What’s your gift?

Over the last three years, since I started blogging, I have been collecting a lot of amazing YouTube super videos. You can find them all here. The recent one that I added to my collection is “Lessons From the Great Minds of Investing”, Google talk given by William Green. If you haven’t listened to this talk then I would highly encourage you to do so. I enjoyed the entire talk and in particular the part in which he talks about Mohnish Pabrai and his Dakshana Foundation [40:00 to 46:00 minutes]. I have transcribed the part which deeply touched my heart.

If I’m to have a really happy and fulfilled life, it’s not going to come because I have a yacht. It’s actually going to come because I figured out how to help other people and how to make other people’s lives more complete. And so the thought that I would leave you with is just that you should think about your Dakshana. What’s your gift? How do your take your particular gift that you have – you’re all incredibly smart people – how do you take your abilities and figure out what do I do with this to make a difference in other people’s lives? And I think you do this not because you’re necessarily Mother Teresa or Gandhi, it’s because you’re tilting the playing field in your direction. You’re stacking the odds in your favor so that you can have a happy and successful and meaningful life. – William Green

Over the last few years I have been working really hard to deepen my knowledge in the field of value investing. I firmly believe in the statement – “If you want to master something, teach it”. Over the last six months, I taught value investing for two batches. For the first batch, I took the course for free. And for the second batch, I took the course as an Adult and Community Education teacher.

Even though I didn’t charge anything, the first batch students gifted me books worth of $1,000. For the second batch the California state paid me $502 for the number of hours taught and not by the total students signed up. In the process of teaching, I published my lecture notes on Kindle. After one month, I sold 138 books which far exceeded my initial expectations of 100 books forever. For the books sold, I will be receiving a royalty income of $97. Why I am telling all this?

As I wrote here, I have donated $1,599, everything I received from teaching and writing about value investing, to Dakshana Foundation. This is nothing compared to what Mohnish Pabrai is doing. But this gives me immense satisfaction to see that the proceeds from my skill is being used, even though very tiny, to make a difference in other people’s lives. I sincerely thank those who attended my course and those who purchased my book. Without them this donation wouldn’t have been possible. If we all ruminate on William Green’s question – what’s your gift? – then the world will be a very different place.

12 thoughts on “What’s your gift?

  1. Dear Jana,

    The effort you take to explain any topic and the length you go to know more about the same, is a trait everyone has to imbibe from you. You are doing excellent work by maintaining this treasured blog. All your readers hold you in high regard and this will exponentially increase knowing about charity initiative. Keep up your good work and wishing you the very best.

  2. Dear Jana,
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with others. It makes our lives and investing better.
    Warm regards,

  3. hats off to you Jana. i am regular reader of your blog and learned a lot from your post and lecture notes.

  4. This is a really great list and I have already watched some of them. Anyway thanks a lot for sharing the treasure trove of knowledge.

    Wishes from Kerala Dileep

    On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 10:23 AM, Seeking Wisdom wrote:

    > Jana Vembunarayanan posted: “Over the last three years, since I started > blogging, I have been collecting a lot of amazing YouTube super videos. You > can find them all here. The recent one that I added to my collection is > “Lessons From the Great Minds of Investing”, Google talk given b” >

  5. Hi Jana,

    You are truly a great inspiration to me !! People could learn a lot from you.


  6. Jana- I wanted to thank you for being charitable with your knowledge as well as your teaching fees. I hope your “goodwill account” continues to grow exponentially

  7. jana – everytime u surprise me with your humble and philanthropic way of life. Its just amazing

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