Mastermind 17th Batch Admission Ends Today!
It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. – Charles Darwin
The thing that separates us humans from other animals is that we constantly change into new forms, new avatars. We are sad, we are happy, we are emotional, and we are angry. We communicate through different languages, we do different kinds of work, and we deal with different kind of people differently. Effectively, we keep on changing ourselves as per the demands of time and situation.
In fact, success in life depends largely on whether we are able to change ourselves with changing times.
If we are flexible and formless – like water – taking the form of whatever is around us, we gain power and succeed against those who rigidly hold on to their ground.
Despite this, when it comes to our ideas – especially when we have only one – we rigidly hold on to them.
This is very much like Henry Ford who supposedly said, “People can have the Model T in any colour – so long as it’s black.” This nearly ruined Ford Motors Company in the 1920s, because while Mr. Ford was in love with his idea of “only black Model T” cars, Americans were shifting to bigger, faster, fancier, and brightly painted automobiles.
Or very much like the old “me” who would often not change views on stocks even when circumstances changed, and paid heavy prices.
I see investors fall in love with their stocks in the garb of ‘buy and hold’. We will hold on to bad businesses, and especially those that are going downhill. We will remain stuck in a status quo mode because we hate to admit we have lost money. We will even put a higher value on the stocks we already own than we would be willing to pay for the same things if we didn’t own them. All this because we are too rigid to change our ideas, even when circumstances are shouting at us to do so.
If you have been through such a moment in your own life (or investing life), you would like to hear what Bruce Lee, who died 50 years ago, today, advised –
Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or creep or drip or crash. Be water, my friend.
Haruki Murakami wrote this in Kafka On The Shore –
Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
Problems arise all the time in life and in investing, and you can try to keep your rigid shape, smashing into the problems until you break. Or you can be like water and slip through the cracks.
Charlie Munger said –
The game of life is the game of everlasting learning. At least it is if you want to win.
In fact, a few of life’s great pleasures are to keep learning, letting go of previously cherished ideas, and emptying your mind for new ideas to come in. Then you’re free to look for new ones.
Be formless. Be adaptable. Be open to new ideas. Like water.
It’s indeed a pleasure to be water, my friend.
That’s about it from me for today.
Mastermind 17th Batch Admission Ends Today!