Stay The Course

Stay The Course

In the history of professional bodybuilding, Ronnie Coleman has been one of the greatest bodybuilders in the world. Since 1998, he has won the international bodybuilding contest Mr. Olympia 8 times in a row. Many professional bodybuilders challenged his crown but none could dislodge him from the top spot. During this time, many bodybuilding rivalries grabbed the eyes of media but none could match the level of rivalry between Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler.


In 2006, Ronnie was on his way to become the historic champion in the world. Every time the Clash of Titans happened at Mr. Olympia, Ronnie defeated Cutler by a huge margin. But Cutler never stopped challenging him and turned out to be an invincible opponent every time they faced an encounter at the grand stage. He stayed the course and kept on ripping up his body. In the year 2006, he finally defeated Ronnie Coleman on the stage and won the Mr. Olympia contest with a prize money of $1,55,000.


Before 2006, the defeats at Mr. Olympia never discouraged Jay Cutler. His win in 2006 is an astute example of a euphoric victory over a spell of many crushing defeats. The reason he conquered is that he never let the dry spells frustrate him. He continued investing in his body until he won the title. He stayed the course.


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In the investing world, the Risks of Volatility, Caste Dynamics and Polarization in the General Elections, Crude Oil Output Volumes, Change in Interest Rates, Trade Wars, etc. are few of the factors that never tell you a thing about the businesses you hold. But they have the tendency to alter your emotions, let you change your course of action by getting you panicked and thus, stimulate your urge to sell or stop you from investing. This unreasonable behavior is enough to derail yourself from the path that goes towards wealth creation.


Don’t let immaterial parameters affect your investing discipline.


Whenever a macroeconomic or any other superficial element, which is not under your control, starts impacting your mindset then take a brief look at the chart below. It depicts the journey of Sensex which broadly represents the health of our economy at the domestic as well as global level. The long track record of the index, since 1991, is substantial enough to show that the short-term turbulences couldn’t cut the hole in its long-term upward trajectory. 


Rise in Sensex

Image: Upward Trajectory – What Investors Should Really Focus On


And yet, investors couldn’t control their emotions when the drawdowns happened and fell succumbed to their own behavior.


They chose to focus on the events which made the index fall (drawdown chart below). Why? Because the human brain is accustomed to an emotional negativity bias which forces them to concentrate on negative news faster than ever. This makes them alter their decisions irrationally. As a consequence, during the declines, they either stopped investing or opted out of their investing journey by selling under panic. Both the actions turned out to be the opposite of what the principle of staying the course genuinely demanded.


Drawdowns in Sensex

Image: Drawdowns – What Investors Actually Choose To Focus On


Don’t Respond. Just Stand There.


The accomplishment of your aim in Mr. Market never happens without staying the course with your investments. It may sound simple as a concept but highly back-breaking to implement in real life. It demands more of an Emotional Intelligence than your Intellectual Quotient.


When you choose to follow this basic principle, you actually provide a discipline for your money to get invested in order to enjoy the magical effects of compounding. And once it’s bundled with a long-term approach, preferably in terms of decades, the true nature of compounding gets revealed which turns out to be phenomenal. One should always remember the words of wisdom by Jack Bogle. 


“Just stay the course. Don’t do something, just stand there. This is speculation that we’re seeing out there, and you can’t respond to it” ~ Jack Bogle


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Majuli is a river island that lies on the banks of river Brahmaputra. As per Wikipedia, it had an area of around 880 sq. km. at the beginning of the 20th century but lost a major part of it due to soil erosion, floods, and drought in 1979. In an attempt to prevent further erosion, Jadav Payeng had then decided to sow seeds and plant a sapling every day in a bid to convert the barren island of Majuli into a green region.



Image: Jadav stands next to the 1st sapling he planted in 1979   Source: 101 India


After staying the course for 39 years since 1979, he singlehandedly converted the arid area of his timberland into a lush green forest which is a home to Bengal Tiger, Elephants, Rhinos and other animals. The poaching incidents and cyclic floods never made a dent in his ambitions. This extraordinary story of an uncommon man is one of the most phenomenal stories of Staying the Course. You can watch his documentary on Youtube which goes by the name of Forest Man.


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The cover image has been taken from Riding Route

PS: The title of this post has been inspired from the wise words of Vanguard Group Founder, Jack Bogle



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