I was never fond of history in school. I am, now.
The difference, as I realize, has occurred due to the way the subject was taught to me in school and the way I have come to look at it over the past few years.
What I was taught in school were the details – British Rule, French Revolution, World Wars, etc. – and the rote learning that had to accompany it.
What I now love about the subject is simply the concept of it, how we have come to be since humans first walked the Earth, how our thinking has evolved, and how some things have not changed at all.
About this last point, I believe there are two things that have stood the test of time, and that apply to everything we do in life, investing, work, everywhere –
- We have much less control over the future than we hope, and that it will always surprise us (surprisingly!). We can’t control what would happen to us or our investment portfolios, we can’t control what people around us would say or do, and we can’t even fully control our own bodies, which would get damaged and sick and ultimately die without regard for our preferences. In fact, much of our unhappiness is caused by thinking that we can control things like these that, in fact, we can’t.
- We have far more ability to make an impact than we expect. And this ability is more important than we can imagine. All it requires for us is to be learning and adapting machines, be sensible in our decision making, keep things simple, and trust the role of sincere hard work. Some people are aware of it; most are not. Frankly, it is easier to sit on the sidelines and whine about the stuff we can’t control (like stock prices) than to own up to what we do control (like our process of investing).
In short, while we can’t control the future, we can be courageous enough to jump into life with both feet and take responsibility for how we would like to mold it (without trying to control it), and how we would react to what happens to us on the way.
No success guarantees here, but history proves that’s how the world has always worked.
Mohit Dujari says
Short but to the point note written by you.
However the history is taking a bit too long to repeat itself.
I analysed that major setbacks in the market have happened with 8-10 years gap panning from 1991 the year i was born.
Since 2008, we have not seen major setback on the indices but the real portfolio remains lull and in red. Should one consider that to be set back and start investing or is there some major headwins coming up as can be seen from the slowing down of the economy, primarily in the NBFC, consumption and auto segments.
Lastly want to know your views on Tata motors which was once part of your portfolio. Only our views and analysis with 5-10 years timeline as i am not looking for any recommendations and i know you wont recommend anything but surely Teach and help.
Acs Mohit Dujari
B.com (H), CS, LLB (H)
Anand Kumar says
your article came after a long gap. What i liked about your writing is its simplicity, short and precision.
Crisp , as usual .
This view of History also resonates with me – the evolution of beings & no-life systems which occupy the surroundings today can be deep dived to extrapolate the future ……… Surprisingly, with both certainty & uncertainty.
Everything that is happening is just a different version of a past occurrence – only the impact & intensity changes !!!!!
The subject was surely never served in schools as a (hi)STORY …..wish it is by the Academicians .
Absolutely true we cannot control the future ( where the stock goes) but if we analyse a stock diligently and then invest we will have confidence in our decisions
Jai Parkash says
Nice, it is just like remembering old days, even I also did not like history on those days. But now realizing this is important connect, its your way to open up new dimension on any subject for simplicity.
“The Lessons of History” by Ariel Durant is one of the best books on history. The authors are husband and wife, who have read through last 1000 years of history and neatly summarized it in about 170 pages. Each page is a treasure trove.
G. Nadaradjane says
I try to read ur articles regularly.
Thanks to you for taking efforts to guide people like us in investing as well as leading a peaceful life.
Though I am 62 now, I still feel that there are many things to learn from you.
God bless you and your good work.
sofia shriki says
Thank You for taking the time and writing this post. Great help for me!
Zeenat Alvi says
Loved your post.
Get a feel of Epictetus here
Keshvi Jha says
This was really nice. Crisp and to the point. Keep sharing.
Zeenat Alvi says
your article is nice
Ambar M says
Well said sir, Those who fail to read the history are bound to suffer the repetitions of its mistakes
thank you for writing this post.Great help for me!