This is a story from January 15, 2009. It’s not my story, but an inspiring one.
US Airways Flight 1549 on its way from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, struck a flock of birds shortly after take-off, losing all engine power.
Unable to reach any airport for an emergency landing due to their low altitude, pilots Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane in the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were rescued by nearby boats, with only a few serious injuries.
This water landing of a powerless jetliner with no deaths became known as the Miracle on the Hudson.
You may have heard of this miracle, either when it happened in 2009, or through the movie ‘Sully’ that released in 2016.
I had faint idea of the actual incident in 2009, for a lot of other incidents were happening around me then. I was working on a stock market job, and this was January 2009, and the financial markets were at their bottom. I had seen a lot of people around me lose their jobs, and I was trying to keep mine.
Anyways, the reason I got back memories of the Miracle on the Hudson was because I recently watched the movie ‘Sully’ that captured the incident and what went on inside Sully’s mind when he decided and then did the unimaginable.
One of my favourite scenes from the movie emphasizes the critical importance of keeping sight of your most important priority, or whatever it is that drives you in life.
At the completion of one of his lessons, the instructor L. T. Cook, a Civilian Pilot Training Program instructor during World War II, tells the teenaged Sully, “A pilot never stops acquiring knowledge. You’ll make mistakes, everyone does. Just learn from them.”
The young Sully replies, “Yes, sir.”
The instructor then says, “And never forget, no matter what’s happening, to fly the airplane.”
Now, that may have been a passing statement for me on most occasions, but this time I caught on to it, rewound the scene couple of times to hear the instructor’s advice to Sully again, and again – “Never forget, no matter what’s happening, to fly the airplane.”
That one small statement contained such a powerful lesson on how I must live my life and conduct my affairs.
No matter what’s happening, I must fly ‘my airplane’ – walk on my chosen path with complete integrity, never deviating from what I stand for, very much like Sully did on that fateful day in 2009.
Well, Safal Niveshak completes 12 years today. The airplane on which I took off from the runway in 2011, is still flying, and flying well. Maybe because all I have focused over these years is to just fly my airplane, amidst all turbulence I have faced along the way.
A lot has happened in these 12 quick years. I’ve published more than 1,600 posts on the site. After adjusting for inactive readers, the Safal Niveshak tribe remains strong at 90,000 subscribers to the free newsletter – The Journal of Investing Wisdom.
Also, my book – The Sketchbook of Wisdom – which I self-published in 2021, sold its 5000th copy this year (get your copy here). The latest print contains an introduction from the legendary investor Arnold Van Den Berg.
The One Percent Show, which I launched in June 2021, has benefited from some amazing guests like Manish Chokhani, Prof. Sanjay Bakshi, Arnold Van Den Berg, Guy Spier, Mohnish Pabrai, Morgan Housel, and William Green, among many others.
Safal Niveshak has been a one-person, self-funded initiative, and I expect to keep it this way. I have always kept the site and my work clean of advertisers and sponsors – how much ever they’ve offered to pay me – and I would continue it that way. So, you can expect my work to continue to remain unbiased and honest.
For me, true freedom has never lied in the liberty to do whatever I want, but in the liberty to not do what I do not want. Looking back at these 12 years, I am proud of holding on strong to that idea.
Finally, I must thank you, dear reader, for reading, for commenting, for your interest and support, for helping this entire movement of creating wiser investors become greater and spread wider.
You are magnificent, and I am supremely grateful for your time and attention.
Just in case Safal Niveshak has touched your life, I would be happy and honoured to read your thoughts in the Comments section of this post.
Thanks again for being here and supplying the fuel of motivation to help me fly my airplane. I seem to have come a long way, but like Robert Frost wrote in his beautiful poem –
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
With respect, Vishal
P.S. In the movie ‘Sully’, on the phone with his wife Lorraine, Sully appears to question his decision to land the plane in the Hudson, but then says, “I want you to know, I did the best I could.”
I also want you to know, dear reader, over these 12 years, I did the best I could.