This is based on an answer to this question on Quora. Here it goes. Hope you find it useful.
What Bhagvad Gita can teach you about investing
Very interesting question let me try to answer it. These quotes from Bhagvad Gita have been taken from various sources (Not Verified):
“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”
Applied to investing: It is better to learn how to invest yourself, do your due diligence, and invest based on your own framework than try to copy someone else or rely on someone else for ‘tips’ to earn quick money. In fact this pursuit to earn quick money is a major reason for gullible investors losing most if not all of their money quickly.
“Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and can equally tolerate the onslaughts of distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation.”
Advance stage of Spiritual Realization with One’s zeal to learn investing
Liberation with Investing success
Distress with losses
Happiness with profits
Applied to investing: Success in investing belongs to those who are determined to succeed through their own hard work (viz. gaining knowledge & analyzing securities for themselves & learning from their mistakes over time) and who can treat the distress of losses (like in current scenario) and happiness of profits (like when Nifty was at 9100) with equal detachment.
“The non permanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons.They arise from sense perception,and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.”
Applied to investing: Equate happiness with bullish markets and distress with bearish markets, and this makes perfect sense. Markets bullish & bearish behavior is also like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from collective perception of the crowd (investing crowd) and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed implying staying calm when markets fall and not getting carried away when the markets are exuberant.
“You have control over doing your respective duty, but no control or claim over the result. Fear of failure, from being emotionally attached to the fruit of work, is the greatest impediment to success because it robs efficiency by constantly disturbing the equanimity of mind.”
Applied to investing: Your duty in investing is to do your due diligence with respect to an investment, apply your knowledge, and after sufficient hard work act on your analysis and then stick to your trade until basis of your analysis changes.
But even after you do that the best of analysis has no control over the result (Watch “The Big Short” if you have any doubt with respect to this). Fear of failure (due to ups and downs on your investment) is the greatest impediment to success because it disturbs your mind, as instead of focusing on your analysis and strategy, you are constantly disturbing your mind because of what is happening to the value of your investment on a day to day basis.
“Know the reality of the world in which you live. Know it to be impermanent, unreal and source of your suffering and delusion”
Applied to investing: Seeing world as it is. To know that the exuberance and despair in the markets are impermanent and get over-stretched from time to time due to many unreal, imagined or over-stated factors, and thus can be a great source of your suffering and delusion (Buy High due to exuberance (Delusion) & Sell Low in Panic(suffering)).
“Know the reality of yourself, who you are and what you are really. Know that you are neither your body nor your mind, but the true self that can neither be slain nor hurt. It is eternal, divine and transcendental “
Applied to investing: Your journey in investing / trading is also a journey to know yourself better. It is not uncommon for individuals to let their trading outcomes to define who they are. On a profitable day they are the king. On a losing day they are the lowest creature. It is important to not attach your self worth to your material possessions (including your profits & losses). You are not your P&L statement on any given day. You are much more than that. If you let your P&L define who you are, you would never be able to know your true self.
“The importance lies in the, just be. Be. Trust in the Self”
Most applicable for traders. Importance lies in letting go of the results of your past trades. Easier said than done. Not letting your history affect your current behavior with respect to your particular trade or investment. It is not uncommon that if someone suffers through a streak of losses, they lose their belief in themselves and often end up cutting their new position at small profit or at their price of purchase not because they do not believe in the analysis they used to initiate the trade, but because they have suffered a streak of losses and think they may lose again. Hence the importance of Trusting in the Self and letting go of results of past trades.
“Nothing should be accepted blindly; everything should be accepted with care and with caution.”
Emphasizing the importance of doing your due diligence and applying healthy skepticism when it comes to any thing related to investing. Be it an investment idea or financial results of a hot stock or a stock broker or specially a stock tip provider. When it comes to investing if it seems easy, it is probably worthless.
“Simply know that there is so much more, infinitely more, beyond what can be seen, felt, heard by your physical senses.”
Applied to investing: Specially for those who make the financial markets / investing / trading their everything. There is infinitely more to the world than this, and while investing should be an important part, it should be just that an important part and not everything.