When Taleb says we underplay the role of luck in our success what does he mean?

Well let me take my case – I guess 90% of my success is just sheer luck…let me enumerate the luck first…

  • Not To the Manor Born, but never had to think about money or worry about it
  • We had a car in 1963 which my Dad owned personally – not too many people can boast of that I guess
  • My Dad was CXO at his retirement, had a couple of cars, ….
  • He bought a house early on with some own money, and some co-operative bank loan – like most people his gen
  • We shifted from Matunga to Ghatkopar before I started schooling!
  • In Matunga it is likely that my family portfolio would have been in Indian Bank fixed deposits
  • I passed CA without wasting time
  • Never took up a job – dad had enough cash flow to see me through bad times, if any
  • Passed may accounting, secretarial exams – luck or skill no clue
  • Took to business in shares, and generally in finance
  • During bad times had cash flow to support

So I do find it difficult to know how much of my life has been luck and how much skill. I have seen people luckier than me and of course I have seen people unluckier than me…no regrets, no celebrations, just being factual.

What all are luck? having a corporate background was luck – if your parents are in non corporate jobs, it takes time to accept corporate life style.

Good school, good college, good firm to do CA – luck or skill?

No major health issues – and big major error in risk – my broker went bankrupt and so did I – happened at a young age. Was 80% in shares – in 2003 and in 2007.

Got some awesome lucky calls – of course missed some too – but stuck on from say 800 in MRF to 39000! Has to be luck – did a few such things, and I do not consider myself so smart to attribute this to research. In almost all parts of the market I know 2/3 people with whom I can talk about some share which catches my fancy. Talking / listening to the right people – luck or skill? No clue.

Have an amazing set of friends – professionally, and personally. People to whom I can turn around for any kinda clarification – luck or skill?

Did tons of legal and research work – well paid too (!) which actually helped in being suspicious of all promoters. I do not think I have dealt in more than 80 companies – owned about 50 at all points in time. May not even be 50, could be lesser.

Learnt to spot an idiotic, foolish, greedy, stupid, or a thief of a promoter earlier on in life. That helped. Not sure if that is a skill or luck.

No parental interference in must buy a house, marriage, education, career,…..luck or skill?

Just some rants on a Sunday afternoon…


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