Courtesy of one of my well connected friends from Delhi, yesterday I got an opportunity to meet one of the most renowned astrologers in India. Legend has it that a former prime minister was a regular at his office. Before I write about my meeting, let me admit that I am somewhat of a reluctant believer when it comes to luck and astrology and all things related. Nevertheless, I did jump on the opportunity of meeting him.

We spoke about things which happened with me in past. Mainly about things I did wrong, where I mostly made profits and suffered losses and about personality traits. We spoke about my odds in the stock market over the next few years and why some people are lucky while others are not when it comes to speculation. It was a delightful talk.

Post this meeting, I can think of many questions which I could have answered better. Before I tell you why, here are some of the questions I received in past:

– “I have the knack of buying the worst stocks. I am convinced, no matter what I buy, it will do badly”.

– “Why are my stocks not making money when the whole market is going up?”

– “What role does education play in stock trading . . . . . . . . does luck play a role in stock investing?”

I did not have a good reply to the first one. The gist of my reply to the second one was that if you pick stocks of fundamentally weak companies, run by bad managers, buried in debt or only for reason that the stock was cheap, then you can’t really blame the rest of the market doing well for your poor selection. Given that I write about financial education, the last of these 3 questions was the toughest one for me to answer. Post this meeting it becomes even more difficult.

I will tell you a little secret today. In school I was not very good at studies. I enjoyed sports and dramatics a lot more than classroom education. This continued while I was in college. During my years as a law student, something changed. I suddenly started enjoying studies. I received a scholarship to study at one of the finest American universities and stood third at the University of Pune that year. How? I was someone who barely got passing grades at school. It seemed unreal, it still does.

Twenty years ago if somebody told me that I will be trading stocks and writing about finance for a living, I would simply not believe him. Is it just accidental or does luck or astrology play a part in life?

The debate is as feisty today as it has ever been. Those who believe in luck or destiny will swear by it and those who believe in free will call them ‘superstitious idiots’.

I think irrespective of whether you believe in luck or you don’t, it can never be an alternative to hard work. If I take the best case for astrology or luck, then sure – may be it can predict where you are most likely to succeed – art, science, philosophy, finance etc.

Again, I am not sure if this is based on an individual’s personality or his stars or whether personality itself is based on stars. I am 100% sure however that you should not avoid doing something that feels right purely because astrologically you are unlikely to succeed at it.

I will give you an example. I was told that until the end of this year, I will make a lot of wealth if I invest in companies which deal with liquids.

How is it that the same company will do well for me but not for the rest of the market participants? The answer I received when I asked this very question was – it will do well for everyone but you are more likely to spot the opportunity. So should I focus my research on liquids? What about all the other stocks? I can tell you at least 3 companies operating in infrastructure that are no brainer.

I guess there is only one way to find out – wait a few years.

Finally, I don’t think you should pay much attention to these things when it comes to making educated decisions or when pursuing your passion. Was I destined to be in finance or did my personality get me here? Either ways the answer remains the same for me. However, something in me tells me that personality goes a long way in carving destiny and not the other way around.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment below.

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