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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Our Real Test

Last night, I was stopped by a former Alpha Course helper in the streets.

I was surprised that this person is now praising my previous decision to end my journey after the course.

It was only a few months ago that this same person was encouraging me to further my journey with the next "advance" course.

I attended this Alpha Course at the beginning of this year to understand a little bit more about Christianity.

I have relatives that are Christians. This is my way of honouring them by seeking to understand the context and perspective of why they say or do thngs in a certain way. 

First seek to understand; then explain.

This person was not my small group leader in the Alpha Course. We weren't even close. I knew it's not a good sign when this person grabbed an acquaintance out of the street and start pouring out bile and sob stories...

This person lost the sole parent last year. Then lost a job this year. Applied to do missionary work overseas but was declined by the organisation. Recently got diagnosed with diabetes...

Needless to say, it never rains; it pours!

What was sad is that this person started to throw rocks at an institution this person is part of for 25 years... Saying there is lack of support and warmth... Turning cynical and questioning everything...

I just stood there and listened. And reached out my arm. 

No saying of empty words like "things will get better or think positive" and other crap. This person does not need advice nor is this person ready to listen. This person just wants to let off steam.

I can't help this person. First, we were just acquaintances (I don't have Big Love). Secondly, only this person can help this person (I heard somewhere God only helps those who help themselves).

We can see similar bitter people around us if we look hard enough. Take myself. I have 46 years of "membership" on this little Red Dot. 

If I become chronically ill, lost my job, business folded, or faced whatever disappointments in life, who do I blame if I don't want to take ownership and responsibility? 

Does "membership" equal immunity? 

And I should not talk too soon. I've not faced my Real Test in life yet - like many others.

This is not a post about spirituality.

It's a metaphor for why market veterans suggest we need to experience a few market cycles to really know our true selves.

And why venture capitalists and private equity investors look favourably to entrepreneurs with a few business faliures under their belt.



  1. Hi smol,

    Life usually never turn out the way we want it to be.

    We have to take the hits and keep moving forward.

    However, sometimes, I have to admit that a person can hit rock bottom and desperately needs help. Support can come from family, teachers, friends, government.

    1. Dividend Warrior,

      Yes, I believe we need each other.

      There's an altruistic gene in all of us - that's part of our evolution process. Humans hunt in a pack; just like wolves.

      There's a difference in REQUESTING help and support and DEMANDING handouts...

      Also, it's how we behave when we are strong and doing well. If I'm a tightfisted, selfish, self-centred, money grabbing, obnoxious person, my pleads for help should deserve the responses I get.

      Karma is a bitch! (Pardon my french)

  2. how to see yourself if one keep relying support from social, jobs, spiritual, and sometime family as well?

    you have to be independent even thought those "supports" are there for everyone taking.

    1. and its not if you will lost your job or health or your life, its when!

    2. coconut,

      I just watched Wolverine at Tiong Bahru GV this afternoon.

      You know what? You reminded me of a samurai.

      All warriors wish for one thing - a glorious death. There's something special about hard-core traders like you.

      Winning and losing is not as important as executing that perfect trade.

      It's never financial freedom and all that crap. It's a calling.

      Live and die by the sword.

      Shit, just realised I am no warrior. Just a peasant :(

    3. yes, money is not all important.

      just like a life to a samurai, kind of contradicting feeling. you don't rackessly risking your life but you can't treasure it too much.

      i'm not afraid to lose everything, but i'm afraid i can't trade any more.

    4. this is about the most difficult things to balance when you are a trader. fortunately, being afraid of not able to trade anymore wins over not being afraid to lose.

  3. Hi SMOL,

    I totally agree with your last 2 paragraphs.

    If you've not been through a depression, you won't understand what happiness is. If you've not been through a major failure, you won't understand what success is.

    After going through one major bear and a few minor bears, I know how desperate the situation can get. After going through a depression period from losing so much money in the first bear that I encountered, I know how I will react from losing money. That is the often missed lesson from a tragedy or a crisis. It makes me stronger and more confident to face the uncertain future.

    Until the next greater crisis hits, haha

    1. LP,

      Our trials and tribulations are no fun while going through them.

      But once we overcame them and looking back, there is a weird sense of renewed self-confidence - if we survived yesterday, we can survive tomorrow.

  4. The faith of a person must have in God is really very difficult to have and even almost impossible to practise if God does not choose you in the first place.(Christian's belief)
    If you ask me why, i think you go and read the Book of Genesis on the chapter about ABRAHAM, then maybe you will understand; whether you believe or not.

    1. Our personal experience is our best teacher if only we can learn from it.

    2. temperament,

      If God "chose" and spoke directly to me for a sacrifice, it will freak me out of my mind! Everything I believed in would collapse right before me...

      First thing I would do will be to test myself for "hearing voices".

      Having said that, if I am a believer, I would prefer to have a direct relation with God. No idol worship of "intermediaries" or so called "shepherds".

      I make a lousy sheep.

    3. CW,

      You used the magic word: "if".

      Personal experience is a great teacher provided we take ownership and responsibility for our decisions and actions (or non-actions).

      If we blame others, then it's no longer our personal experience - it's other people's experience.

      Since it's not our fault, there's nothing to learn or improve from.

  5. Hi SMOL,

    Can we draw parallels between those who embrace religion and those who engage in trading/investment? Here's my cheeky take:

    1. Those who believe in a religion to get peace and comfort (having some divine powers protecting us from harm or practicing spirituality to attain the state of calmness) - are like those who believe that the market will provide them with passive income if they do their due diligence like praying twice a day. :P

    2. Those who see religion as philosophy (I'm one of them), to understand themselves and the world better - like people who trade to see themselves and understand the market better (just like me as well) :D

    3. Those who want divine intervention to bring miracles to them just because they are believers - like those who treat the market like a casino, wanting to strike it rich without much effort and not wanting to take personal responsibility.

    4. Those who leverage on religion to achieve personal goals - like those who exploit other fellow traders/investors by selling them expensive courses in the name that they 'know' the market.

    Ok, the list is not exhaustive but not continuing cos I'm exhausted! LOL! Don't mind me, pls. Just my end of the day ramblings to wind down. Don't take it too seriously also. No intention to draw any flaks from anyone ok? Hahaha.

    1. Endrene,

      You naughty!

      Hey! Whatever makes you happy ;)

      So that's what high powered corporate lady in high heels do after a long day at work... Tell jokes?

      I would have bet even money that she watches K-drama to ice-cream the super cute male actors. Come to mama!


  6. Hi SMOL,

    You made me sound like a corporate cougar. K-drama is kungfu drama is it? Me no ogle at beefcakes lah. My eyes are vegetarian! LOL~

    1. Endrene,

      OK, I "believe" you. K-drama is Korean drama lah!

      No beefcakes in Korean dramas. The male actors are more like "flowers". Pretty pretty kind.

  7. Hi SMOL,
    Simply put either you believe there is a GOD or you don't. Or somewhere in between.
    To put it very simply again, either you believe in the "Doctrine OF Election" or you don't. Sad to say, not all Christians believe in the "Doctrine Of Election" in the same way too?

    1. temperament,

      I agree. We can say whatever we want, but The Real Test will be our initial reaction on discovering:

      a) Like the Korean family, I am the sole survivor of a horrific road accident that wiped out my entire family.

      b) I've 12 more months to live.

      Similarly, I roll-eyes on "devout" Buddhists who care a lot on the location and where their tablet is facing after they are gone. It makes me wonder their understanding on "letting go"?

      If only spirituality is as easy as wearing a badge of membership on our bosom.

      I run for the exit if I hear anyone and everyone can pass through the eye of the needle. Only hell accepts anyone and everyone!

    2. i think you got very, very close to understanding of His Grace. Either you got it or you don't in this matter of the heart and mind. Keep searching, i think you shall be enlightened one day.

    3. And peace be with you temperament.

      Thanks for your generosity and patience with a heathen agnostic.


    4. You don't need to thank me. i am just telling you my belief.

  8. i had a friend who comes to me for advise on money matters, here is his story, all happen within a year or 2.

    he lost his parents,
    his wife broke her leg (recovered)
    his son also broke his ankle (recovered)
    he got a heart attack, survive,
    he got a second attack! intensive care, told family to prepare for the worst, survive yet again!
    just lost his old time job of 30 years with a monthly salary of more than 12k! still jobless.

    how? when i see him recently, he is still smiling. thats the correct attitude, telling me he is living one day at a time. one day is another day extra. the wife (housewife) is smiling too.

    don't wait until something happen, be mentally prepare for the worst all the time, be it financial or health or trading, it doesn't matter. you will get through much easier if you survive and get back on your feet much quicker. call me a sadess if you like.

    1. coconut,

      Sometimes life is 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine.

      Your friend I guess has "seen through it".

      Finding a job will be the last thing on my mind if I not even sure I can see tomorrow!

      An illness or injury can be nature's way of tapping on our shoulder to remind us of our mortality.

  9. ya, this idiot got his second attack while he was exercising.


    "yes, exersise to keep fit and reduce weigth"

    "@%$#^$#&, @^%$&%#@#!!"

    1. what can i say haha, he just step on a land mine and the land mine didn't go off!

    2. recently i also come to know that my "hustler" friend had put most of his money invested in one single stock. just one stock that is not even in the main listing!

      well, he is sitting on a time bomb waiting to go off! what is he thinking?!

    3. coconut,

      If these 2 friends "warn" you about the dangers of trading, what would say?

      I'm the kind of "friend" who would pour a drink to a mate who got liver cancer; and light up the cigarette of a buddy who got lung cancer.

      We are all 8 immortals; we cross the sea in our own way.

      I used to nag to my mom to eat less as her weight is not helping her damaged knees. Now I let her eat whatever she wants.

      I have changed as I grew younger in heart. Less know it all; more empathy.

    4. there is something common with my 2 friends,

      first, they known each other and one want to improve his health and put his life in danger and one want to make (lots of) money and put his money in danger, got it?

      me, i live my life winning and losing money. whats the danger?

    5. and your mom eats cos she wants to eat, whats the problem? did she say she wants to reduce weight or improve her knees by eating?

    6. Well, that's why I stopped my nagging to mom.

      Do your friends nag at you?

      Did your friends asked you for your opinion on how they should exercise or invest?


    7. luckily they didn't, they just told me what they did, i never volunteer advise, what if they got it right? what if that stock he got went up 10x?

      that guy who ask me about investing, i just tell him to put his money in a bank regardless of zero interest, i'm not sure he follow or not haha.

    8. Precisely!

      And what if the exercise does bring benefits despite the 2nd heart attack? How do we know this attack was the result of running?

      Who are we to know?

      People are always eager to run other people's lives. But when it comes to our own lives... Buzz off!



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