Bye-Bye 2020

Affirmative action, History, Human Brain

Most people have been cursing the year gone by. All the pandemic related issues and the geo-political issues in some countries and all the horrible stuff. When I look back however I see a lot of things which were positive about the situation.

  1. Did anyone watch the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. I watched it. What a celestial experience. I would never have been able to watch it if it happened during normal years since it could only be observed around sunset. It happened after about 400 years and next nearest situation will happen after 60 odd years.
  2. Due to the work from home I got a chance to regularly go for a walk and made a habit of minimum 6000 steps. I am still far away from 10000 steps but I am religiously hitting more than 6000 steps everyday. In my normal routine where I was spending more than 3 hours travelling, it would never happen
  3. Which brings me to another point – for years I have been reading books and everyone talks about why time is so critical, but because it was forced on me I actually involved myself in reading more, learning more exercising more, being more involved with the family.
  4. If I look outside my house there are so many businesses which have suddenly grown so dramatically. I am not talking about just the Amazon’s of the world. Today I can even get ready “coconut chutney” in dry form delivered to my home where I just have to add water when my wife makes dosas or idlis for lunch or dinner.
  5. I operate in the business to business world selling IT services. earlier most prospects would not even consider talking, they wanted you to visit them. Today the same people are readily and actually only wanting to talk to you in a conference call saving everyone so much time.
  6. My wife invested the time in learning so many things like “crochet” and made woolen items, she learnt how to “jam” in singing sessions

It is always easy to criticize and crib about the situation in your life. It does not mean that people do not have problems. But if you only think negative then you will only get depressed. On the other hand you could look at the positives and find solutions to the challenges you have.

Hopefully with the vaccines now being made available in most countries, hopefully over the next year or so a major set of the global population will get vaccinated and the herd immunity will also take place and we will get to move around again.

But life will throw some other challenges again… you will again need to figure out some other solutions….As Joe Polish says Winners find Ways…..

Till next time…..

Breathing – core to your health Part -II

Affirmative action, Breathing, Health, Human Brain

Yesterday I wrote about how John Nester’s book Breath and Baba Ramdev’s Pranayam exercises have helped me realise the importance of proper breathing.

Today I will just talk about some of the experiments which John Nester speaks about and how I felt after that.

One of the breathing exercises he talks about is 5-6 second inhale and similarly 5-6 second exhale. He’s given various examples of how different religious hymns have a cycle which corresponds to this breathing pattern. I have tried doing this in two ways.

One while moving from one concentrated task to another, I try to keep a gap of about 10 minutes during which I try to break away from my computer screen. During this time I try to focus on this breathing cycle. It helps me in feeling less exhausted from tasks, though I am not sure if this is the only reason but I do think breathing this way helps.

The other time I have experimented with this breathing pattern is just before sleeping. I lie on the bed and for the next few minutes I keep breathing in this manner. Slowly all the thoughts of the day start disappearing as I concentrate on the breathing. I think that is a major benefit. As long as you keep thinking about the events of the day, the brain keeps in hyper drive.

I will add one thing over here though. While doing this breathing pattern, I have in parallel also started writing down all the thoughts which come to me on a piece of paper or on my cell phone for taking action. This could also be helping get my brain to wind down.

If you have trouble getting to sleep in the night, try this and let me know your comments below.

Till next time…..

The Human Brain’s quirkiness

Affirmative action, compounding, Financial Independence, Human Brain

Dr. Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler recently released their new book The Future is Faster Than you Think. Being a voracious reader I have been devouring this book as well. We will keep the details of the book out of this post.

This book is part of a trilogy. Their earlier books Abundance and BOLD were amazing and really make you think that we are living in a world which is much better and safer than what our forefathers ever got. If you have not read these books, I would highly recommend you reading them first before you read this one, because it will give you a context to this book. I read their books also when I am feeling low. These books show you that the world is moving in the right direction and human beings have an ability to bounce back and always pivot to a higher level in life.

What I wanted to share from this new book, The Future is Faster Than you Think, was content of two paras which the authors used and which has stuck to me.

They talk about the medial prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain which gets activated when we think of ourselves. As per them it gets deactivated when we think of others. Surprisingly whenever we think of our future selves it gets deactivated. And the further you project into the future, the more it switches off. Which is why people are not able to save for their retirement because for your brain (medial prefrontal cortex) the person who will benefit from the tough choices you make today is different from you. Now you see the quirkiness even within our own brain. What is supposed to actually get functional when you have to think about yourself, switches off, when you project yourself into the future

The other issue is that our brain does not have the capability to think in exponential and global terms. Due to this anything which is depicted by an exponential equation is difficult for the brain to comprehend.

Which brings me to my fascination with compounding. Compounding in its very nature is exponential in nature. And therefore even though I keep talking about compounding in almost every post, I still find most people read what I write but don’t take action.

Coupled with what I have written earlier about habits, I think that is one of the key reasons why more people are not financially free. They sell time for money and because their brains don’t comprehend compounding they don’t let money work for them.

I once read money is a good “servant” and a bad “master”. So if you can make money work for you by using the laws of compounding, you can aspire for a Future which is much bigger and better than your past.

Till next time then

Carpe Diem!!!

Keep your Systematic Investments Plans (SIPs)

compounding, Financial Independence, Human Brain

The market has gone down and rebounded. That’s the way the market behaves. You don’t know which way it will decide to turn. However the pandemic is real. People losing jobs is real. But more than anything else is the fear psychosis that things will never come back to normal. The media keeps bombarding you with news about the number of cases of Covid 19 which have grown by the hour.

Fact is that the media earns its money by playing on people’s fears. The pandemic is real there’s no doubt. But the human race has always found solutions to the toughest of problems. Ingenuity of human beings is directly proportional to the number of human beings (Julian Simon the Ultimate Resource). Today when we are more than 7 billion people on earth, we have much better lives than when there were 1 billion people on the earth. Sometimes it takes a little longer sometimes not so much.

This virus has been playing games for sometime, and the vaccine is still seeming elusive, so yes there is a lot of uncertainty. But already in most countries we have been able to now reach numbers of people getting cured and getting reported at almost similar levels. A lot of pharma companies are talking about having a vaccine ready by September this year (2020).

So now let’s get to you. If you still have a job – congratulations. You may have the job with reduced salary or normal salary. I don’t know your exact situation. I hope you and your family are safe and healthy.

If you don’t need the money immediately don’t encash your investments – the world will not come to an end. If you can somehow last these next few months without encashing your investments, then you would reap tremendous benefits because compounding will always play a role – Covid or no-Covid. If you let the compounding equation work uninterrupted you will have created a base to hit your financial freedom. If you have just started your investment journey over the last few years, you may not think that there is too much you have been able to accumulate. That is the way of any exponential equation as you will see from the graph above. Its only after the 15-20th period that the numbers suddenly explode. So staying the course till you hit that 15th period or near about is the key to your financial freedom.

In the long run the stock market in India has given 12-15%. So if you have SIPs going on – then when the stock market crashed couple of months back you would have been able to buy a higher number of units with the same amount of money, which means you would now have a higher number of units on which appreciation will happen when the market goes up. And markets in the long run have always gone up. In India because of higher inflation they have been at 12-15% average while in the US it is lower because of lower inflation.

The same logic would hold even if you have Fixed(term ) deposits. If you have a recurring amount getting deducted to invest in a term deposit, please continue similarly. Don’t let the compounding equation break. You may think you will restart later, but the later never comes…..that’s pure human nature.

So whatever investments you have been able to make, keep them as far as possible so that you are on the continuum to take advantage of the compounding equation

Till next time.

Carpe Diem!!!