I feel elated to read through the discussion. It offers plentiful - a bag full of dreams and a wealth of worldly advice. Having gone through it, I couldn’t refrain myself from getting entangled. A recluse in my personal life, I never thought I’ll share about myself with complete strangers on a random forum, but life has funny ways, and so it brings me to you with my experiments with life. Pardon me if its long but I hope its worth a read. None of it is an advice but if someone happens to find anything worthy, my purpose is served.
Though it might not seem shameful for me to admit today that I was a poor student at school, it was the greatest embarrassment in my childhood throughout my teens. Passing exams was the only goal and surviving the year was my only dream. Finishing high-school with mediocrity and not revealing my twelfth results back home for a good time for fear of being reprimanded were only a few highlights. Though I loved writing, and pursuing sports, they were never considered worthy careers in my family.
Wise men say that character is built in testing times. Its only when I was faced with the dilemma of not having a future in life, the most adventurous transformation started shaping me. Somehow I managed to get in the University for Graduation. That was the first time ever I made a goal in life - that I would pass with first division. The day I achieved this goal (only by a small margin though), I realized what goals can do to you. They make you optimistic, confident and happy in life. It was my first victory and a stepping stone. After this small success, I went on to complete MBA in Finance with flying colors and got a job. That’s when I started my first SIP in mutual funds. Thereafter I started investing in stocks directly too. Meanwhile I got a big opportunity to work with the management consulting giant, Mckinsey. I worked with them for a few years before moving to Middle East to work for a private equity firm. During this period I had started investing on tips as I had no time to analyze stocks. In 2008 slowdown, I lost almost 70% of my portfolio. However, that didn’t bother me much as I was having a high paying job. I was not an extravagant spender which helped in building a corpus. But deep inside, I was doing my job only for money with little interest in working for corporates for long. I dreamed of being independent. Yes I was dreaming – After learning how to set goals and achieve them, the second most important thing I learnt during this period was to dream. There is a difference in goal-setting and dreaming. Simply put goal is like what your heart wants to have and your mind says ‘okay its possible’ while dream is what your heart wants to have and your mind says ‘maybe not’. One of my dreams was to retire and retirement meant doing what I love to do.
I came back to India and joined a management institute as an academician. The salary was less compared to corporate but it allowed me balance in life. My goal was to make time for my passion. Last year I took a sabbatical from job to pursue PhD from an IIT.
Starting as a mediocre student and going through a whole transformation, I am ending as a scholar from an institution of repute. Inside I feel it should redeem me from my childhood setbacks.
I am 35 now. I am independent, well-invested (MFs, equity market and real estate) and in a way retiring soon. For last 2-3 years, I have been investing good time in stock analysis. Although it’s a passion for me, its not what is closest to my heart. My first love is to write. I’ll be happy writing full-time from next year onwards although it hardly pays bills (already have a goal for this year). But I like investing too. So I’ll find time to manage my portfolio. Also with PhD completion my intellectual goals will be accomplished. After sorting out my financial, artistic and intellectual goals, I wish to someday set some spiritual goals too in future. But I’ll keep that for later.
I feel if someone as mediocre as me can take writing as a full time job, then investing is far more paying to anyone who has a passion for it. So if you think its an advice feel free to, but I would encourage anyone to take up the profession they love. Just take a moment to ask yourself if you can do something over and over in life without getting bored with reasonable success, and if the answer is yes then just do it without making it too complex. I do not know how rich you would become but I know for sure you’ll be most happy with your choice of work (its not work actually, its play)
1. Your bad times is your learning ground. Keep persisting, keep surviving. Clouds will clear and the sun will shine. It taught me patience.
2. Most of us in India are not allowed to choose our profession unless we are a prodigy. We have to play on someone else’ turf and win there before we do what we want to do. It taught me perseverance.
3. Set goals in life and work for them sincerely. It taught me hardwork.
4. Time and again people keep discouraging me about my decisions in life. It does not bother me anymore. Going against the tide and proving others wrong time and again has given me confidence.
5. Dream. It teaches me to stretch and to better myself.
Today Independence for me is to be able to ask my heart what it dreams of and to be able to instruct my mind to do what it takes to achieve it. My best wishes to everyone for your goals and dreams.