When I see people talking about their portfolios almost all the time, it sets me worrying. This is like body building – doing more workouts results in injury – and some injury could be dangerous. One needs to have a portfolio and a career – the career means some time when you are not fine tuning your portfolio – asset allocation, evaluating performance, asking people ‘what do you think of Colgate? is it over priced? or some shit like that.

Increasingly I find people on websites thinking that by tampering with the portfolio on an hourly basis, their yield will go up. For such people this story is likely to be useful.
The following story is either a part of Panchatantra tales, Buddhist tales or Jataka tales – frankly it does not matter. See how relevant it is in your own life.

When you invest money, you should stay a little away from it for a long time. When you are busy with your life elsewhere, your portfolio grows.

Long long ago…there was a Garden which was beautifully created by a very nice gardener. It was time for Diwali and he too wanted to go to see his wife and children who were staying far away. The owner of the garden told him – find somebody who will take care of the garden in your absence – and after that you are free to go.

He was very sad, but still wanted to go. When he was wondering what to do, he saw a bunch of monkeys who were living in the garden. The gardener wanted to celebrate the holiday, just like everybody else. So he decided to hand over his duties to the monkeys.

He went to the monkey king and said, “Oh king of monkeys, my honourable friend, would you do a little favour for me? I must be away for 2 weeks. Here in this lovely garden, there are plenty of fruits and berries and nuts to eat. You and your subjects may be my guests, and eat as much as you wish. In return, please water the young trees and plants while I’m gone.”

The monkey king replied, “Don’t worry about a thing, my friend! We will do a terrific job! Have a good time!”

The gardener showed the monkeys where the watering buckets were kept. Feeling confident, he left to celebrate the holiday.

The next day, the monkeys filled up the buckets, and began watering the young trees and plants. Then the king of the monkeys addressed them:

“My subjects, it is not good to waste water. Therefore, pull up each young tree or plant before watering. Inspect it to see how long the roots are. Then give more water to the ones with long roots, and less water to the ones with short roots. That way we will not waste water, and the gardener will be pleased!”

Without giving it any further thought, the obedient subjects followed their king’s orders.

When a wise man asked them what they were doing they replied as follows “We are watering the trees and plants, without wasting water! We were commanded to do so by our lord king.”

The man said, “If this is the wisdom of the wisest among you – the king – what are the rest of you like?

Intending to do a worthwhile deed, your foolishness turns it into disaster!”

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  1. Subra ji…it is really right story to point out on right Bullish time. People comes market for quick earning ( like Gambling) not for long term wealth creation ( atleast new comers), hence tampering.
    I also want to point out the article released in Nanayam Vikatan about the Systematic Investment of Rs 5000 per month in L& T shares from 2000 to till last month ( total 188 months, investment worth of 9Lakhs approx) leads to Total wealth of 7.5 Crores now. ( around 36 Laksh dividend and 7.2 Crores of Capital Appreciation). The calculation actually misses the free Ultra tech shares. so total Wealth is very big. Loved to read two times. But we cant see similar performance in next decade due to more competition in infra sector. what is your view on this?

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