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Keeping the ego in check
This is a different type of post than usual. I hope you enjoy it.
How markets reduce our ego
Initially, we enter the markets with little experience and with some beginner’s luck, we become convinced that we can get rich quickly & easily. We start feeling invincible, which leads us to do stupid things such as:
Excessive leverage & trading
Telling the market what it should be doing (fighting trends, making bold predictions, etc.)
Trolling others, bragging, etc.
Then upon failure after failure, we become humbled. We admit how much we don’t know before beginning to do things the right way:
Learning from others
Developing a rules-based system
Using proper position sizing
This is known as the Dunning Kruger Effect:
What my culture taught me
I recently tweeted this:
I grew up in a Sikh family. While I do not consider myself very religious today, I am grateful for the many lessons that the Sikh religion/culture taught me on lowering my ego:
We address anyone older than us with “Ji” after their family title. For example: Uncle Ji, Matha Ji, Bapu Ji, Nana Ji (Matha = Mom, Bapu = Dad, Nana = Grandpa). This is an honorific title to show respect to our elders.
In a Sikh temple, the sangat (congregation) removes their shoes before entering the prayer hall. They bow to the scriptures before sitting cross-legged on the floor, lower than the scriptures. Friends in the sangat will silently bow their heads with folded hands to greet each other.
One person will be waving a chaur (ceremonial whisk) over the scriptures, treating them like a living Guru Ji (teacher). In the final Ardaas (standing prayer), a priest will include the line “Guru Ji, we are unknowing children, please forgive us for all the mistakes in today’s ceremony.”
You will see many people in the temple doing sewa (serving others) to demote their ego. In the kitchen hall, they will cook, serve food, clean floors, and wash dishes. And just outside the prayer hall, there is often someone cleaning the sangat’s shoes. This is an especially humbling experience.
You can do sewa through your career (eg. nurse, teacher, firefighter, waiter, janitor, engineer, mechanic, counsellor, etc). I always say that while the goal of trading is to become financially independent, we all have to put in our time in the workforce.
And even after quitting our jobs, I feel we always need to be doing some form of sewa (eg. taking care of our family, mentoring, donating).
Thanks for reading.