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If someone wants to become a lawyer or doctor or anything else , can one start working in that profession whenever one wishes to do so? This is not possible because there are many entry barriers which one has to cross before one can practise a profession. First there are entrance exams for getting admissions in to the colleges which teach these professions then one has to endure many years of toil in a college. Even after crossing these initial barriers, when one finally starts practising the profession, one has to frequently endure recertifications and continuous learning programs conducted by industry bodies to ensure that practising professionals are upto date in their knowledge and skillsets. Now what role do these entry barriers play? Firstly, these entry barriers ensure that only those individuals who have acquired a minimum level of knowledge and competency are able to practise the profession in real life. Secondly, the crossing of entry barriers by an individual lends him credibility in the eyes of the society and more importantly credibility in eyes of himself. When times get tough, it is this credibility which enables a practitioner to retain faith in his knowledge and skillset.
Now imagine if there were no formal entry barriers.Then an individual who wants to become a doctor might open his clinic overnight without acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills to treat patients. Initially this might prove to be economically beneficial because unsuspecting patients would seek consultation and then pay fees. But on not getting the expected results, the initial patients would soon spread the word about the incompetence of this doctor. And this would ultimately lead to failure for the individual’s medical career. Due to occurrence of many such instances soon the whole medical fraternity would loose its credibility and respect in the eyes of the society. Even though doctors are necessary, the tag of a doctor would be frowned upon by all. This loss of respect for the profession would even discourage genuine, knowledgable and skilled doctors from continuing with the profession and they would shift to other professions that are respected by the society.
This is the dilemma which the profession of a full time investor/trader finds itself in. There are no entry barriers to this profession. Anyone can open a brokerage account. Most people in greed of quick money start dabbling in stock market without acquiring requisite knowledge and skills. The profession of an investor/trader is the toughest profession in the world but unfortunately on an average basis least amount of time and effort is spent on acquiring the relevant knowledge and skills by individuals before entering it. This causes a very large majority of investors/traders to loose money in a long term basis in the markets. Thus the lack of entry barriers result in a very reduced success ratio for these professions. The large number of failed investors/traders then start bad mouthing these professions. “Investing/Trading is gambling and only few lucky ones earn money in it”, this becomes their catchphrase. This is a clear cut case of ignorance and sour grapes.
Apart from the above cause, the profession of full time Investor/Trader gets disparaged by the society due to the existence of significant and inherent uncertainty in their professional life. And herein lies the hypocrisy ( In Ashneer’s words, their “Doglapan”). All the heroes of the society, people who are worshipped by all, people who are role models, are people who have embraced uncertainty .They do not run away from uncertainty instead they accept it and are continuously putting efforts to progress inspite of it. A cricket player has to deal with so many uncertainties , pitch condition, weather, form of opposition players, form of his teammates, mood of the umpire etc. Only a player who can find ways to win despite of so many factors beyond his control can become a Dhoni or a Tendulkar. Soldiers on the front never know when the enemy would attack but it is their readiness and willingness to deal with this uncertainty which commands the respect of their countrymen. The quarterly incomes of even the most reputed companies like Tatas and Birlas are uncertain but this doesn’t make the people loose their respect for these big companies. The dichotomy is that the heroes of the society have become heroes because of their ability to handle uncertainties but still the society disparages and frowns upon those who dare to start embracing uncertainties in their professional lives.
So to all those who are full time investors/traders or are aspiring to do so , if you are willing to do hard work then go on, embrace the uncertainties because the grapes are not sour.
These pieces are being published as they have been received – they have not been edited/fact-checked by ThePrint.