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Don’t Try to Saw Sawdust

Wise Men ne’er sit and wail their loss,

But cheerily seek how to redress their harms. – Shakespeare

Have you seen anyone sawing a wood? Of course, you’d have! But did you ever see anybody sawing a sawdust? I’m sure, your answer is a NO! You could be feeling little amused for me asking this as even a child knows how can a sawdust be sawed but consider it not to be literally; most of the people around us are sawing the sawdust in their mind every second of their day because of worry that should not merely exist.

We sometimes find people around us whose mind is always filled with lots of thoughts. There is something cooking in their mind every two minutes as if it’s a noodle. Losing a loved one, being sacked from a job, facing a huge loss in share market, and other tough circumstances can make a person to feel worried, anxious and depressed. Scientists have proved that worrying is first and foremost reason of depression and in a short duration it makes a person hollow forms the core of their soul. Probably those who are the excessive worrier, unconsciously think if they “worry enough” they might prevent something bad from happening but on the other hand they affect their bodies in opposing ways.

Get Done & Dusted with the Past Have you ever considered moving on or writing off something bad that has just happened with you? Let me share a story with you that I read couple of days ago in the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie.

The author mentions that once he tried his hands on a business of Sex Education Tutoring which was doing pretty good up until he realised that he was having a good inflow of students’ enrolments but he made not even a single penny as profit. This time frame from establishing the business setup and realising no gain was of three years which is a long time to invest in something.

This situation got him worried for why didn’t he look after the finances earlier or appoint a manger for the job instead if he was too busy running the operations of the business. But nothing was going to bring back a penny’s profit or change the circumstances whatsoever. Still the man kept on worrying for the lost profit over and over again, which resulted in his reduced weight and appetite for further vision for business.

Soon after a dear friend suggested him to ease a bit and forget about what happened since there is nothing that he can do by going back in time, so why to worry on past happenings. The business owner understood that there are only two ways to get rid of the situation:

To just write off what happened and forget everything from scratch

To analyse the mistakes in the due course and take learning from the mistakes for never repeating them again

How this relates with Investments? Worry is mostly considered to be destroying the wealth even if the market is bullish. Here are few major worries associated with investments:

Also Read: How to Strengthen Your Value Investing

Worry of Making Losses: Sometimes even the great investors tend to lose hold on their worry and hesitate to execute their best investing strategy. Anticipation of loss goes high on few investors and this reflects on their inability to take timely action with respect to selling off and holding on to a fund. Investment is reflection of one’s intellectual capacity towards the market knowledge and execution on their trade, but when a person’s mind is occupied with worries and thoughts of fear he cannot function at its best. Thus the person’s stock choices are affected and the same is reflected in their profit & loss statement.

Worry of Missing Out: Sometimes investors make a decision for the sake of owning a share or it will be missed out even when the market is roaring high just because others have bought it, put them in a lot of worry. This puts the investors in a risk zone as well, as the market nears maturing and they buy the share at the uptrend of it. The investor must understand there is always a good price to buy a share and not any price to invest it in just because of the worry of mission the share out.

Worry of a Profit Turning into Loss: Sometimes there sinks a feeling into the investors that their share’s price might decrease substantially and they start to sell the shares at marginally very less profit due to some rumours around the same. Although having done a good amount of research on the quality of the share the worry of little profit turning into loss makes the investor sell the shares as a whole. This worry makes the investor lose the edge of holding the share for long run and leveraging maximum profit from the share.

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Worry of not Being Right: Every person wants to be right in every choice that they make and this holds true for an investor as well. But instead of worrying to be right in every decision they make, they should be focusing their energy on maximising the profit from their share choices made. The stature of being right is not attained by daily buy and sell order in fact it is calculated by the maximum profit availed from a stock for a longer term.

Have you heard of the term “Don’t Cry over Spilt Milk”? There was a professor Dr. Paul Brandwine at a college in their nutrition department, who ones called upon all the graduates to the laboratory and was ready to take them through an important lesson for their lifetime. The professor was standing behind the table on which there was a bottle full of milk was kept, where students kept wondering what the professor up to is with the milk bottle? Soon after the professor poured the entire milk into the sink and asked the student to take a closer look at the sink if they could collect even a drop of that milk. All he wanted to teach the students that entire world’s fussing or hair pulling or talking is not going to bring even a single drop of milk back which has been drained off entirely and wanted to use this situation as a metaphor for life’s bad situations. All that, professor wanted the students to recognise what they already know in terms of their knowledge and inspire them to do something about applying the same in life.

Discussed above are some type of worries that haunt an investor every day and night. The key here for their growth is either they write off the bad choice of share or the loss they suffered for the same OR take a learning as to the reasons why the stock was not a right fit for their portfolio and what exactly they should avoid while choosing the stocks next time. But lingering on to the failed situation is not going to take an investor anywhere.

Also Read: 5 of Our Favourite Money Hacks

To sum-up this draft, I’ll say break your worry habits that are breaking you slowly by applying following spurs:

  1. Curb your “wibber gibbers” state and keep yourself busy with good thoughts/work/people.
  2. Don’t think too much on the trivial things of life. Remember, little termites sometimes eat up the entire furniture as a whole.
  3. Always keep in mind the Law of Averages that means future events are likely to turn out so that they balance any past deviation from a presumed average. So worrying on them is not going to balance anyways.
  4. Accept the inevitable. Sometimes we have to accept that few things are beyond our control and are to remain the way they are and worrying on them is not going to help either.
  5. Prioritise for how much worry a situation deserves and still allocate minimally to each.
  6. Lastly, don’t try to saw the sawdust.

Vikas Agarwal
the authorVikas Agarwal
Vikas Agarwal is an IIT-Varanasi graduate in Chemical Engineering. He is the Founder and CEO of - an investment advisory website. He is a Business Development Professional but a Value Investor at heart. He writes articles on Finaacle, which focus on simplifying the art of investing and the causes of human misjudgment when it comes to investing. He also shares his experiences as an investor and lessons from some of the greatest investors of all time.

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