Friday, August 1, 2008

Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

What does Sachin Tendulkar have to do with Investing? I think a lot and to me forms the basis of how I approach investing.

Sachin Tendulkar is a phenomenonal batsman and a thinking cricketer. He clearly the best batsman this country has produced if the not the world. I think he was born gifted and has a amazing sense of timing and hand eye co-ordination. He showed it, way early in his career and progressed by building on it. He is, as I would say a “natural”.

Every single Indian who picks up a bat aspires to be like Sachin Tendulkar. Mother pray and fathers bray in coaxing their litters into wielding the willow. But for every Tendulkar, there are a million who fall by the wayside and are left selling credit cards and writing blogs :-).

Let me examine another cricketer - Rahul Dravid. I wouldn’t by any stretch of imagination call him a natural. Dravid is the hard working, technically correct cricketer who puts in a lot of effort and displays tenacity. He unfortunately is not gifted with the raw natural talent that Sachin has ( This is true for 99.99% of us ). So he has made that up with sheer hard work and getting down to the basics. I would put Anil Kumble in a similar bracket as Dravid.

Dravid will not be as great as Sachin but he has left his indelible mark on Indian cricket.

The problem is that all of us aspire to be like Sachin when we are as talented as Dravid, if not worse. We walk in believing that we are potential god’s gift to mankind and leave the field with dreams shattered and egos hurt.

The key to success is to realise whether you have the natural talent of Sachin and if not, to change tack and become like the hardworking Dravid. Strategy No 2 clearly has a higher probability of success.

So what does this have to do with stockmarkets?
I think most people behave very similar when it comes to the stockmarkets. We all believe that we are the Sachin Tendulkars of the market with inborn insights and natural stock picking abilities.
There are people who have those abilities and I have met people like that. People who have the right instincts in terms of timing the market or the ability to look at a trading screen and see patterns. I have met people who can look at a balance sheet’s and come up with amazing insights.

Unfortunately these people constitute just 0.01 % of the population that exists in the stockmarkets. The remaining 99.99 % of us are not born with natural instincts. And a significant chunk of this population enters the market believing that they are the next Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s of the world.

They leave disheartened and disillusioned by the experience and unfortunately some a lot poorer.

The way I look at the markets for myself is to position myself as a Dravid ( Knowing fairly well that I m not a Sachin). Nudging here and there, scoring those singles and twos and hopefully a few fours and sixes along the way.

The key to scoring runs is to retain your wicket or your portfolio to play the next day.


Rohit Chauhan said...

this has been an area of interest for me i.e are geniuses or highly talented individuals in any fields born that way or do they develop into that through hardword and determination

i have written on it on my blog. read the book - growth mindset by carol dweck who has done considerable research on it. also there was a detailed article on this in fortune sometime back which also spoke about tiger woods

key point - natural talent is not as critical in determining success as the ability to learn and determination. people like tiger woods and sachin tendulakr (a friend used to play with him as a teenager) put an immense effort and are clearly passionate.

i think that more than anything determines success

Ninad Kunder said...


I think we need to differentiate between geniuses/ talented individuals and successful individuals. A high IQ need not necessarily translate into success. I m sure there are enough individuals with prodigious talent like Sachin’s who never make it in life. Clearly it is just not the talent but also the effort, temperament and maturity in him as a individual that has made him successful. There is enuf talent which has lost its way. Case in point is someone like Vinod Kambli.

I personally think there are individuals who are born with prodigous talent in all streams like a Amadeus Mozart, Michelangelo, Ramanujan, Pele, Einstein, R D Burman, A R Rehman etc but they really are the outliers who fall beyond the six sigma. Most people who are successful are within the six sigma range but very high in attitude, values and determination.

Success to me is 1% intelligence and 99% attitude. The 1% intelligence/ talent is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition.

Will try to lay my hands on the book that you suggested.


Manish Chauhan said...

This was a good article , gave good insight ...

Manish Chauhan

income.portfolio said...


You said it correctly. Talent/gifted vs hard work - both can lead to success.

I would add that - talent/gift standalone cannot give you success. Taking your example, about Sachin T, he is gifted and talented, do you believe he is not hard work? I think he is hard working, thinking, honest to cricketing skills, etc. The degree of hard work is perhaps different. Another talented one is across the border called akhtar... 5 years down the like nobody will perhaps talk about him.....

Rahul D. is hard working and his talent is ability to focus, concentrate, etc

So you need both together to succeed.

Ninad Kunder said...

Hi Income.portfolio

I am not at any stage saying that Sachin is not a hard working crickter as a matter of fact I believe he is. And raw talent itself cant take u all the way. We dont need Akhtar for that Vinod Kambli is a case in point.

Its just that some of us have it naturally and hence may need to work less harder at it than others.

Investing to me in the long run and I mean covering multiple bull bear market cycles ( Performance in one cycle means nothing to me) is about hard work.

Intelligence is a necessay condition but not a suffcient condition.



income.portfolio said...

NK: thanks