I have written so many times about improving as an investor..here are some more. This is from a speech I gave to a bunch of equity enthusiasts..but it is not very original. Like I have always said I have stood on the shoulders of far superior investors and far superior writers. Here is an attempt to enumerate what has helped me…and I have written about each of these in the past….

  1. Visualisation: Do you see yourself as a successful investor? What you think you become – almost everybody has said this. Napolean Hill said it in USA. Our own scriptures have said “sankalp se shrishti”. So what you think, you become. When you pray to God for a car – what car are you THINKING in your mind? A top of the range car or a beaten down car?
  2. Read a lot – and I mean read across Genre. I have picked a lot of investing examples from Mahabharata, Vedas, Ramayana. I guess like a famous investor says “Anthropology to Zoology”. If you can say that a zebra that is in the middle of the pack gets grass already trampled upon by other animals, but it can never get a lion scratch – forget becoming a meal – you realize risk v returns exists in every day life too. It is for you to connect.
  3. Maintain a diary: Leonardo Da Vinci made copious notes – and he goes far beyond being just a painter. He, was a voracious reader too. Napolean Hill gave more emphasis to ‘specific knowledge’ – but for an investor there is no great ‘specific knowledge’ to be acquired outside of say 50 books. Go and devour, and make notes.
  4. Diary of experience and why you made a particular investment is a far greater useful tool than your boot licking brain which tells you EXACTLY what the mind wants to listen. Be careful of behavioral biases, and FIGHT THEM. Writing down (hard copy not electronic) is a very useful exercise.
  5. Meet a range of people who like your theories – and lots who rubbish your theories. If you love equities and hate real estate, meet people who hate equities and love real estate – such people tell you things that you do not want to hear! One of the best ways to fight confirmation bias. So when a real estate lover tells you how REAL ESTATE is a losing proposition, it could be signalling the end of the RE recession! Just be attentive!
  6. Not sure whether it is a part of Visualisation, but you should really want success and be willing to give up something to get something. So if I am honest in my belief in the welfare of the world, I should take my Vegan aim far more seriously. I should give up the craving for dairy, leather, silk, honey..it need not be a cold stop, but it can (should) be a serious attempt at reducing cruelty towards animals. If the desire to be a successful investor is not there, you will not make a serious effort.

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