I used to be a bad runner. I became a good runner. Then I slipped to being a bad runner.

In investing I have improved over a period of time – and did not slip back much. Well at least not noticeably.

When a friend said to be a better runner, THINK/BEHAVE like a professional runner. That set me thinking…what really distinguishes an amateur and a professional. More importantly why thinking like a professional is very important to IMPROVE in ANY field.

Let us look at some of the characteristics…

Amateurs do not get paid, professionals do. However, if you are a sportsperson you should look for improvement as a ‘payment’ because you are anyway not doing it for making money.

Amateurs have a GOAL. Professionals have a process and milestones. A milestone is NOT a GOAL. It is just the stepping stone. For example if I target that I want to run a Half Marathon in 2hours and 20 minutes, as an amateur I celebrate. As a professional I realize that it is just the stepping stone to 2.05 or 2.00.

In the morning you get up and go to the gym or for a run….BECAUSE IT IS YOUR PROFESSION! The kind of excuses we make for NOT RUNNING or NOT GYMMING are amazing. However when it comes to going to office, we manage to go almost every time the office is working.

Amateurs think they can excel in everything. Professionals specialize. If you are an IFA you will outsource EVERYTHING except client meeting – outsource to your staff, brother, wife…whatever..but you will end up doing only client MEETINGS. Professionals SPECIALIZE.

Professionals accept that they need counselling, hand holding, coaching, ..AMATEURS think they can handle everything..

Professionals understand the role of learning, resting, and relaxing. Your muscles get build at rest, not in the gym.

Professionals prefer consistency to brilliance. Brilliance and consistency gives rise to a genius like Sachin, Tiger woods, Federer….

Professionals practice EXACTLY as they want to perform in the field. Kapil Dev did not bowl one single no ball in his test career. Amateurs show up in practice to have fun, meet people, have breakfast…

Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak. Pros may know EXACTLY what they want a coach for – strength training, improving lung power, creating run buddies,…and they could seek multiple coaches.

Professionals understand the role of luck (I sold Infosys to buy TCS) and know that the outcome is a result of luck. You need to concentrate on the process. Amateurs think outcome is a result of intelligence or effort.

Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsiblity….


………..more to come later

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