, death, or even investing doom.

We all consider everyone else as vulnerable but ourselves as invincible. And this is the reason we continue to play with fire, whether it comes to our life, habits and investing.

Charlie Munger says…

A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid : early death, a bad marriage, etc.

Ironically, most of us while knowing what we must avoid for a healthy heart, long life, better relationships, and comfortable financial life, are mostly travelling on the path assuming others are going to die there, but we will survive.

This is sad, and dangerous! Why?

Because…

It happens, and often!
My father is as healthy a person as anyone can be – no alcohol consumption, no smoking, and he certainly does not have a sedentary lifestyle.

But he has still suffered a serious heart ailment, for which he is being treated now.

He was not “supposed” to have such a disease, but he still has it.

The situation seems under control as of now (keeping fingers crossed!), but his heart has surely taken a serious hit!

Anyways, over the past three days, I have seen several cases of people with heart problems who would have believed at some points in their lives that “it will never happen to me.”

Sadly, many people I see suffering here are in their 40s and 50s. Even sadly, most would have surely fallen to these ailments on account of the poor habits like the ones mentioned above.

But people don’t understand the base rates of living a dangerous lifestyle and then falling into a deadly health issue. It’s high, and increasing!

I am not in a situation to write further at this point of time but, dear tribesman, stuff happens!

Especially in life and also in investing, “It will never happen to me!” is a widely held but dangerous notion.

Surely take risks in life, but only ones that will not cause you a permanent loss.

I am not old enough to dole out advice on healthy living, but I know it surely helps.

I have reiterated it several times in the past, and would do it again today. Remember what Charlie Munger says…

All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.

You know where you are going to die – in life and investing – so please avoid going there.

Please!

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Hope your father Gets Well Soon 🙂

    Thanks for reminding me of the “It Will Never Happen to Me!” phobia.

  2. Best wishes to your respected father. Hope he recovers soon.

  3. Akhilesh Pathak says:

    Dear Vishal,

    May your father get well soon.

    “It will never happen to me” is the surest sign of overconfidence. Asn As we all know- Overconfidence is a bias in which you have more confidence than you should, given the facts, so it always pays to do the reality check rather than wait to see the reality which is seldom pleasant.

    It happened to my father also. He developed high diabetes even when he wakes up at 5.00 A.M, does yoga, no alcohol consumption and very little stress. Some things you can’t avoid ( hereditary) but you can always minimize the chances.

    Regards

  4. May your father recover quickly and be healthy and happy.
    “It cannot happen to me” and “I am not such a fool” are two widely prevalent notions.
    Just ask yourself for a moment “why can it not happen to me” and or “why am I not a such a fool” and I am sure you would be struggling for answers. You may not be a fool regarding certain aspects of life (lets say investing or managing money) but you could be totally ignorant of a subject like heart ailments or your relationship with say your wife !!
    We all seriously overestimate ourselves and “other experts” hugely.
    Beware of this inherent bias.

  5. praveen says:

    Hope your father recovers early.
    Best wishes from my side.

  6. Shamil Abdul Kader says:

    Hope your father recovers soon – Subhanallah (Glory to almighty Allah).

    I just came back from Apollo hospital and the rush in hospitals nowadays is astonishing. It is better to be proactive and take care of our health in whatever way we can. As you say, expect the unexpected always. As you have covered in an earlier article, the fact that Death can arrive at anytime for anyone makes life very fragile in nature.

  7. Amit Kumar says:

    Hey Vishal, my prayer goes for the speedy recovery of your father.
    And, I also appreciate your commitment to share your learning (both, on investing and personal behavioral related issues) with your fellow tribesman even at tough times. God bless !!!

  8. Amit Goyal says:

    Hi Vishal, I am a regular reader of your posts since the very beginning. I hope and wish your father a early recovery. After he is a little well and better than before, may I take the liberty to suggest that you should insist on him doing a few minutes of very light yoga exercises (Just basic breathing exercises) every single day. As your much more aware and well read than me, I Know that you are already aware about the tremendous health benefits of these holistic exercises. But well for you to convince your father will be another cup of tea !!! 😉

    Regards,

    Amit Goyal

Trackbacks

  1. […] my previous post, I wrote about the need to avoid the “it-will-never-happen-to-me” mentality when it comes to […]

  2. […] life and investing, “It will never happen to me!” is a widely held but dangerous notion. You must avoid it at all […]

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