Thursday 5 April 2012

Abrupt and Creeping Enlightenment


In Zen Buddhism, there are 2 main schools of thought.

Don't worry, I am not here to proselytize. I am agnostic.

OK, enlightenment maybe is too strong a word. Let's call it insight or awareness. 

Ah ha! 

Have you ever had your eureka moment? A problem or conundrum that's been troubling you for days and weeks, and totally out of the blue, a solution or idea just pops into your brain?

Did you notice when and how these little sparks of brilliance came about? I bet most of them came from doing or thinking about something that's totally unrelated to what's bugging you right?

You could be singing in the shower, walking the dog, cooking in the kitchen, or having a chat with your buddies - and bang! The solution just hit you!

A sound, a scene, a smell, an innocuous word can be the trigger. 

I just know 

Were there instances where you just know the answer or the correct course of action to take; but when asked later how you know, you have no freaking idea?

Or have you noticed that you may say and do something today that's totally different from what you would have said or done a few years back in the same situation?

You know there must be a reason but you just can't put a finger to it? 

Show me the money! 

Some of you may know HOW to read financial statements or charts better than most people. Yet you frequently wonder WHY some people just seem to know WHAT stocks to target, and WHEN to buy or sell better than you? 

You may want to ask when was the last time you practiced independent thought?

How would abrupt and creeping insights come to you if you delegate or outsource thinking to others? 

What you buying?

Is this price safe to enter now?

Can I sell now?

You may know the names of the fishes, and the terminologies and functions of different fishing tools; but you suddenly realise you don't actually know HOW TO fish!?



  1. hmm, I do agree with you. I think it comes as an instinct because we are so used to think consciously that when suddenly an answer came to us sub consciously, we tend to dismiss it. it's like a salesman, upon meeting a client who is willing to buy his goods immediately, still wants to proceed and give his sales pitch before closing the deal :)

    but after saying that, I have to say that newbies have no right to act on their hunch or instincts. these are reserved for people who had gone thru many experience of seeing the same thing again and again that u do not have to "sit and think".

    it's hard to know when you can trust your instincts, afterall. haha!

    1. LP,

      What you've said reminded me when I was coaching new salespersons. I always knock their heads: "Don't reopen a sale when it's closed!!! Just ask whether it shall be cash or credit will do."

      Ah! That's the domain of wisdom:

      When to bluff your way through any situation; and when to just admit you don't know.

  2. Jared - Ha! you did it! You drew your cartoon!!! Awesome!!! I like it!

    On abrupt and creeping enlightenment - Happens to me all the time. Whether I'm working on a physics problem or drawing a cartoon, it's the same. Staring at the equation or a blank page for a cartoon doesn't do any good. I have to walk away from it. Take a shower, watch a movie, take a walk, sleep on it...and then the eureka moment comes. Nice post.

    1. Ronian,

      Hee hee. I monkey see monkey do. It's crude; but baby steps!

      By the way, the french butterfly commenter above you is the the blogger I talked about who can draw.

      He drew this pic and I "stole with pride" from him:

      When I saw what I drew for this post, I laughed myself silly that perhaps I can be a logo designer for political parties!?


    2. La Papillon's drawing of the barbarian is awesome :-)

      PS: Be a logo designer for the government and charge them a billion dollars. It'll make you feel better about ministrial salaries lol

  3. True.
    Some come to the realisation via a longer route than others.
    For example, i went thru the listening to ...
    1) fund managers ..they manage people's money wor..sure know how to spot gems.
    2) journalist/commentators, they so specialised in finance, must know something wor
    3) analysts.. they live and breath the INDUSTRY, must be damn good wor..
    4) bankers.. private bankers wor.. they help rich one.. i'm sure they know what they are talking abt.

    then came 2008 ..and the rest is I listen to myself. I take what is factual and opinions, and i make my own judgement call. In the process, you learn and internalised what you have learn. It stays with you forever. I'm still on my way.. a little not so clueless but still very clueless.

    Those who have successful mentors in their respective industry will shortened their learning curve alot.. while the rest of us have to struggle the round about route.

    1. WJ,

      I was very impressed with your public conversation with YJ72 recently.

      It was a perfect example where 2 equals, who shared some common grounds, having a discussion on investment strategy:

      One person provided the catalyst trigger; while the other person had a sudden awareness he could handle his investment in such a way where he could have his cake and eat it too!

      I need help from friends all the time.

      It's one thing to go into a friendly debate or discussion to clarify our thoughts as equals; it's totally another thing altogether if we approach the presumed "holy man" and have him - to borrow what you've said - talk down to us...

      I am my own shepherd.

  4. For those interested in Zen. Below is my personal (poor) translation. But you get the idea if you are bilingual ;)

    顿悟 = abrupt enlightenment

    渐悟 = creeping enlightenment

    1. reverse enlightenment works better for me. it keeps me questioning myself all the time.

  5. borrowing from fat, when to buy or sell is when you are comfortable, or when you can justify your action even when prices are going against you. to do this constantly ofcos you have to rely and trust yourself.

    people, including myself, always make the same fundalmental mistake even in different situations and different occasion. mistakes are all related, the source is only one.

    so until you can understand the source then you can prevent making the same different mistakes over and over again. that is all you need to know how to fish.

    1. Coconut,

      Awareness of our mistakes start with taking personal responsibility.

      If it is: my broker no good, the stupid platform horrible, analyst report tricked me, that tip was false...

      We can be in the market for donkey years yet have not grown since day 1 - still don't know how to fish...

    2. no, awareness of our mistakes start with identifying what is our mistakes! i bet you a lot of us don't even know we are making mistake and live with it.

      rain or shine, sick or not, we still go to work. does that constitue a mistake? if your answer is ofcos not, i need to feed my family, i'm responsible. tell that to mr. market.

    3. i want to put forward is,

      i'm late for meeting and screw up my sales, i quarrel with my wife and she left home, i short the S&P and get stop out, i pick up my girl in school and got a car accident... yes they are all mistake made and its my fault, they are all mistake in the same nature happen in different pace time.

      like a river flood, solve the problem not by blocking the water but by diverting the source of the river. the closer you can get to the source, the better chance of solving the flood problem.

      it is not that you take personal responsibility that mr. market will forgive you. it is you aware of your problems and CHANGE your action that prevent mr market from hurting you.

    4. haha i don't usually put bold latter you know.

    5. Coconut,

      I know! So passionate this time!!!

      It's interesting how words trigger different responses in each of us.

      I see taking personal responsibility as "taking charge"; you see it as "admission of mistake".

      Although our internal reasoning may be different; we are actually on the same page when it comes to what matters most externally - our corrective actions.

      You have already won me over in your post 08:15 ;)

    6. our corrective action cannot last unless we change our perception or beliefs which comes from the source.

      you know how much i like to knock on fat's head to tell him the truth about his problem. as a outsider, one can see very clear about whats going on inside, but i respect him. he might try some position trend following trades but still think thats not a good way to go, ends up still scalping the market. doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. (i hope he is not reading it haha)

      on the contrary, i got some very good advise from him which i'm currently practicing. one stands out is forcasing on what i'm good and familiar in.

      everyone has his limit and pace, i have my share of problems, but until one can change his perception which leads to change in behavour and action, one will still be repeating the same results over again.

    7. ya, he change too slow (but he did try very hard to change) while i change too fast. the current system is giving good returns but i became very greedy, change my system and got hit just at the right timing haha, damn.

    8. Ah! A paradigm shift!

      The realisation has to come from within. Well-intentioned external advice or coaxing will be like water falling off the duck's back.

      Some people needs time. Like the caterpillar meditating in its cocoon before emerging as a butterfly. (Creeping enlightenment)

      Some people just need a near-miss accident and the next day they become a different person!? Glad to have the 2nd chance to start over. (Abrupt enlightenment)

      After talking to you, I've realised my blind-spot. The WILLINGNESS to change is important. But the ABILITY to change is just as important.

    9. exactly! how many times did we hear - i belief, i understand now, i will change, thats correct, i will do i will do, ok ok, ya this is stupid,

      still end up at the same spot.

      in our lives, it does not heart much if we don't change, lifes goes on, in trading, no chance of surviving.

    10. paradigm shift? does it means change in perception or view?

      when you change in your perception, you are discarding the old beliefs. when you find you have trouble changing your action is simply becos you have not change your perception, you still hold your old beliefs even though you have a new one.

      take the new and discard the old, paradigm shift?


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