Rigour and Regimen
We attribute investment success to many things. Most of these attributes tend to be external factors. The easy list of attributes tends to gravitate towards luck, timing and capital. But these are intangibles without clear patterns and to-do methods. Often, they are best explained only in hindsight. But we need something we can do prospectively. After all, our quest for wealth Is classic prospecting. We are going in search of something with no clear maps. There isn’t a GPS to wealth. Uncertainties galore and no two situations are the same, no two decisions are the same either.
So we battle along in a terrain that we can’t predict, against an enemy within, whose behaviour we need to control. We know we need to overcome our own faults and then stick to what we know for sure. But, that seems very simple to say and extremely difficult to practise. But there is no escaping this quest. After all, the journey must go on and we need to give it our best shot.
Once we accept that this needs to be done, then we are onto improving our results. So what can we do to overcome our faults and what should we stick to? How should we ensure we stick to doing the right things.
Firstly, we need to appreciate that sustained success at anything is so full of hard work, consistency, and persistence. The only way to achieve that is by following a regimen.
Check out the icons in any walk of life. There will be a regimen. Be if Buffett and Munger who sit around reading for hours, or Iconic sportsmen who train with unfailing dedication to keep fit, or musicians who do hours Riyaz every morning. The most unmistakable element of lasting success is regimen.
I recall watching an iconic musician as a teenager. He would leave at a particular time early morning from his house to his studio. Within the studio, he followed a regimen. That he was in a hugely creative pursuit hardly mattered. He actually accomplished his need to be creative all the time by adopting a regimen. Over a thirty year period, he achieved more than anyone could have imagined. But the importance of regimen almost went unnoticed by everybody. His peers and professional ecosystem found it very uncomfortable to adapt to his regimen. They found him too rigid.
What made them so uncomfortable? That brings us to what makes regimens work. Regimens always work only because of their inbuilt rigour. Usually, there will be no compromises. Or, the compromises will be rare and reasoned. When you watch Federer or Nadal consistently best players half their age, you think they are just Superhuman. But that is not their winning secret. The secret is their rigour and regimen. It is sheer hard work for long years. Rigueur and regimen are closely connected. Every little aspect of one’s life is connected to it. Often, when icons fail briefly, the comeback is always engineered on their platform of rigour and regimen.
Investing is a classic craft of this. Iconic investors use both consistently. They know how to use them in their own quest. Building on elements that are essential, consistently practising them, improving on critical aspects by persistently working on them, keeping networks active and working, and following a pace of life that is almost perfect.
This is how investors use rigour and regimen. Strangely, huge success almost always keeps a person tightly aligned to rigour and regimen. The more successful an investor becomes, his reliance on these tools rises even more. Breaking away from them often takes him away from his comfort zone into unknown terrain. This always leads to serious problems.
When the going gets tough for an investor, it is almost inevitable that his rigour and regimen get going. It keeps him ticking well and battling hard. Until bigger success is attained or bigger challenges are presented before him, rigour and regimen drive his success. Like trains run on rails, success can be kept on track with rigour and regimen.