It Boils Down to Good Governance 

India’s at the Olympics and all. 

We’ve had near misses. 

Sure. 

Athletes qualified fair and square. 

Not a word against India’s squad. 

They’re really trying very hard. One of our gymnasts has even risked her life by vaulting a successful Produnova. Rio-presence is achievement-based, not nepotism-based. It’s tough. It’s incorruptibly monitored. Footfall is highest ever. Indians have made the international cut in many events, like never before. Finishes are all decent. A few finishes are very, very decent, missing the podium by decimals. Our athletes deserve some podium finishes. 

However, what are 80 Indian officials doing in Rio, accompanying a squad of 119? Only a few of these 80 are allowed arena access. The rest are what? Long live the exchequer? We build up the exchequer by paying our taxes. We’d like to see its contents used judiciously. 

Let’s cast a glance at how our officials are conducting themselves at Rio. Actually, we’ll leave it at the official warning they’ve just received to behave themselves. SHAME SHAME. 

Is this good governance? 

NO. 

Do our officials deserve a podium finish?  

No. 

We’ll have to spend where it counts, on facilities, proper diets and trained physios. We’ll have to save on useless paraphernalia. Red-tape be damned. We’ll have to embrace good governance. We do want podium finishes, don’t we?

One looks up to one’s peers. If they’re corrupt, out of shape and / or out of whack, even the best athlete suffers a psychological downer. Our officials will need to trim down and get their acts together. All of them will need to behave like exemplary ambassadors of the country. They will need to give their wards that psychological boost. Coaches will themselves need to be in shape, to set good examples. Podium finishes will then be around the corner. 

Cut to stock-selection. 

The biggest and first thing to look for is good governance. 

Just cut all the nonsense out of the way, first up, because where you find good governance, you won’t find nonsense. 

It all boils down to good governance. 

Lost for Words, Mr. Nath? 

Yeah, sometimes I really am. 

With very few people, and in very few situations. 

Call it Karma. 

That’s not the point. 

In the event you find yourself in a similar situation, we’re here to size up options. 

What do we fall back on? 

Silence. 

In its solitude, a thought processes emerges. 

What are we looking for? 

Cool, calm straight-forward common sense.

Found it? 

It will speak to you. 

Let it. 

It’s got the words, remember? You don’t. 

Listen to it. 

What’s it telling you to do? 

Difficult? 

Can you do it? A yes is great here. You’re sorted already. 

No? 

Next option. 

Nothing. 

Can you sit tight? Doing nothing? Till your path emerges? Yes is good. 

No? 

Ok. 

Can you stop yourself from doing the wrong thing? 

Wrong? 

Violence, anger etc. You got it? 

How, you ask? 

Occupy yourself with something else more captivating. Possible? A yes here is your last “amicable” option. 

If it’s still a no, you might want to consider new company, or a new environment. 

Sometimes, we get stuck in life. With a person. And / or in a situation. For good reasons, we can’t get out. What’s the silver lining? 

Learning. 

Our difficult situation is ironing out some fault within us. As long as the fault remains, the situation seems desperate. No fault anymore? Situation vanishes. 

It’s called evolution. 

We don’t evolve for free.

Similarly, we don’t learn to navigate through the markets for free. 

Difficult situations teach us. They cost money.

We survive small losses through the learning process, to win big later. We want the learning process to come at an early stage, when the stakes are low. 

The biggest wins come when we use our evolution to capitalize upon a difficult situation, because we know its nuances. That’s good for the markets. 

In real life it won’t pay to take advantage of somebody’s nuances. That’s actually devolving. 

Maintaining perspective between market life and real life is an evolutionary exercise too. 

When Push Comes to Shove 

Genetically… 

… we’re savers. 

Indians. 

Save. 

That’s a good thing. 

Since the ’00s though, our banks have started pushing loans as if there’s no tomorrow.

The motto seems to be : we don’t care who you are, just borrow. If we know who you are, here, borrow some more

That is dangerous policy. 

It sets the stage for a push comes to shove scenario. Savings are being lent further, and they might not come back. 

What counts when push comes to shove? 

Deposits in the bank? No. Gone. 

Real Estate? No. No buyers. No renters. Illiquid stuff just won’t move. 

Equities? No. Dumps. Good entry levels though. No resale value for a while. 

Bonds? Perhaps. Short duration ones, provided underlying doesn’t go under. 

Gold? Yes. Big. 

Trading? Yes. Options, forex, commodities, what have you. 

Cash? Yes. Provided there’s no hyperinflation. Use it for day to day life. Use surplus to acquire great bargains. 

Farmland? Yes. You’re then sorted as far as food and water are concerned. 

Use your imagination. 

Prepare for a push and shove scenario. 

It probably won’t happen. 

However, you’re prepared, just in case. 

Monotony

Plan in motion? 

Let it play. 

Sure, monotonous. 

Monotony bores you, right? 

Boring monotony yielding acceptable results is a good outcome. Don’t spoil its party. 

Divert your attention. 

Try a stunt. 

Risk a little. 

Maybe one out of your ten stunts works out. 

Develop this one further. 

Still working. 

Scale it up slowly. 

Working. 

Auto-pilot. 

Monotony. 

Results still good. 

Stop looking. 

Let it play. 

Look elsewhere. 

Do something new with yourself. 

Soon, it’ll be time to go. 

Meanwhile, build a legacy to leave behind, in your memory, one that benefits many. 

The Thing with Focus

Depth. 

Confidence. 

Proper entry. 

Decent exit, if required. 

Understanding. 

Lack of panic. 

Overall picture. 

These are some of the things that focus is capable of giving. 

Swagger? 

One-basket attitude. 

Over-depth. 

Narrow-mindedness. 

Loss of overall picture due to over-chewing one subject. 

Robotic mindset leading to freeze. 

Yeah, these too. Within the capabilities of focus. 

We want the former qualities. 

We’re discarding the latter ones. If they come knocking at our doorstep, we’re shooing them away. 

We spoke about diversified focus. 

Whatever we do in life, let’s do it well. 

We’ll have our many baskets. Why should we take the risk of having just one basket? 

And, into our many baskets, we’ll delve deep-deep-deep. 

Period. 

What to do with constant hunger? 

Hmmm… 

Is it a healthy state of being? 

No. 

What does it do for you? 

Gets you right up there. 

What’s the problem? 

You’re still hungry. 

Never satisfied. 

After three victories in a day, a miniscule here or there in a market-situation gets you down. 

Deplorable? 

Yes and no. 

You’re at peak-performance. 

That’s the good thing about constant hunger. 

However, you’re not happy. Yeah, still not happy. You want more, and more, and more. You don’t know where to stop. You’ve forgotten about happiness. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

Keep your hunger. 

Strive. 

Harder, higher. 

Then, celebrate a victory. 

Be in that space for a while. 

Forget about tomorrow for a while. 

Be happy for a while. 

Next time, be happy for a while longer. 

And even longer. 

Till it becomes a habit. 

It’s been twelve years in the marketplace. I have to keep reminding myself of this chronology every day.

The most basic things in life are also the most difficult to win back. 

We were born in a state of bliss. We were oblivious to almost everything. We were happy. We need to win that happiness back. 

There will always be a new target. 

The one just achieved deserves a happy adieu. 

🙂 

Fitting

I have this Wills fleece sweat-shirt since ’98.

Love it.

It’s a fit.

Can wear it for anything.

I’m sure you own or do something that just fits.

Very few people in the market understand the value of a fit.

What does a fit feel like?

It comes naturally.

No prompting or pushing.

It’s the essence of your strategy which resonates with you.

A fit holds you and moves you forward.

It makes you money till it continues to fit.

The ideal fit lasts a lifetime.

Nuances.

Everything and everyone has nuances.

A fit happens when nuances are out of the way. They’ve been dealt with in a full and final manner. They appeared, sure enough, got knocked out, which is when they disappeared. What remained was pure you and your fit. The two of you united.

Why is this fit so important?

We’ve spoken about the money angle. A fit makes you money.

There’s the family angle. A fit doesn’t let your market-life harm your family-life. Hence it ensures its own longevity by vitalizing your market-life and also your mental health.

A fit then possesses the versatility to deal with stumbling blocks along the path. Travel? You implement your strategy successfully despite travel. Schedule? Fit works around it. Diet? Fit changes diet, till diet fits.

Don’t underestimate the power of a fit.

🙂

Decoupling One o Two

Trade on.

Market forces.

You.

Connection.

Attenuation.

Life normal.

This is the real decoupling.

What was the other decoupling?

The myth one?

Myth?

I mean, Switzerland is kinda financially decoupled. The CHF just keeps its own despite anything.

Israel is also sort of decoupled. Despite everything. Functions on its own tangent. Matter of opinion.

These are exceptions. They prove the norm.

There are remote chances these exceptions won’t exist tomorrow. Having said that, let’s hope nothing like that ever happens.

However, permanent decoupling is mostly a myth. We’ll be better off not incorporating it into our investment or trading strategy.

Decoupling one o two is a different matter.

It is very welcome.

It gives longevity and harmony to a trader’s market- and normal-life.

Happy trading!

🙂

Pioneering One o One

Sure, who am I to write about this?

Valid question.

However, I don’t really care.

I’ve got something to say.

And I’m saying it.

If you’re still wondering about the validity, well, I’m treading two paths where the textbooks say only so much. After the textbooks have signed off, I’m pretty much left groping in the dark. Whether or not I come up with something big, that time will tell. Meanwhile, here are some comments from along the path.

It’s lonely.

I walk alone.

I listen to no one.

That’s the price of it all.

That’s ok.

I don’t mind walking alone.

Challenge of the path keeps me awake, alert and alive.

There are chances I’ll die out in oblivion, without having found anything significant.

That’s also the big risk of pioneering.

Without taking this risk, I won’t be able to tread the path.

Yeah, it’s fine.

This is the extra mile.

It will cause one to stretch extra.

Some feel life’s boring without such a challenge.

At times one gets disheartened.

Strategies don’t pan out.

Systems fail.

Map isn’t being charted.

One is getting nowhere.

This happens many times.

At such times one wishes one were doing something else.

Yeah, only human.

Wanting to be super-human?

Why not?

Is it a crime?

At times one can forget one’s responsibilities.

Then it’s a crime.

Coming back to zero is required then.

Hubris.

Highly avoid.

Sure, you’ll eventually become great, a pioneer and all. Hubris will bring you down.

Remember Sir Isaac Newton investing twenty thousand pounds in a company at its peak, just before the company went bust…? He went around having a law passed that no one was allowed to utter the name of this company in his presence.

Grounded.

Stay grounded.

Works best.

That’ll keep you focused.

Go, Pioneer.

When are you doing it Right?

There’s something called the Line.

You feel it.

It’s abstract.

You have to be its master.

Then, you’re doing it right.

Controlled, the line won’t disturb your life.

It’ll very probably add to your life, in terms of wealth.

If you let it control you, everything is finished.

Goodbye.

Life. Wealth. Peace of mind.

It pays to master the line.

How do you feel the line?

By being invested, or in a trade.

How do you master the line?

By being invested or in a trade, again and again, again and again, and then some. Simultaneously, you’re nipping your bad behaviour in the bud, while the line is on.

You control your temper. You don’t lose it.

You develop patience with loved ones.

You learn how to position-size the line, while winning or losing.

You attenuate all kinds of disturbance.

You keep going on and on like this, till one fine day, the line’s presence becomes a part of your life. Line-switch being on doesn’t change you or alter your behaviour in any negative manner anymore.

That’s when you’re doing it right.

Effects?

Trade on = like when trade was not on.

Investment? You’re not thinking about it.

You sleep well.

Good family life… not disturbed by the presence of the line.

Yeah.

Line.

Master it.

Discipline or Brilliance, what would you have?

Both?

Ha!

Getting cocky already?

That’s brilliance for you.

Over-confident, lazy, show-offy, indulgent, holier-than-thou…, the list goes on.

These are some of the things brilliance also leads to, apart from displays of itself.

Would you still have it?

Many would.

The average being likes being spared the spade-work.

And you know what? I don’t even desire it in this form, with all these poisonous side-effects.

However, it’s acceptable to me in a different form, without the poison.

How does that work?

Ever slogged?

Hard work and discipline, people?

Heard of these?

These two have the side effect of – sparks of brilliance, without the poison.

How?

Bell curve of human effort – imagine.

You’re working at it’s edge.

Miniscule parts of you stray over to its beyond.

Rest of you eventually asks – hey, where are those miniscule missing parts?

Back they come.

They’re bring back vibrations from beyond the bell-curve.

These vibrations diffuse into you.

Some of them get absorbed. The rest dissipate.

Those getting absorbed find thought patterns they can cling to. That is how they are absorbed.

This energy from outside of our three perceivable dimensions, now fused with nascent but constructive thought patterns – what does it do?

It brings these thought patterns to fruition and to their logical conclusion.

Such actions are perceived as sparks of brilliance by humanity.

Such actions change humanity for the better.

That’s the kind of brilliance to strive for – through hard work and discipline.

Stop-Loss vs Hedge – what’s what and how?

Insurance.

Makes you sleep easy.

Simultaneously, you are able to take a calculated risk.

Risk?

Why should you take a risk?

No risk no gain.

It’s as simple as that.

You have to put something on the line to possibly gain something.

That’s what market activity is all about.

You’re doing this all the time.

Day in, day out.

You’ve become used to a steady and dynamic LINE. Your line doesn’t harm you anymore. It doesn’t disrupt your life.

Well done.

How did you achieve this?

By using stops and hedges.

What’s the difference?

The difference is technical, and then practical.

For some mindsets and positions, a stop is more suited.

When you don’t mind exposing your market-play, and want to close your terminal and do other stuff, use a stop.

You get up from your desk, engage in other activity, and have forgotten about your position, because now you don’t need to tend to its needs for 24 hours, for example.

Great.

Your position will either play out, or it won’t.

If it doesn’t, your stop will automatically throw you out of your position.

The level of the stop is digestible.

Next morning, you simply move on to a new trade.

Let’s say you don’t want to to expose your market play, or, in some cases, when you don’t need to expose your market play – how do you then insure yourself?

Hedge.

A hedge maintains general market neutrality.

It leaves windows open for what-if scenarios.

For example, the trade could make money, and then the hedge could make money.

Or, vice-versa. As in lose-lose. Sure, there are win-loss and loss-win scenarios too.

The starting point is somewhat neutral, and then there are permutations and combinations.

Some people prefer this kind of play.

They like the possibility of maximizing profit from the total position at a calculated higher risk.

Also fine.

Generally, the idea is for your main position to make money and your hedge to lose money.

It might or might not play out like that.

Some like this uncertainty and know how to benefit from it.

A stop is sure-shot and straight-forward. It is low-risk as long as it is digestible.

Hedges open you to the risks of a meta-game. Play becomes more interesting, consuming, and possibly, more profitable, for experienced hedgers.

In my opinion, a hedge is slightly higher in risk than a stop.

However, both entities lower overall risk.

Currency pair forex trades are typically taken with a stop. However, they can be hedged too.

Market-neutral option-trades are typically taken using hedges.

Step into a trade with either or, for peace of mind and career longevity.

Cheers.

🙂

Who said she would be easy?

Firstly, who’s she?

She could be anyone.

Let’s make it simpler.

She could be anything.

She’s something that’s with you, around you.

On another level, you attracted her towards you.

Now, the two of you share time and space.

If you don’t like something about your situation, you do have the option to press the button.

However, a new scenario with a new he, she or it would be challenging too.

Plus you haven’t evolved from your old situation, because it bothers you. If you had, you wouldn’t be bothered.

In fact, evolution would make you stop looking for a new situation.

You would then, if possible, accept and work with your current situation, and build up from there.

Resolve.

Move on.

Build.

What have we been talking about?

Try applying it to finance.

Applies.

Marriage.

Applies.

Life.

Applies.

Yeah.

Why do we talk so generally at times?

Maximal umbrella-coverage with minimal talk.

No harm in that.

How not to let something be on auto-nag

Clutter-up.

Simple solution.

Have lots of things going.

This way, one thing won’t have the power to nag.

We humans reminisce.

We go into nitty-gritty.

We worry.

We thus waste our time and an otherwise perfect present.

That’s us.

However, we can condition. We can change.

That’s also us.

One small activity is over, and the other one should start. Prequisite is that the former activity has been closed properly, even if temporarily.

Yeah, no in-between time to ruminate about how well or badly the preceeding activity went.

New activity brings its own challenge. It first shifts and then rivets our focus.

Carry this mindset over, to your professional life.

That’s all you need to do.

Go for it.

🙂

Is it just the Japanese?

No.

It’s us too.

We’re all whacky, at some level.

Humans have quirks.

Different ones to make the world go round.

Normal for me would be idiosyncratic elsewhere.

And vice-versa.

So there we are.

The other day someone was talking about panty-automats and strawberry-excretia. Way off the bell-curve, thought I. What was it about the Japanese?

Then, how were we perceived, as people?

We do have some ugly habits, us Indians.

Ever seen a guy doing an ayurvedic nasal-cleanse on the road? Sure.

Most leave the ayurvedic out.

Occupying someone else’s seat – we’re champions at that.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Indian Standard Time.

Cleaning house and throwing the dirt on the road outside our house – yeah, we’re geniuses.

However, one of our quirks is actually positive.

We SAVE.

It’s inborn. In our genes. Adding up. Compounding. All this comes naturally to us.

Yeah, silver lining. Does redeem us a bit, since this particular quality is in short supply, the world over.

Here’s hoping that we infect other nations with the savings bug.

Also, every nation has some positive quirks. Let’s look for these, to adopt.

Cheers!

🙂

Still Looking for those Two Minutes of Freedom?

Why?

Meaning why haven’t you found them already?

It was just two minutes, right?

What was so difficult about that?

Perhaps you didn’t understand the task?

Ok.

Fine.

This is what we’re now going to try and look for.

Two minutes in the whole day. Where we feel absolutely free.

No shackles, no bondage, no worries, no tension.

Just sheer freedom.

Complete freedom.

We’re going to find them.

We could be doing an activity while we experience them.

Or, we could be doing nothing.

Depends on person to person.

Sleeping is a different matter. It doesn’t count for our exercise.

I’ve already shared with you where I find my freedom.

Right here.

I feel free when I write.

You need to find yours.

Now.

Why are we doing this exercise?

There’s something about freedom.

As you’re feeling it, it’s also freeing up stuff inside you and around you. Quality of life goes up several notches. You’ve got to experience it. Words won’t suffice.

So go for it.

What’re you waiting for?

🙂

Order, Order! Have you Ordered?

Back in good old college days, Professor Weyrich used to teach us about entropy.

He taught us so well, that we’ll never forget what entropy is.

He began by taking away the hype. He knocked the wind out of the “monster” in our minds. We were able to learn once and for all what entropy is.

“Entropy is a stink-normal measurable quantity”. These were the learned professor’s catalytic words.

What does it measure?

Disorder.

Aha!

Million dollar word.

Aren’t we so in the middle of it?

It causes us to stall. Daily. Hourly.

It grows. Engulfs us. Disarray.

If we do nothing, yes.

What if we do something?

Will it still grow?

Not if we counter it.

How do we counter it?

By creating order.

Remember these three words. Someday, they’ll make you invincible.

How do you utilize your spare time? What about your normal time?

In fact, spend the whole day creating order. Systems. Pathways. Inroads. Efficient shortcuts. Approachable strategies. You get the gist.

Why?

Why not?

Who doesn’t want a smooth life?

What makes it smooth?

Order.

One needs to make that order exist first.

Relevance?

Order is the backbone of any financial strategy. It counters market disorder and tries to translate this into profits.

Let go of all laziness.

Start creating order.

If nothing else, do it for your families, for your children.

Go for it.

🙂

Are You Still Trying to Find Yourself?

Yes?

It’s ok.

In fact, it’s even good.

“It’s the question that drives us (Neo)!”

The search is a struggle, sure.

Struggle means growth.

Keep growing.

Let the search be on.

As long as possible.

Result?

Maximal growth.

In your effort to find out who you are, you do many things.

You try stuff out.

You interact with lots of people.

There’s tremendous Karma-exchange.

You are in various situations.

You are tested many times.

You can draw upon all this experience.

It’s your been-there-done-that.

The growth-component this search has caused is your takeaway.

Keep making that takeaway bigger.

And, it’s the only real takeaway.

We’ll leave our cash behind.

Food will become poison after a certain age.

Growth will imprint upon our energy.

Growth is ours.

We’ll carry it forward, wherever we go.

This body, that body, no body, any body.

What’s the mild pain for?

Carrying forward a niggle?

Something that doesn’t stop you from performing, though?

However, something that nags?

Can’t stop to get it out of your system?

Momentum doesn’t allow you?

When you do stop to get it out, it doesn’t go away?

Is it more mental?

Or more physical?

Can’t decide?

Don’t know what to do?

Who to ask?

What if the hospitals grab you?

Make your wart into a cancer?

Are they then ever going to let you go?

Naehhhh.

Totally stumped?

We’ll, I’ve got something for you.

Are your ears standing up?

Can’t believe your luck?

Could Nath be bee/essing?

How does he know about all this stuff?

What makes him an authority?

Why should I trust him?

Well, don’t.

Is it costing you to listen?

Well, then listen. No harm.

So, as I said, I have something for you.

Are you ready?

Here goes.

Two words.

Embrace it.

Yeah.

Yeah, embrace the niggle.

Make it drive you on.

Make its mild pain give you quality output.

Milk it.

Make the niggle your advantage.

What if it goes away?

Halleluyaa.

You’re pain-free.

What if it doesn’t?

It then becomes your secret weapon.

That’s like buttering your toast on both sides.

🙂

Yes, Jack Ma is a Champion

I only know one thing about Jack Ma.

He didn’t give up.

That’s enough for me.

Jack Ma is a champion.

Champions fight till it works.

They’re somehow able to extract extra energy from somewhere, and stand up again, that umpteenth time.

That is what separates champions from others.

Look at Abraham Lincoln’s example.

Steve Jobs.

Cassius Clay.

Recently, West Indies cricket.

List is big.

What do champions have in common?

They don’t give up.

They keep at it.

They keep throwing potentially knockout punches… till something gives.

Sure, champions cry.

They too are human.

It’s ok to cry.

One’s system cleanses.

Tears only make them fight harder.

So what’s the champion gene?

Meaning, what makes a champion keep going at it, despite disappointments, tapping extra energy out of nowhere to keep landing potentially knockout punches?

Yes, what are the dynamics?

Body and mind are functioning at full-stretch. Perhaps beyond. What is this beyond? We are a continuum, remember. We flow. The Bell-curve of our energy, at full-stretch, actually flows to a certain extent into 4th, 5th, 6th or nth dimensions. You’ll either have to take my word for it, or experience it for yourself.

Mind over matter, ever heard that one?

Describes the above phenomenon.

Resonance.

You vibrate at a common frequency with something, and are able to tap energy from that something.

That’s what happens.

For it to happen, full-stretch needs to be there.

Bell-curve needs to go over and beyond.

Feel the energy coming in.

Feel that tiredness go away.

Land the knockout punch, you champion.