A few learnings revisited on Teachers’ Day

Jayant Pai | jayant@ppfas.com

It is a truism to say that we never stop learning….One way of doing so is to learn from the hard knocks that life sometimes give us. Another is to listen and learn from people whom you respect.

Today, on Teachers’ Day, I look back at a few things that I have learnt outside the classroom.

 My Chairman, Mr. Parag Parikh (Whom I consider a treasure trove of wisdom) has taught me several things over the years. A few of them are :

 In life, you may come across shades of grey but that does not mean you deviate from the path of black & white…

 It means that there may be several times when you may be tempted to stray from the path of the straight & narrow, and console yourself that that certain ‘grey situations’ compelled you to do so. However, true accountability demands that if one does deviate one must take full ownership of that decision rather than take the cowardly way out and blame everyone else but yourself.

 Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day :

Hence do not make the excuse that you did not find the time to do something. A time management lesson condensed into one sentence….

 Do not neglect any of your faculties :

 All faculties viz. the physical, mental, and spiritual are important, Hence do not shower attention on one to the detriment of the others.

 Be equanimous :

 Neither joyous times nor depressing times are permanent. Hence cultivate the art of being equanimous.

 Apart from Mr. Parikh, others have also influenced me in subtle ways, either through their words or actions….

1. My aversion to borrowing and focus on prudent spending & investing is the result of lessons instilled in me by my father and grandfather. This has certainly saved me in an environment where instant gratification is all-pervasive.

2. It may be competitive out there but there is always room at the top

Noted consumer activist, Mr. M.R. Pai said this to me over two decades ago. While I am the last person to be bothered about the rat race, I always aim at excelling in my chosen domain of ‘Personal Finance’. Today, there are several people purporting to offer advice but the number of credible advisors are few and far-in-between. For me credibility is paramount, in my dealings with the media and with consumers. It is the only way one can stand apart from the crowd.

3. My CEO, Rajeev Thakkar’s balanced approach and his penchant for meticulousness is something I am striving for.

There are also publications like ‘The Economist’ and ‘Mutual Fund Insight’ which have shaped my opinions and ideas.

Finally, there is one statement attributed to Warren Buffett which has influenced me deeply viz. “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”.

I hope you do not consider this write-up as an article in self-indulgence. There are a few points here which could benefit everyone.

Also, while several of these may seem elementary, today seemed to be a good day to revisit and reinforce them.