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Poke the Box: Sit Tight and Live Wide

Let’s Start with Safal Niveshak
Just in case you missed any of this on Safal Niveshak over the last few days and weeks…

  • Safal Niveshak got featured among worthwhile value investing blogs to read at Graham & Doddsville and Old School Value. Feel happy and motivated!
  • I recently interviewed PV Subramanyam aka Subramoney who dispelled some great yet simple ideas on wealth creation. Read the complete interview here.
  • I met one of the happiest persons on the planet recently. You’ll be amazed at what keeps him happy. Read here.
  • I turned thirty-six recently. Here are 36 invaluable lessons I learned over these years, which may serve as a helpful guide for those just starting out.
  • There are several timeless lessons you can learn on life and investing from Guy Spier’s Education of a Value Investor. Read five of them.
  • Two of the world’s geniuses – Stanley Druckenmiller and Isaac Newton – have some lessons to teach us on why we must not speculate, especially during bull markets. Read here.

Book Worm
I have been reading Edwin Lefèvre Reminiscences of a Stock Operator over the past few days. It’s a brilliant first-person account of the career of “Lawrence Livingston”, who is a slightly fictionalized version of Jesse Livermore, one of the greatest stock speculators of all times.

Here is a brilliant excerpt from the book that is invaluable for anyone still doubtful about the benefits of long-term investing…

After spending many years in Wall Street and after making and losing millions of dollars I want to tell you this: It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight!

It is no trick at all to be right on the market. You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears in bear markets. I’ve known many men who were right at exactly the right time, and began buying or selling stocks when prices were at the very level which should show the greatest profit. And their experience invariably matched mine – that is, they made no real money out of it.

Men who can both be right and sit tight are uncommon. I found it one of the hardest things to learn.

…a man may see straight and clearly and yet become impatient or doubtful when the market takes its time about doing as he figured it must do. That is why so many men in Wall Street, who are not at all in the sucker class, not even in the third grade, nevertheless lose money.

The market does not beat them. They beat themselves, because though they have brains they cannot sit tight.

Pascal said that all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone. It’s so true!

Just sit tight. Don’t do anything and don’t play around with your stocks. That way, you’ll not just cut out stress from your investing process, but be better off at the end of it.

Stimulate Your Mind
Here’s some amazing content I read in recent times…

  • My friend and long time tribe member Jana Vembunarayanan has written a wonderful post on the power of habit. Read this post, and subscribe to Jana’s blog. You’ll thank me in the future!
  • Prof. Sanjay Bakshi has nicely and simply explained why commodities are difficult businesses to understand and invest in. Read here. Also watch the video he shared of a lecture of Amit Wadhwaney at MDI Gurgaon.
  • Saying ‘no’ to a lot of things is a hallmark of a sensible investor. Farnam Street writes of eight ways you can say ‘no’ with grace.
  • An interesting article on the Indian automobile industry and how it is blind, ethically.
  • Getting rejected by Harvard was the most pivotal moment of the life of Warren Buffett. Read here why.
  • How do you adapt value investing to the Indian environment? Some nice perspectives here.
  • Joel Greenblatt discusses his value investing formula – how to find inexpensive stocks that represent good values.
  • Do companies exist merely to generate economic returns to their owners, the shareholders? James Montier of GMO suggests this is the world’s dumbest idea.
Poke of the Week – Live Wide Rather Than Long

As we coast through our lives day after day, being extremely busy at our obligations, we are absent from our selves. The idea for most of us is to do than to be. And thus, life seems short because we all have so much to do.

But then, “Life is long,” wrote the Roman philosopher Seneca, “…if you know how to use it.”

In his brilliant treatise written 2,000 years ago, Seneca wrote…

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.

So, while there’s a huge mass of time ahead of us, it passes much faster than we think. Our kids grow up fast. We get gray hairs before we’re done getting our bearings on life.

It’s so ironical that it often takes us a lifetime to learn to live in the moment…to just ‘be’ in the moment.

We seem to think that we’ll live forever. We spend time and money as though we’ll always be here. We buy stuff as though it matters and is worth the debt and stress of attachment.

We put off “living happily ever after” for another year, because we assume we have another year. We don’t tell the ones we love how much we love them often enough because we assume there’s always tomorrow.

But then, Seneca writes…

No one will bring back the years; no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take, and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly. It will not lengthen itself for a king’s command or a people’s favor. As it started out on its first day, so it will run on, nowhere pausing or turning aside. What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.

Stop being so busy, I must request you here. You won’t get this life again. Try to spend some time with yourself and your loved ones.

Do less, be more. That’s a great process to be happy, and that’s the only way you can live wide.

Keep poking.

Sit tight on your stocks.

Don’t do much, just be.

Aim to live wide, not long.

Be kind to others, and to yourself.

With respect,
Vishal Khandelwal
Chief Poker – Poke the Box

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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. Reminds me of an interesting take somebody had on passage of time – As you grow older, the time seems to speed up. So an year appears shorter to a 40 year old as compared to a 20 year old. The logic is convincing since as you grow older and accumulate more and more years of “having lived”, a single year represents smaller and smaller percentage of your age. A human mind cannot comprehend things in absolute measure so it tries to evaluate the value of every thing in comparison to something else (his memory of past years).

    Daniel Kahneman says that it’s not the experience but the memory of experience which gives us more happiness. So experiencing a blissful moment makes you happy in that moment, but capturing that moment in the memory and then reliving it often increases the quality of your other moments also. So smell the roses but don’t forget the scent !

  2. Hello sir,

    I have been reading your articles since a long time now. While I do look forward to reading your articles, over the last 2 years I have realized that a lot of your articles add more of sentimental, life-guiding thoughts to my knowledge kitty but not so much on actual factual financial know-how and actionable financial ideas. Overall, it seems more like I am reading an aastha-financial channel.

    My mind tells me that the reason why you might not be putting up actionable ideas on value investing here as you might want to reserve the content for your paid courses which is fair. But it would be great if you could put that out in the open as a disclaimer then it would be great for some people like me who have been reading your articles for over 2 years and basically accumulated a lot of ‘life-gyan’ but very little to negligible actionable ideas.

    And since you are in a habit of rejecting any and all criticisms, let me clarify that I am not asking you to give stock tips. All I am asking is that you put up a series on how to find good picks based on value investing tenets. Or simple explaining different financial terms/ratios. But even while I write this, I am certain that what I am asking you to do is like asking a horse to befriend its fodder.

    Nevertheless, if this comment does make it through your comment audit then you shall ridicule it like any and all other folks who speak anything other than what you want to hear, I thought I will give it a shot anyway.

    Regards!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Good to know that you have been reading my articles for the last two years without ever being a subscriber to my posts (at least my email service provider tells me that) 😉

      Anyways, here are my responses to your points…

      …over the last 2 years I have realized that a lot of your articles add more of sentimental, life-guiding thoughts to my knowledge kitty but not so much on actual factual financial know-how and actionable financial ideas. Overall, it seems more like I am reading an aastha-financial channel.

      I try to write a mix of stock investing, behaviour, money, and life related stuff that I believe will benefit a wide range of readers. So it may be possible that if you are looking for just one variety of articles, you may be disappointed at times. But if you really read the archives, I have written a lot of investing concepts related stuff that may have benefited you over the past two years.

      My mind tells me that the reason why you might not be putting up actionable ideas on value investing here as you might want to reserve the content for your paid courses which is fair. But it would be great if you could put that out in the open as a disclaimer then it would be great for some people like me who have been reading your articles for over 2 years and basically accumulated a lot of ‘life-gyan’ but very little to negligible actionable ideas.

      First I put disclaimers for things I write, not for things I don’t write. Secondly, if you mean “stock analysis reports” when you say “actionable ideas”, I have stopped writing the same because of a SEBI regulation that requires me to register with them before writing on companies etc.

      And since you are in a habit of rejecting any and all criticisms…

      That seems to be a figment of your imaginations, as I accept all kind of criticisms. It’s only that I cut out people who tend to get into inappropriate arguments based on their own thoughts/imaginations. I’ve so much of work to do for other readers, you see. 🙂

      …if this comment does make it through your comment audit then you shall ridicule it like any and all other folks who speak anything other than what you want to hear, I thought I will give it a shot anyway.

      Like I approved your comment, I approve all such comments and try to reply to them (at least once).

      Hope this helps.

      • Vishal,

        RSS feeds is the reason why I am not registered – saves my email a lot of clutter (and advertisement).

        And no I was not talking about analysis – Was just asking if you could write an article on ‘how to get started’ for a beginner – and perhaps what folks with some more experience in value investing could do to increase their knowledge further – for example – Beginners could read the following books in such and such an order – read these articles from such and such blogs/websites/SN .. understand following ratios/terms in value investing – something like a basic hand holding – and in the end you could obviously write that to learn all this faster please join master mind! 🙂

  3. Dear Vishal,

    thanks for giving us this opportunity. I would request you to cover a topic on Financial analysis like how to value a company based on EV or market cap etc.

    Thanks

    Prashant

  4. Arpan Arora says:

    Hello Vishal Sir
    I m from India a commerce graduate (B.com n i m looking frwrd to be in stock market as a securities analyst ) i read few of ur articles and i liked it , i was wondering if a person of ur experience (and in the same field ) could guide me how n wat course should i pursue bcoz im kind of perplexed (As nothing happens by chance which i believe n ders a reason behind every act .. so if i ave found ur page i guess der must be a reason so pls be kind and share ur knowledge and help me .) any advice /suggestions and feedbacks will be valued and highly appreciated .

  5. Kiran Kumar says:

    The concepts discussed here are good enough for anyone with little education and understanding to practice investing in stocks. People asking for the method simply fail to understand that there is no fixed formula or rule to evaluate good stock picks. Having said that anyone can invest in bluechip companies for long term (>10y) and almost certainly make good returns, but 99.9% of people come looking for ways to get rich in 3-5 years. See the mindset- they equate investing in market to lottery and want to know the winning number, so foolish and ignorant.

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