This is a kind of follow up piece on what I had written about market education earlier (see Capital Market Education). I had a conversation sometime ago with someone who wanted to tie up with my company for distribution and marketing of our products. While he was quite gung ho about selling the advisory products he was quite reluctant when it came to training programs. His logic was quite simple- by training others, he said, we are actually creating competition for ourselves in this business and also preventing people from actually subscribing to our products. Well, that is certainly a point of view, one can concede. There was also another acquaintance of mine who argued against training people or advising others. His theory was that why not just use it for yourself? This is heard quite often.
My view on the above points is as follows. The perspective that we should not train others just because it may harm our own business is a very narrow (and selfish). Think of this. Most of us are where we are- to a good extent- because of our educational qualifications (or lack thereof). Now, what if all those who taught us thought that imparting education to us would somehow impair their future, where would we be? Did you pause to ask the music teacher of your child, for eg, whether he thinks your child will become his future competitor? Or harm his music knowledge in any way or impair his ability to earn from his skill? We send our children to schools, to tuition teachers, to coaching classes, to sports camps, etc., etc. but did we ever think in that narrow manner? Did the teachers also think in that manner?
Or, see it this way. Did you think to ask why that music teacher of your child is spending time teaching your kid when he could have been a music director in the movies or have his own band or be a playback singer etc? Did you ask the cricket coach why he did not play for India or make it the State team or some such? Are they all teaching whatever they are teaching because of an inability to work it more profitably? Hey, if there were no teachers how the devil are you going to learn a skill? Writing a book is no different from teaching. If there are no books to read on a subject, how are you going to learn, ever? You might as well be back in the Stone age or some such where everything was probably learnt thru experience.
Why are people having so much difficulty with trading and investing? Its only because we are all in the Stone Age of investing- where everyone is trying to learn thru experience. That is a slow and painful process- not to speak of being very, very expensive! We may have all sorts of information available today but where is the knowledge to interpret those? Unless you read it somewhere or learnt it from someone (i.e. teachers), you will have to go the trial and error route. Imagine how long a journey that would be in this day and age!
We should be thankful that there are many out there who are willing to share their knowledge with us and we benefit from it. Since there is nothing free in this world, we need to pay for obtaining this knowledge. It is quite ironical that people will rather lose big chunks of money in attempting to trade the market without knowledge but will baulk at paying tuition fees. They think nothing of paying large fees for the kid’s tuition because they can see the value of the education as well as are aware of the shortcomings of their child. However when it comes to their own self, no one is aware of his short coming and alongside feels that he already knows a lot and hence is unable to value what is being offered as education! It takes many losses and painful periods for people to come to the realisation that what they really need is some good education!
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