Ten Golden Nuggets

If I draw the frequency distribution of all the human achievements in the scale of 0 to 1 most likely I will get a bell curve as shown below. On the extreme right you will find people like Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Mother Teresa having an achievement score of 1. On the extreme left you will find people like Adolf Hitler and Bernie Madoff having a score of 0. For us to get a decent achievement score in life all we need to do is to emulate the qualities of people on extreme right and avoid the qualities of people on extreme left. It’s that simple. Here are ten golden nuggets which I collected from several places and in this post I am sharing them with you.


1. Build a solid foundation

In order to build a sky scrapper you need to lay a solid foundation. Similarly to get a decent achievement score you need to have a healthy body. How Rockefeller lived to 97? He avoids all worry. He takes plenty of exercise in open air. And he gets up from the table a little hungry. Also make sure you avoid eating crap. You were given exactly one container for this life, and the quickest way to damage it is by consistently eating lab-concocted, food-like substances pumped full of chemicals, hormones, and fake nutrition. Simply eat real food that came from something previously living in a recognizable form. [Source: Brent Beshore]

2. Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty

It’s not something you do just to advance in life. As a corollary to that proposition which is very important, it means that you are hooked for lifetime learning. And without lifetime learning, you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you learn after you leave here. [Source: Munger; USC 2007]

Read, read, read. Read about the great successes and great failures. And apply what you read to a framework of mental models. Learn to think like Charlie Munger. Learn social psychology. If you want to become wise and wealthy, you can’t do without it. [Source: Prof Bakshi]

3. Wisdom acquisition is hard and you need to rag the problem

In studying Law or Physick, or any other Art or Science, by which you propose to get your Livelihood, though you find it at first hard, difficult and unpleasing, use Diligence, Patience and Perseverance; the Irksomeness of your Task will thus diminish daily, and your Labour shall finally be crowned with Success. You shall go beyond all your Competitors who are careless, idle or superficial in their Acquisitions, and be at the Head of your Profession. Ability will command Business, Business Wealth; and Wealth an easy and honorable Retirement when Age shall require it. [Source: Benjamin Franklin]

4. After acquiring wisdom act legally and also morally

We must continue to measure every act against not only what is legal but also what we would be happy to have written about on the front page of a national newspaper in an article written by an unfriendly but intelligent reporter. [Source: Buffett; Newspaper Test]

5. Why risk what you have and need for what we don’t have and don’t need

Massively underspend your income. Avoid Debt. Think what you do when you run into debt; you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay on time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor pitiful sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity, and sink into base downright lying. [Source: Benjamin Franklin]

6. Avoid Procrastination one of the deadliest of diseases

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again. [Source: Benjamin Franklin]

7. Avoid Envy and Jealousy; zero upside and infinite downside

The idea of caring that someone is making money faster than you are is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on the trolley? [Source: Munger; Psychology]

8. Help Others; All of us are made up of atoms

When you can, do something good for the next generations and not just your kids and grandkids. [Source: Prof Bakshi]

9. Life will have terrible blows

Life will have terrible blows in it, horrible blows, unfair blows. And some people recover and others don’t. And there I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He said that every missed chance in life was an opportunity to behave well, every missed chance in life was an opportunity to learn something, and that your duty was not to be submerged in self-pity, but to utilize the terrible blow in constructive fashion. [Source: Munger; USC 2007]

10. Be thankful for what you got

I am sometimes taken aback by how people can have a miserable day or get angry because they feel cheated by a bad meal, cold coffee, a social rebuff or a rude reception. We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance of occurrence of monstrous proportions. Imagine a speck of dust next to a planet a billion times the size of earth. The speck of dust represents the odds in favor of your being born; the huge planet would be the odds against it. So stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t be like the ingrate who got a castle as a present and worried about the mildew in the bathroom. Stop looking at the gift horse in the mouth – remember you are a Black Swan. [Source: Taleb; The Black Swan]

12 thoughts on “Ten Golden Nuggets

  1. Thanks Jana for putting this together. “Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty”. What a powerful statement. I dont think I will forget this.
    Keep up your awesome work. Happy New year.

  2. Great stuff Jana – this is the first time I’m visiting your site, courtesy Vishal from Safal Niveshak.
    I really appreciate the time and attention that you took to put these thoughts into one single post. Thank you for your generosity!

  3. Good. Simple. Honest post.
    I though prefer not to read “how to” stuff or books. But yours post I found good for its honesty and freshness. I strongly believe that fictions are a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom. Give it a sincere try Jana, you will be amazed. Try local and regional literature first. You might have done that already. Another mysterious trait in us is ‘intuition’ It always surprises me.

  4. Hey Jana

    First of all wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR…may the new year bring a lot out in terms of learning to you and us as well.Another great write up from you

    By the way Jana I have referred your name to one Amirta Raje…if that does not offend you,she has settled in US and I gave your reference for learning and understanding about US markets.

    And Thanks for dishing out one gem after another.

  5. Hi Jana,

    Thanks for the compilation.

    Regarding your message to learn from the heroes and avoid the qualities of the zeroes, just a thought that even the zeroes would have something special, something positive which we can learn from them. If not for that, I think they would have been average as well.

    Best regards,

  6. Point 5 “Massively underspend your income”. This could possibly lead to great wealth if we also invest the extra wisely. Like the post.

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