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The Tao of (trading) success- Part 1

April 8, 2009

A personal background

If somebody asks me today, what in my opinion, was the single most defining decision in my life, I would return a blank stare. Because, I consider myself very fortunate to have taken a whole range of decisions [by myself] which has contributed to enrich me with a veritable treasure trove of experience. Had even a single experience been out of the way, I am not quite sure, if things would have turned out the same.

I was born and brought up in a place where insurgency and militant extremism was widespread. That too, at a time when it was at its peak. People of our domicile were targetted, almost exclusively(strangely the segregation was based on language and not the common stuff we see today in rest of India). That formed a nice intro to reality for a guy who is just a teen. Its Assam I am talking about. At 16, I had seen half of India and travelled alone from one end to the other. I met people with amazing talent, capabilities, intelligence and ideas.

My experiences

I gathered a lot from them as I hope they have from me. By the time I was 18, I had lived, stayed, breathed and could effortlessly manage myself in almost the entire India. [The list of states where I lived exclusively includes: Assam,WB,Rajasthan,Karnataka,Andhra Pradhesh,Tamil Nadu,Kerala, Delhi and Orissa].

With time, I learned to maneuovre adverse contingencies[which we often face when we effortlessly adapt], crystallize new experiences and gathered a more insightful approach to human behaviour.Yes, I had been fortunate as the entire travelling brought me into contact with a huge amount of people of varying culture, tastes and perspectives and yes, I did have my share of mistakes and flash of intelligence.

Mathematics says, the larger and the varied number of people you observe, 96% of people fall within a certain limit of deviation from the average and if we are ready to ignore a slightly higher level of deviation (approximately twice of the previous deviation),then almost 99% of people share the same characteristics as the average. Its called Law of Sampling or Gaussian Law.

The Discovery

But I was surprised to have met many people who were absolutely talented in pursuits they loved. Be it a fantastic Carnatic Musician who had an entire studio in his home[that guy is from Palani] or an absolutely carefree fella who loved only the most challenging problems in Mathematics[he was from Hissar]. Both were absolutely, brilliant at what they did. And yes, I did many people who were umm… lets say, yet to discover their flash of greatness.

Furthermore down the lane, there was yet another breed, I believe a breed in which we all fell at some point or the other. The one where we are trying yet, yet, yet…

Cutting to the chase, the question which arises is a one in consonance with all these stuff I just threw at you. How come people achieve success? What allows a certain person to achieve success in his or her field while a person who might have started earlier than him is still in a level within the 2 deviations from average as said before.

I happened to think a lot about it, till I realized something from my own life which happened a long time back.  Long time since has passed and I almost forgot about it.  I met a guy when we  were in high school.We had at that time one book of Physics problems called “Problems in General Physics” by I.E.Irodov. It was a nice book, except this that only a handful of boys of my age could solve a question. Trust me, each era had a book which frightened the pupils of its generation. It was that kind of a book 🙂

And it was this very challenge which drove him towards it. In the initial days, he would take anywhere between 2-3 hours to solve a problem. But, as he solved each sum, something happened. I believe, he went from the notion of “lets-solve-a-problem” to “whats-behind-the-veil”. I don’t know when did he make that transition, and in all frankness I am just explaining what was to come later on. Within the next three months he solved a bulk of the book with him solving anywhere between 7-8 problems per hour.

Three months down the lane, when he finished the final sum from the 5000 odd problems, he achieved a small personal success. And it was satisfying when he thought, even the bestest of guys didn’t do it. Sitting here in comforts of my home, more than half a decade later I can but theoretize about his reasons.

(…continued Part2 )

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