“What is Dev Anand doing on a website dedicated to stock market investing?” you might be thinking. “Agreed, people are remembering the most romantic hero of Indian cinema after his demise, but still, what lessons can an investor take from him?”
See, it is human nature to overlook the importance of those who are here and now. Those who are great and live among us seem more normal because they’re breathing the same air that we are.
But we realize the greatness of such people only when they are gone. Like now, when Dev Anand is no longer with us, I realize some important life lessons that he epitomized.
So, I’ll pause today and remind myself of the 3 important lessons I, as an investor, can take from the legend that was Dev Saab.
Lesson #1: Never fear failure
In the later part of his career, Dev Anand directed 19 films and produced 31 films, a majority of which did no wonders at the box office.
But these failures say a lot about his never-say-die attitude, and his willingness to carry on in the face of adversity and criticism.
It seemed every time one of his movies flopped, he picked up the lost pieces and got back to work on the next venture, and with complete passion.
Over the past nine years of my investing life, I have rather frequently – and on occasion, quite spectacularly – failed. But that is something I’ve always expected to happen.
No one really knows what is going to happen in the future. This is especially true when it comes to the stock markets. So why pretend otherwise?
I believe if you really want to succeed as an investor, first expect to fail…expect to be wrong. And then, when you really go wrong, don’t waste time laying the blame on others.
Instead, collect the broken pieces, fix them, and start investing again – with your mistakes not behind you, but right beside you as hard lessons you’ve learnt on investing.
Lesson #2: Be fiercely independent
Dev Anand was the ultimate style icon of Hindi cinema. He was free India’s first super star who cast his magic spell on multiple generations.
But behind his romantic demeanor, this man was fiercely independent and fearless in his views and ways of living life.
He was the first one from the film Industry to come out against the Emergency imposed in the late 1970s by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.
He actively campaigned against her with his supporters in Indian parliamentary elections in 1977, and also formed a party called the National Party of India, which he later disbanded.
He also stood by his friend Kishore Kumar when his songs were banned on the All India Radio.
Independence of thought is an important character trait of an investor as well.
Independent thought is not popular, but it is absolutely priceless and effective when you are investing in the stock markets.
However, nothing you read about in the papers or see on business channels is independent. This is a tragedy, because independent thought is essential for your progress as an investor.
The reason is simple – when we think like everyone else is thinking, the best we can expect is to achieve what they’re already achieving.
If your aim is to earn better returns than other investors over the long term, you need to avoid getting influenced by what others are saying, and instead think independently.
In simple words, if you want to win the investing game, you can’t be running a rat race. This is because the biggest problem with a rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat.
Lesson #3: Be amazingly passionate
Dev Saab’s passion for work was amazing.
He loved his work so much that he was still working at the age of 88, and with high levels of energy and zest. When asked, he said that he got the energy from his work.
When you are creative, the mind has to be strong. It’s the mind that is expected to take the body along.
This also holds true for investing.
You have to figure out whether you are passionate about speculation, or whether investing for the long term is what drives you. This is because if you go against your passions, your actions will be lifeless and you will always be on the lookout for people to blame for your own mistakes.
If you are passionate about investing for the long term, you’ll never have to stress about the daily movement in stock prices. You’ll just get up every day and have a lot of fun with investing, whatever the markets are doing.
Also, only when you are passionate about investing will you be willing to do the hard work that is required to become an independent and successful investor.
Thank you, Dev Saab!
“India’s Youngest Star Dies at 88,” headlined The Times of India.
To my mind, Dev Anand will always be the eternally romantic hero courting his lady love with the most melodious songs ever heard on screen.
And his lessons on life (and on investing) will always stand by me.
What about you?