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The Monk Like Warrior

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Alvin, CEO of Dr Wealth introduced interesting ideas that shook up the personal finance community with this article: are financial bloggers suffering?

He argued that there are generally two types of people, two different approaches to financial success:

  1. People that draw from their strength to suffer, the monks
  2. People that do bold things, the warriors

That’s an interesting argument. I’d like to build on the initial argument to state that the warriors and monk approaches are not mutually exclusive. The strength to suffer: accumulating wealth by saving money and the strength to do bold things: accumulating wealth through entrepreneurship. Are not mutually exclusive.

Warriors aren’t Excluded from The Art of Zen

Alvin argued that the monk’s prowess lies in his ability to resist temptations. He isolates himself from the outside world, leads a secular life and doesn’t require much material comfort. You’ll traditionally consider this side of the camp as ‘savers’.

However, are bold ones excluded from adopting a monk-like attitude?

If you look at businessmen like Buffett or Munger, they too are able to resist temptations by constantly limiting their investment decisions to their circle of competence. Buffett is also notoriously publicly frugal.

They also make consistent public commitments such as disagreeing on Bitcoin, despite its popularity. They are monk-like in such a fashion.

In this sense, ‘entrepreneurs,’ ‘high flyers’ and warriors also have the ability to suffer.

This month, I started writing for Dr Wealth and posted a couple of controversial ideas:

You’ll consider these arguments ‘warrior’ like qualities, right?

However, in publishing these slightly controversial articles, I also required the strength to suffer. I needed to suffer through disagreements on my ideas, character attacks on social media and etc. In that sense, I was adopting a monk-like disposition.

Monks Have the Ability to be Bold, Just a Different Kind of Bold

Winston Churchill was quoted stating that “courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

There’s also a certain boldness and courage in adopting a monk-like attitude.

If you decide to lead a secular life, go against conventional societal norms, there IS a quiet boldness in it. In this day and age of limitless possibilities, I’ll argue that there is more courage in saying no than yes.

This can range from saying no to ideas, possibilities and business decisions:

  • I stand by my arguments that mutual funds, for the most part, aren’t best forms of investment. Look, I have many friends in the financial advisor’s industry. It’s easy for me to say Yes, and gain votes on their end, however, the numbers rarely pan out, hence no, I stand by my argument that mutual funds aren’t the best form of investment.
  • There’s a lot of noise on multiple investment strategies from Forex, Bitcoin and hundreds of cryptocurrency. I say no to 98% of them, limiting my investment strategy to equities. I use the rest of my mental space on entrepreneurship, scaling my business and testing out ideas.

These can be bold decisions concurrently.

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately, there are overlaps of the warrior spirit and the monk-like attitude. They aren’t exclusively independent. You can do bold things, yet have an ability to suffer. You can suffer, yet in a quietly bold manner. However, if you’re neither zen-like or have the ability to wield a sword, I recommend you pick a side and get started on your training.

  • Totally agree with you that mutual funds are not the best. All the rich are direct equity owners.
    When you buy mutual funds, you are saying you do not know the best stock pick.
    Mutual funds are for novices or beginners, like milk powder for infants. As you progress, direct equity investment is ultimate.
    Ask any bankers whether they would take mutual funds or stocks as a collateral. Not mutual funds, cos the assets quality is not up to the mark. It is a shared investment.
    Buying mutual funds is like buying the whole durians from the stall. A sophisticated guy would engaged a stock picker( Fund Manager) to pick only the best musang king!

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