Nothing directly, of course, but their ideas provide interesting approaches to modern capitalist riches.
Both Gita & the Stoics caution against too much attachment – to family, friends, material possessions etc. They encourage us to live life with joy, do not advice abdication of worldly pleasures, but also urge us to practice detachment. Be aware all people & possessions are temporary, and they may be lost. Practice negative visualization – imagine losing your prized possession or loved one – this will help you appreciate the present & live well.
Lesson for the investor – Don’t get infatuated by the stocks or businesses you buy, or plan to buy. Buy or sell based on facts, not on rumors, tips, fads or impulse. Beware of behavioral biases. Be rational. Can you stomach a 50% drop in the price of your favorite stock?
2. Do your duty, don’t obsess over results.
The Stoics believed in being fully engaged in their worldly roles as teachers, public servants, family folks, merchants etc. The Gita urges us to practice Karma Yoga – play the role we have been given, or have taken up. And, importantly, both the Stoics & the Gita caution us to not obsess over results, and many other aspects of life which are beyond our control. You may want to be a world-class athlete, and practice rigorously towards that, but winning at the Olympics is not 100% under your control. Be aware of areas you can control, and focus your efforts. Ignore areas you cannot control.
Lesson for the investor – Focus on your circle of competence. Work on industries & companies you understand well. Do your due diligence, obsess over the evaluation process, keep an eye on the goal, but don’t brood over expected outcome.
3. Reality & Maya
The Stoics realized our well-being is directly tied to how we react to the external world. We can choose to be happy, sad, angry or calm. Your neighbour may insult you – you can choose to ignore him & be calm, or get angry & beat him up. Your government may be corrupt – you can choose to shut-up & endure, or speak-up & fight. You may be thrown into jail – you can choose to suffer, despair, endure, learn, improve, grow etc. Reality is what you choose it to be.
The Gita says life is an illusion & nothing is real. You have to cut through this Maya to enlighten yourself.
Lesson for the investor – The stock market volatility, news, commentaries, research, rumours, tips & fads – all these mask reality. You can choose to ignore, revel, read through, be-friend, or over-analyze them. Only being rational helps you wade you way through market maya and mayhem. Your financial well-being is directly tied to how you react to Mr. Market.
Drawing anymore parallels may be obsessive & illusive.