June 22, 2016

Why Looking at P/E Ratio to Buy a Stock is Not a Good Idea?

The P/E ratio is highly revered by investors.

It has acquired almost a cult-like status among the pantheon of financial metrics and ratios that are commonly used.

However, looking at P/E ratio to buy a stock may not be a very good idea.

The P in the P/E ratio refers to the stock price.

And as we know stock price fluctuates throughout the trading hours and across the trading days, at times showing extreme volatility.

So which price should ideally be taken as P?

Using value of P based on any consideration is not appropriate. P/E ratio can be made to swing wildly depending on what value of P is chosen!

The E in the P/E ratio refers to EPS (Earning Per Share).

Again EPS can be calculated in various ways.

EPS can be based on latest quarter, latest year, average of last "n" quarters, average of last "n" years or some arbitrarily chosen time period.

The above is not very helpful.

An alternative approach would be to take quarter-wise EPS for the last 3 years (basically last 12 quarters) and calculate exponentially weighted average EPS.

Let is call this EW-12Qtr-Avg-EPS.

In case EPS for any quarter is less than zero, it should ring the alarm bell very noisily. In such a case buying a stock may not be a very good idea. Even  EPS should not be computed.

Assuming non-zero EPS in the last 12 quarters, the EW-12Qtr-Avg-EPS can be calculated.

To be on the safer side the minimum of EPS in the last 12 quarters can be taken.

Let us call this Min-12Qtr-EPS.

Now, suppose the goal is to earn a certain percentage return, say R%.

In that case, the stock price which will allow R% returns to be made can be calculated as:

P <= (EW-12Qtr-Avg-EPS) / R

or P <= (Min-12Qtr-EPS) / R

The second equation is more conservative and hence will provide higher margin of safety.

The side effect will be that many more stocks will fall outside the "buy-able" zone as compared to the case when first equation is applied!

P in the above two equations is the maximum price that can be paid to purchase the stock so that returns are >=R%

Let us take an example.

Suppose EW-12Qtr-Avg-EPS for company A is USD 10. Also suppose the investor wants to earn 10% return (over the long-term horizon).

In such a case, the stock purchase price should be less than USD 100.

The higher the price above the above amount, the lower the returns will be.

Note - Inverse of P/E is also called as Earnings Yield (E/P). A simple look at E/P ratio can easily show that as P goes up earnings yield goes down!

Why Its Important to Reach that Stage in Life Fast Where You Can Bluntly Tell "F**k You" When Someone Says "You are Fired" or Pisses You Off?

You and your current standard of living is loosely connected together by a very uncertain, thin and fragile thread.

Can you guess what this thread is?

It's called a job.

This would be true if you are like most of the people. People who lack the f**k you money!

Why its important to reach that stage in life fast where you can bluntly tell "F**k You" when someone says "You are Fired" or pisses you off.

The answer is simple and pretty obvious.

No one should tolerate non-sense.

But you have to if you have no choice but to tolerate it. And why you need to tolerate?

You will need to tolerate non-sense because you haven't built the fortress of f**k you money. If you have one, you can tell any assh**e to f**k you!

As simple as that.

Building your own fortress of f**k you money should be your number one priority in life till you have it.

A fortress that is solid, secure and stuffed with cash is what gives you enough strength to fight the battle of life, and to easily dismiss non-sense people who come into your life.

A fortress that is solid, secure and stuffed with cash also allows you the luxury to do only those things you want to.

It gives you the choice to work because you want to not because you need to!

Imagine how confident you would be knowing fully well that you own a fortress that is solid, secure and stuffed with cash

So have you got started on your journey to reach that stage in life fast where you can bluntly tell "F**k You" when someone says "You are Fired" or pisses you off?

If not, don't wait to get started. Start now. Start immediately.

Start right now.

June 20, 2016

Why Attain Financial Freedom? How Can Minimalism Help Attain Financial Freedom?

What is the meaning of attaining financial freedom?

Attaining financial freedom means you have reached a state in your life where you have earned enough money so that you can stop working if you wish to.

It can help you gain a new-found confidence about yourself.

It can help you live a life full of candor.

You can do things to your liking.

Attaining financial freedom can help in following ways as well:
  • You can avoid people who piss you off
  • You can choose whether to work or not
  • You can choose whom to work for
  • You can live a comfortable life
  • You can buy the stuff you need
Combining financial freedom with minimalism is a very powerful way to live life.

Minimalism can help you attain financial freedom much faster.

Minimalism removes you away from buying needless stuff which directly goes to augment your pool of money and hence it can grow much faster than otherwise.

Minimalism also sharpens the focus on living simple life, eating simple food and enjoying life experiences over accumulating more and more stuff.

The above can help you spend less on stuff and also be more healthy. All this helps grow the pool of money faster.

Most importantly, combining financial freedom and minimalism can increase your happiness manifold. It can make you feel better and lighter about yourself.

The Inner Circle and the Outsiders

Small-sized, non-professional, coterie-managed organizations can get on to the nerves of any professional who commits the grave mistake of joining them (even by mistake).

The top man in such organizations forms and cunningly nurtures an inner circle (coterie) of stooges around him which can be an amusing sight but can cause a lot of professional pain to the outsiders.

They would belittle you, play dirty games behind your back, do secret talks behind closed doors, and would come across as idiots with "holier than thou" attitude.

The top man will meet his stooges and issue them commands which are taken by the stooges as a decree. The stooges will not loose a moment and lie all prostrate at the feet of their master!

Once in a while the master will throw bones at the stooges and the stooges will be more than happy to grab it and then lick the bone all over. And they will lick the feet of their master too.

Some of the stooges are hard-core assh***s. For them their master is supreme and they have no brain of their own. They are thoroughly incompetent to the core but fiercely loyal to the master.

The master does love his stooges. And distributes goodies to them to keep them loyal and keep on licking his feet whenever he commands them to.

And what about the Outsiders?

Well they are treated by the inner circle with an approach that is grossly immature and unprofessional. The poor outsiders are put into messy situations by the stooges.

The outsiders should not stay in such an organization and should try to leave at the earliest possible. The outsiders should be prepared to be in for a rough time.

For the outsiders the experience of working in such an organization can be a harrowing experience.

They should not die fighting and must prepare to move on!

It is a wise idea not to loose your life while fighting with the inner circle. The top man and his stooges are all powerful in such an organization and fighting them is foolish.

So if you and outsider, tighten your belt and run for dear life. Run away from the inner circle as soon as possible and as far as possible.

Run!

June 19, 2016

Key Financial Terms and Ratios that are Useful for Evaluating Stocks - Part 2

Read Part 1 here:
Key Financial Terms and Ratios that are Useful for Evaluating Stocks - Part 1

Here are some more financial terms and ratios that can be further analyzed to determine the long-term prospects of the stock:
  • ROS (Return On Sales) - is the earnings of the company as against the sales/revenues done by the company.
  • ATO (Asset Turn Over) - is the sales/revenue generated by the company as against the assets it has. Higher ATO means an efficient business model where assets are effectively utilized to generate higher sales/revenues.
  • OCF (Operating Cash Flow) - is the cash generated from the operations. It is important that the company's cash comes from operations and not "other sources".
  • CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) - is the cash invested to create new assets or replace old and obsolete assets. Assets are utilized by the company to conduct its business operations that generate revenues and profits.
  • FCF (Free Cash Flow) - is the hard cash that is generated by the company. This is derived from the Cash Flow Statement and is calculated as OCF minus CAPEX.
  • TDB (Total Debt Burden) - is a measure of the total debt on the company and includes both interest and principal component. Too much of debt is a risky proposition for any company. In bad times, too much debt can result in bankruptcy and the company eventually going out of business. 
  • TIB (Total Interest Burden) - is a measure of the total interest on debt on the company. Not being in a position to pay even the interest on debt is a serious issue for any company and indicates that the company is on its way to bankruptcy.
  • DBR (Debt Burden Ratio) - is a measure of whether the company is earning enough to repay its loans. It is calculated as the ratio of  TDB to the FCF. This number indicates whether enough hard cash is being generated for repaying the interest and principal component that are due for payment.
  • DSCR (Debt Service Coverage Ratio) - is a measure of whether the company is generating enough profit to be in a position to take care of its debt liabilities. Debt here means both interest and principal component. It is calculated as the ratio of TDB and NPM.
  • ISCR (Interest Service Coverage Ratio) - is a measure of whether the company is generating enough profit to be in a position to take care of its interest on debt liabilities. It is calculated as the ratio of TIB and NPM.

How Would You Look Back at Your Life When You are Just One Week or Two Away from Your Death?

Suppose you are just one week or two away from your death. Now, think about this question - how would you look back at your life?

Would you be in a good mood and willing to die happily because you have no regrets as you lived all through in a way you always wanted to?

Or would you be sad and in a sulky mood and like to be given some more time (weeks, or rather years!) so that you can now live it the way you always wanted to but somehow never did?

Think hard.

This is not just a million dollar question, it is actually an infinite dollar question. In fact, this is the only question that really matters.

For you as an individual, what you did after you were born and till you are not dead is really what really matters at the end of it all.

Nothing else in this world truly matters.

Now suppose, you talk to someone who has seen many deaths, not tens and hundreds but 12000.

Following article culled out the learning of one man who saw 12000 (yes, that's 12000 only) deaths.

http://projectfuel.in/blog/2016/05/15/12-life-lessons-from-a-man-who-has-seen-12000-deaths/

And what did he think of the key life lessons? The above article lists down 12 of them all of which are so very important.

Here are three messages, from the above article, which though very counter-intuitive can be (and perhaps should be) put into practice almost immediately for a "purposeful" life:

Message 1 - Simplicity is the truth of life - A simple life, as he explains, can be attained by spending less. We spend more to accumulate more and thus create more need. To find contentment in less is the secret to having more.

This is really talking about minimalism and couldn't have been said any better.

If you look around, however, you have been told just the exact opposite all this while - you have been told the purpose of life is to get a good job, buy a bigger house, a nicer car and expensive clothes.

This also provides yet another reason for adopting minimalism as explained in an earlier post on this blog on minimalism: What Makes Minimalism a Powerful Way to Live Life?.

Simple, minimalist life will take you away from the tendency to accumulate more and more stuff and consequently increase your happiness. It is useful to become aware of the fact that stuff doesn't make you happy.

You should buy and use only those "stuff" that are essential and bring joy and happiness to your life. In addition, by doing this you will help the environment as well immensely.

Message 2 - Acceptance is liberation - Indifference, avoidance, and denial of a certain truth, Shukla believes, cause anxiety; they develop a fear of that thing in the person. Instead, accept the situation so you are free to think what you want to do about it and how. Acceptance will liberate you and empower you.

Stretching and reaching out is fine but only till a certain extent.

If you look around, however, you have been told just the exact opposite all this while - you have been told nothing is impossible, you should have it here and now and that you should never, ever give up.

This is another powerful message. It is important to always remember this - Don't Try Too Hard. You shouldn't keep on trying for the greed of the outcome and should focus only on taking the actions that are possible without killing yourself.

As Oliver Goldsmith, the famous Irish novelist, playwright and poet, so rightly said:

“He who fights and runs away, May live to fight another day;
But he who is battle slain, Can never rise to fight again”

One way to avoid falling into the outcome trap is to dilute your outcome orientation by being aware of the message from Bhagvad Geeta: Karmanya Vadhikaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadachan.

Focus on actions and forget about the outcome.

Message 3 - If/When you find your purpose, do something about it - To have awareness about one’s calling is great, but only if you do something about it. A lot of people, Shukla says, know their purpose but don’t do anything about realising it, making it come to life.

You should live your life in a way you really want to so that if you have to die today you will embrace your death happily.

If you look around, however, you have been told just the exact opposite all this while - you have been told to live your life as per the standard template that means go to school, get a job, buy lot of stuff to have a comfortable life.

This is yet another powerful message. Consider this - Your Life is Lucky If You are Getting to Live It as You Would Want to Live It. So are you lucky?

Knowing your true calling in life is a great revelation. Knowing what you would want to do in life and then trying to do that is such a wonderful thing.

You never know, but it is possible that you fail to live your life the way you would want to but that's alright. Even trying in that direction is wonderful.

It is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.

As Mark Twain, the famous American author and humorist, so rightly said:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

So in summary, here are the three messages explained above:
  • Live a simple, minimalist life
  • Focus on action, not outcome
  • Find your true calling in life and go after it!

June 18, 2016

How to Retire Really Quick? And How Quick is Really Quick?

Retiring really quick is worth it, whichever way one looks at it. So how quick is really quick?

Assuming you start earning at the age of 22, in that case how fast can you manage to retire? By age 50? Or 40? Or 30? Or still better, 27?

There are many people who have managed to attain financial freedom which means they have accumulated enough capital to last more than a life-time and that has essentially given them the golden choice to retire should they want to.

They now live life from the level of f**k you!

One of the inspirational stories for anyone wanting to become financially independent is the story of Jacob.

Here's what the "About me" page on his blog (http://earlyretirementextreme.com/about) says:

"Current networth (2016) : 117 years worth of annual expenses.

My name is Jacob. My greatest claim to fame and overall impact on the world is probably this blog and the concept of ERE.


Before that I used to be a nuclear astrophysicist, but in reality I’ve done many other different and (to me) interesting things and my aim is to continue this way of life for the rest of my life. Never getting bored.

ERE is much much more than just “retiring extremely early” by “sacrificing travel and expensive restaurants”. It is effectively a philosophy of life." 


Read the above again, more carefully this time - this guy has managed to accumulate 117 years worth of annual expenses.

That's phenomenal, especially given most of the working folks are barely able to survive and are living paycheck to paycheck to paycheck.

Living paycheck to paycheck to paycheck is like playing musical chairs where you are in trouble when the music stops and you don't get to sit on one of the chairs.

You are out.

Elsewhere in the blog, Jacob also talks about how he manged to become financially independent in 5 years. That's nothing short of pure magic. 5 years is unimaginable.

Lot of people who have worked for 10-15 years are still not in a position to  become financially independent in next 5 years. They need another 10-15 years or maybe more.

This story is truly inspirational.

For understanding how this was done and learning from this real experience, read this amazing story at: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/how-i-became-financially-independent-in-5-years-part-i.html.

Here's what the above blog post says:

"My journey towards financial independence was not always with financial independence in mind per se.

Had that been my sole goal all a long I would have done things differently and probably faster e.g. 3-4 years instead of 5.

If I had a six figure income, which I never had, I would be able to do it in 2 or 3 years."

Read that again, it says it is possible to attain financial freedom in 2 or 3 years.

That means if you start working when you are 22, you are done when you become 25.

That's seemingly crazy but certainly possible as it looks like, provided you understand and follow the ERE principles.

June 17, 2016

How Handling an Assh*** Can Make You a Better Person?

When you handle an assh***, be it at your workplace (where they are most commonly found and in large numbers at that), in your neighborhood, in a public place like a bus stop or in your family it should be seen as a blessing in disguise.

An assh*** can make you into one yourself if you let it. Or it can make you a better person if you strive for that.

Assh***s at workplace are extremely hard to tackle. Their toxicity is so hard to avoid.

How do you recognize an assh*** when you meet one at your workplace?
  • They would write needless emails with deliberate and malicious agenda
  • They are part of the coterie and a stooge of the top man
  • They would meet people on the sly to collect information to discredit and demean you
  • They go on lunch with other ass***s (so now you know when it's easy to count them all)
  • They would suck the toes, lick the boots and lie prostrate in front of the king of the stooges
  • They would cut others down so that they can grow
  • They carry an artificial and fake smile like a Cheshire cat
  • They ooze toxicity and negativity in their emails
  • They would create more assh***s in their own teams
So how can handling an assh*** at workplace make you a better person? In several ways in fact and here are some of those:
  • You develop a lot of patience. The irrational tantrums and the toxicity of an assh*** slowly starts amusing you rather than causing you any concern
  • You realize that the world is a nasty place full of poisonous snakes (read assh***s) and accept the world as it is rather than as it should be
  • You start analyzing life in a much wider sense and with a deeper appreciation and understand fully well how small things make the big things
  • You become increasingly positive to fight the negativity caused by the assh*** and maintain complete balance in your mind
  • You don't say anything at all when you know you would say something nasty to the assh*** and rightly so (it is better to say nothing when you would want to say something bad only)
  • You acquire philosophical outlook in life and look at things from an altogether different but very positive perspective
  • You never reply to bullshit emails from an assh***s in kind and make sure you retain positivism and professionalism come what may
Remember an assh*** is an assh*** is an assh*** and will remain that way forever. You should never be one or become one. Life is too short for you to live it as an asshole.

There are better ways to spend the 80-100 odd years you have been gifted by God. Don't live it like an assh*** would. Live it in a nice an positive way. That's the only way that's worth it.

Why Educating Kids in India is Economically a Bad Idea and How is it Ruining their Parent's Retirement Plan?

India is a poor country.

The GNI (Gross National Income) per capita using Atlas method (used by the World Bank to estimate the size of economies) in terms of current US$ in 2014 for India was USD 1570.

(Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD/countries/IN-8S-XN?display=graph)

That roughly translates to INR 102050 (assuming 1 USD = 65 INR at current rates).

Note - the above numbers haven't been adjusted for the same time period and for this post that is not really that relevant.

So an average Indian family of 4 members will be having an annual income of INR 408200. Ignoring the taxes altogether, this would mean the monthly income comes to around INR 34017.

Is that good enough to educate your kids and then be in a position where you will still have enough left to spend money on the essential stuff?

Looking at the abnormal school fees, the above would be a herculean task.

How much money is needed to educate a kid in a school in India in a city like Delhi and Gurgaon?

Assuming an average monthly fee of INR 10000 (which includes fees, annual charges, books, stationary, uniform, charges for events like annual day, school bus) for two kids the yearly expenses will come to be INR 240000. Or around 59% of yearly income!

Which mean for the 15 years of school education (Play Group, LKG, UKG and then from class I to class XII) the total cost for one kid would come to an astounding amount of  INR 18 lacs.

So how will the family eat? how will they pay home rent or home loan EMI or both, in some cases? how will they pay water and electricity bills? how will they pay for doctor's fees and medicine? how will they pay bus and auto fares?

The list of even the essential stuff is really too long. And the costs would be much higher than what a comfortable number should like.

This shows something is clearly wrong. When 59% of an average Indian family's income is needed for kid's education it has a drastically adverse on their overall standard of living.

The other problem is as severe as the one above. This has a direct, negative impact on the parent's retirement plan also.

Given the lack of social security in India, the problem gets compounded many times for  an average Indian parent. They find life tough now and will find it perhaps even tougher in the future!

Where is the money to save and invest for retirement?

Saving and investing for retirement is slowly becoming a dream that may alas remain a dream for many of the parents in India.

There was a song in movie which had the following lines:

Where is the time to hate, when there is so little time to love
Come on let' s sing sing sing

Come on let' s dance dance dance
Come on have fun fun fun 

(Source - http://www.hindilyrics.net/lyrics/of-Where%20Is%20The%20Time%20To%20Hate.html)

For parents in India this could be written as:

Where is the money for retirement, when there is so little money for living now
Come on let' s cry cry cry (what else is there to do?)

Come on let' s pray pray pray (to God, who else?)
Come on have fun fun fun (this part shouldn't change!)

May the force be with the parents in India. May they get more money. May they be in a position to save some for retirement as well.

It is Very Crude to Flaunt that You are a Part of the Coterie

Have you come across an ass blatantly flaunting that he belongs to an exclusive group?

It is rude. It is crude too. And it is abominable and highly obnoxious as well.

This happens in organizations that are run by a coterie. Not all, but some of those who are a part of the coterie seem to take things too seriously. That is funny at the best and toxic at the worst.

And for all you know, this group of coterie is given a nice name - management committee!

Howsoever crass and absurd it may be, the others generally have no choice but to tolerate and bear the stupid antics, superior but loathsome attitude and toxic actions of the coterie.

The real problem may actually be with the head of the coterie. She is the one who forms and nurtures the coterie, creates an unprofessional set-up where loyalty is everything and merit has no place.

She is also the one who creates artificial reporting structures to ensure the comfort zone around her remains unchallenged and unchanged.

Others may not have respect for the coterie but then have no choice. And the mantra they ought to follow is very simple - lick the coterie's boots or run away in their own boots.

If you have self-respect and you are professional, you should run away in your own boots. And if you are good for nothing and a loyalist then you must lick the coterie's boots so that they don't fire you and you get to keep your boots!

However, if you don't like it but are not able to move out then you are seriously stuck.

You may hate every time you have to interact with the coterie and their head but unless you have an option in hand you will remain a wage slave.

It is undoubtedly very hard to survive when you are stuck in a toxic workplace infested with coterie culture. It is very hard but then you must wait it out till you have an option.

That's a smart choice but yes the going till then is going to be a tough one!

And yes, it's true: it is very crude to flaunt that you are a part of the coterie. That makes others loose respect for you and makes them leave as well.

June 16, 2016

9 Nuggets from the Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh on Work Life Balance

The human civilization is currently passing through an age which is dominated by huge business corporations that create wealth majorly for the capitalists and a little bit for the "workers".

The idea behind paying decent wages to the workers is to sustain and augment the middle class which is the pivot on which consumerism runs.

In addition, the current education system has perhaps been designed to serve as an assembly line for continuously producing "corporate rats" to keep the huge business corporations running.

Work life balance is perhaps the biggest dilemma the corporate rats have to always contend with. In this context, there is this Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh on work life balance which is an excellent take on this subject.

The term "work life" seems to give an impression that work and life are disjoint sets. However, it is more appropriate to view work as a sub-set of life!

Here are 9 nuggets from Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh:
  • I'd like all of you to pause for a moment, you wretched weaklings, and take stock of your miserable existence. Now that was the advice that St. Benedict gave his rather startled followers in the fifth century. It was the advice that I decided to follow myself when I turned 40.
  • So I stepped back from the workforce, and I spent a year at home with my wife and four young children. But all I learned about work-life balance from that year was that I found it quite easy to balance work and life when I didn't have any work.
  • And the reality of the society that we're in is there are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like.
  • We should stop looking outside. It's up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don't design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance.
  • We need to elongate the time frame upon which we judge the balance in our life, but we need to elongate it without falling into the trap of the "I'll have a life when I retire, when my kids have left home, when my wife has divorced me, my health is failing, I've got no mates or interests left." A day is too short; "after I retire" is too long. There's got to be a middle way.
  • Now I don't mean to mock, but being a fit 10-hour-a-day office rat isn't more balanced; it's more fit. Lovely though physical exercise may be, there are other parts to life - there's the intellectual side; there's the emotional side; there's the spiritual side.
  • As I was walking out of his bedroom, he said, "Dad?" I went, "Yes, mate?" He went, "Dad, this has been the best day of my life, ever." I hadn't done anything, hadn't taken him to Disney World or bought him a Playstation. 
  • Now my point is the small things matter. Being more balanced doesn't mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.
  • Because if enough people do it, we can change society's definition of success away from the moronically simplistic notion that the person with the most money when he dies wins, to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like.

June 13, 2016

Science On Sphere (SOS) Show at National Science Museum, New Delhi



The Science On Sphere (SOS) Show at National Science Museum, New Delhi was inaugurated in June month of year 2016.

It shows various facets of earth and the solar system. It also beautifully explains what makes life possible on earth and helps sustain it.

It also provides a grim reminder that unless human beings conserve planet earth it is slowly hurtling towards extinction like what happened to Dinosaurs ages ago!





June 12, 2016

How to Start Worrying Less or Better Stop Worrying At All?



This is a very important question: why do we worry in general?

And here's another equally important question: why do we worry so much on certain occasions?

The real reason is the fear of loss.

It could be the fear of loss of one or more of the following:
  • Loss of your job which may be lousy but which you desperately need to cling on to so as to be able to pay for your living expenses (this pertains to the money you need to buy food, pay home rent/EMI and sundry bills like water, electricity, gas).
  • Loss of someone you like and love temporarily or even worse permanently maybe because of death (the someone can include your family, friends and other social connects).
  • Loss of time that you could have spent in a better way (the time here pertains to time spent waiting in a queue, meeting someone you hate at the core but can't avoid, time working at a job with ass-like colleagues you can't stand even for a second).
  • Loss of stuff that you bought to make your life better (washing machine, refrigerator, some gadget to connect to Internet but no TV).
  • Loss of health leading to not only unnecessary expenses but also physical and mental discomfort (this pertains to being in a position to lead life independently both in a physical and mental sense which means you are not either in and out of a hospital or a mental asylum).
  • Loss of spiritual, emotional, physical and sexual relation with your life partner (it is painful to be in a relation with your life-partner which is merely social, economic and legal in nature).
  • Loss of ability to pay for the big expenses in life (this would include the big ticket items that cost a truck-load of cash like retirement pool, kid's education, kid's marriage, medical emergencies, accidents, legal cases slapped on you).
  • Loss of social and economic status owing to macro-economic forces, major goof-ups made by you, unethical practices you or someone else indulged in, or plain bad luck.
It is essentially your assessment of one of more of the above losses having high likelihood that causes fear and hence makes you worry.

So how to start worrying less or better stop worrying at all?

One of the ways to do that is to understand what types of losses are in your control and what are not.

And then focus on the losses where you have some level of control on and forget about the rest.

Wherever you have control you should take the right action but leave the final outcome to itself.

Remember there's really nothing that is under your full control!

Outcome is determined by your action, factors beyond your control and some kind of an "X factor" that you may not even know is there in the first place.

A very helpful approach to use is Karmanya Vadhikaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadachan.

The essence of this approach is not to lust after a favorable outcome but to focus on the right action, come what may.

Just think of it, only your action is in your control. The final outcome is never!

June 4, 2016

Merit of Fairness to Everyone and Demerit of Coterie Culture



Tulsidas was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher.

Here are two famous couplets (doha - दोहा) from him that dwell beautifully on the merit of fairness to everyone and demerit of coterie culture.

Merit of Fairness to Everyone

मुखिया मुख सों चाहिये, खान पान को एक |
पाले पोसे सकल अंग, तुलसी सहित विवेक | |

अर्थ : तुलसीदास जी कहते हैं कि मुखिया मुख के समान होना चाहिए जो खाता-पिता तो अकेला है, लेकिन सब अंगों का पालन-पोषण विवेकपूर्वक करता है |

Meaning :

The head of a family or an organization should be like the mouth. Though the mouth indulges in drinking and feeding only by itself it takes cares of the other parts of the body in a fair and judicious manner so that the body as a whole functions properly.

The idea is that the head of a family or an organization should know fully well that every member or employee needs to be taken care of in a fair and judicious manner for the whole system to function effectively.

Demerit of Coterie Culture

मंत्री गुरु अरु वैद जो, प्रिय बोलहिं भय आस |
राज  धरम तन तीनि कर होहिं वेगि हो नास ||

अर्थ : गोस्वामीजी कहते हैं कि मंत्री, गुरु और वैद्य यदि भय या लाभ की आशा से हित की बात न कहकर प्रिय बोलते हैं तो क्रमशः राज्य, धर्म एवं शरीर का शीघ्र ही नाश हो जाता है |

Meaning :

If a king's advisor, a spiritual guru or a medical doctor suggests something nice (but not really right and appropriate) due to either fear or greed then it leads to decline of the state, religion and body respectively.

Everyone should use their expertise in an unbiased manner and based on the facts and not indulge in flattery due to either fear or freed.

The idea is that in an organization where the top man promotes coterie culture and his stooges indulge in flattery due to either fear or freed then the organization will stop growing and stagnate, gradually decline and eventually close down.

June 3, 2016

It's All in the Family - Do You Feel So About Your Place of Work?

Well, if you do so, welcome to the real world.

A world where some people at your place of work literally get on to your nerves.

A world where you find asses having a great time.

A world where you see Cheshire cats showing their smartness.

And a world where some people get something which they don't really deserve.

The "All in the Family" kind of culture at your place of work will throw following strange situations at you:
  •     Some people are more like college friends than colleagues
  •     Some people do just one thing - scratch each others' back
  •     Some people are no more than a a bloody club of mutual admirers
  •     Some people are like stooges of the top dog
  •     Some people operate as a close-knit coterie
It's all in the family means:
  • The coterie of the top man and his stooges are more like a family of asses than professional colleagues
  • The coterie gets a royal treatment
  • The coterie is a like an extended family on the weekends
  • The coterie protects each others' backs
  • The coterie stays quiet when one of the members is found wanting
  • The coterie spews venom against an outsider when they sense an opportunity and if they don't get an opportunity they create one
  • The coterie goes for lunch together like a family does!
  • The coterie maintains secrecy and holds lot of information close to their chest
  • The coterie talks behind the back of outsiders and creates wrong impressions and perceptions
  • The coterie is disconnected from the ground reality
  • The coterie takes decisions with utmost secrecy and with a hidden, evil agenda

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