Introspecting With the Big 5 Personality Traits

Psychologists, psychology fans, and enthusiasts alike make a huge fuzz about the big five personality traits. Not very surprisingly, it finds its place in the internet community that builds up and keeps ahold of its hype. Sufficient scientific backing and wider approval from the scientific community makes it all the more relevant. I, as anyone else should be, became curious since the time it first reached my ears. This made me take a sharper dig at the whole fuzz and let’s just say I have a lump to share.

So, what are the “big 5 personality traits”?

My mind had the same question running when I first read the title of a related article. I see a similar mind in my reader. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to bore anyone with excessive theory. Neither am I qualified to talk about it. But I have to slip a little bit of detail to keep the article relevant for every reader. The best and popular way to memorize the big 5 personality traits is by remembering the word “OCEAN”. Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. These are known as the “big 5” and I assume anyone would have already heard one or two of the traits.


Openness is just what it sounds like. It gauges a person by his open-mindedness. Openness has sub-traits like Imagination, Artistic interests, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect, and Liberalism.


Conscientiousness is the trait related to self-discipline. It includes sub-traits like Self-efficacy, Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline, and Cautiousness.


Extraversion as already clued by the name relates a person’s social abilities. It has sub-traits like Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity level, Excitement-seeking, and Cheerfulness.


Agreeableness is the personality trait that exhibits sympathetic and cooperative behavior. Agreeableness has sub-traits like Trust, Morality, Altruism, Cooperation, Modesty, and Sympathy.


Neuroticism deals with emotional stability. It has sub-traits like Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Self-consciousness, Immoderation, and Vulnerability.

Plotting myself on the big 5 traits

It looks weird that I am openly sharing this detail. Maybe that’s because I have a bit of openness? The scientific test offered by 123test had something similar to say. While I took the test for fun which ranks me based on how I answer 120 statements, it has quite helped me inspect myself a lot. I don’t want to completely rely on the test result. That’s why I am individually reviewing all the traits to see where I am placed. Again, I know it is weird to share this detail on the internet. Especially, somewhere someone can easily track my real-life whereabouts. Or someone from my real life may see this and it might be weird to meet again in real life. That aside, I intend to pass the idea of introspection and the big 5 personalities can be a good framework to do so. I am only an example.

Openness has features like Imagination, Artistic interests, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect, and Liberalism. I have always seen imagination and artistic interests as one of my positives. I often love to create digital art and internet memes. I wouldn’t say emotionality and adventurousness is my best bet. It would be too numb to call myself a person of intellect. That’s not up to me to decide. I know I am good at mathematical reasoning. Math is a favorite of mine and has never failed it on my engineering course. I am not sure how much of that purely theoretical reasoning skill played a positive role in my life. I don’t think it did. I have often just ended up overthinking and taking horrible decisions with extremely poor reasoning when it comes to practice. Nor am I going to say I am a liberal. I think I have improved as I have grown up. I used to be the very opposite of liberal during my teenage years. Ever since I entered adulthood, it has fainted consistently replaced with liberal views. But I am not that open to new ideas or tolerant of such changes.

Conscientiousness maybe my weakest trait since it is the trait of self-discipline. That is highhandedly my lowest quality. It gets worse because I was recently practicing to be a day time trader were discipline is the number-one success factor. Conscientiousness accompanies features like Self-efficacy, Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline, and Cautiousness. I can with no doubt say I am pretty much opposite of all these. I hate things with order sometimes and cherish disorderliness in life. Although it is like a flip switch, I can sometimes become highly ordered and a control freak. But that barely makes it two mornings across. I have been recently putting energy to create self-discipline. I identify it as the most lacking but prominently needed skill set in my life.

Extraversion is something I have mixed feelings with. It deals with a person’s social abilities. It includes features like Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity level, Excitement-seeking, and Cheerfulness. I am an introvert and I am happy with it. My idea of being an introvert is a person that has his maximum productivity unleashed when he is alone. I am at my maximum productivity when I am in my room with no one around. I also find it hard to make new friends. I find it hard to start a conversation or enter one. Sometimes my social inability has been dumped as ego by few and it kind of hits. But this more like a bridge. I may not able to start or engage a conversation but if I managed to do, I can keep it. I have a good ability to create spontaneous jokes and keep the conversation flowing. But for that to happen, I have to become extremely comfortable with the social circle. My closest friends know how much of loud mouth offensive joke maker I am while my distant friends and family would be surprised if they see me like that.

Agreeableness sounds like something nobody would publicly want to acknowledge one doesn’t have. My weighting on agreeableness is a 50-50. It includes features like Trust, Morality, Altruism, Cooperation, Modesty, and Sympathy. Nobody would want to portray themselves as lacking any of this. But having said that, in introspection, understanding the truth and acknowledging it is more important than imaginative deception. I don’t want to tell lies to myself do I. That would be fatal. I get very sympathetic to pets and animals. I get sympathetic to people suffering far away. But I have often found myself not so sympathetic to things happening in the immediate surrounding. I realized I just don’t notice them as much. I don’t trust people generally and has some bad case of cooperation. I generally have a good sense of what is right and wrong but I can compromise it depending on the reward. When I do accomplish something with the help of others, I have some great indebtedness with them. Sometimes that is taken too far and often ended up in disappointment.

Neuroticism is the trait that factors in emotional stability. It has features like Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Self-consciousness, Immoderation, and Vulnerability. This trait looks like where all of the internets accumulate together. If people with neuroticism became a country, I must be given the crown. The test from gave me over 95% for this. The most dominant trait in my personality. Although I am giving out all the negative vibes by saying all this, it is not that bad. I am consciously aware of my overthinking and accompanying anxiety, anger, and depression. I have made it to muscle memory to tackle such attacks immediately by manipulating my conscious mind. I can pretty much get over anxiety and depression. When it comes to anger, that’s debatable. I do have short bursts often but it has diminished from what I experienced during my teenage years. Vulnerability must be my weakest link. I am easily vulnerable to being made fun of or being called names. I hate it and I just may throw a punch at completely uncalled situations. Now that I am aware, I will keep it my conscious mind, rinse, repeat, and try to improve.

My concluding thoughts

I think introspection is generally a great tool for mental exercise. Sometimes people don’t have a clue, then the big 5 traits are a good framework to do so. I don’t buy the results brought to me by the internet tests. It doesn’t look like me in one situation vs another. But independently going through these traits and sub-traits has made me rethink of many real-life situations. It made me give some solid understanding of what went wrong or right in particular situations. Also not to mention I got some serious cringe remembering some past events. I am happy with that, it shows I have matured up to think my past self was cringy.

A word of warning, there is a temptation to lie to oneself about bad qualities while intensifying the good one. Impartial self-analysis is required to get the correct result. Such inbuilt temptations can be tackled by being consciously aware of it. Have a great day introspecting.

Kill Your Ego Before It Kills You

Today I woke up to the news about a 15-year-old girl that committed suicide because her friend got better marks than her. Yes, you have read that correctly, there are no mistakes and it is way more usual than you think it is.

The story becomes more pity since this happened in India and the exam the news is referring to is 10th grade. As someone that had gone through this, I can tell that the certificate that comes with it doesn’t care about the marks. It for the most part is just used as proof of birth date.

Whatever, let that rest and take a glimpse of what it reflects for the rest of the world events. Almost every chaotic things that have happened in individual, societal, cultural, and national level can be traced to the ego of someone or a group.

The centuries of wars that have been fought to the couples you saw yesterday fighting the park, the lion’s share of their problem lies with ego. Ego is the ultimate component that spurs up racism, nationalism, and worst-case extremism.

What causes ego?

Ego is a sense of oneself. Ego is a natural-born enemy because of its ability to blind you to materialistic needs while ignoring the spiritual demands. When you compare yourself to others on materialistic factors like wealth, physic, looks, or in the above case -marks, the ego starts playing its games.

The question here is really if you should compare others with materialistic factors. Does it make any sense? The answer is a solid no. It only takes a little bit of common sense applied to derive the answer. That maybe the reason why almost all major religions in the world give the same harmonious answer. Whether you are a follower of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, or Christianity, all religions have pretty much similar conclusions.

The problem lies when we see religions through a materialistic view. None of the holy books are written to be seen as a solid physical story that happened sometime in the medieval or ancient human history. They are written as parallels to what should be seen in a spiritual point of view. All these books have war and gruesome depictions of violence. Are they telling us to pick up weapons and establish dominance? Are they telling us that war is inevitable?

Unfortunately for the majority, these are seen as material things. This makes all the difference in the world. The ultimate goal to achieve in all these religions is what can be scientifically classified as “ego death”.

When the Quran and the Bible tell you to convert people to Islam or Christianity, it never meant you to do it by force or offering. To be a follower of Islam or Christianity means to be free from your ego. But people relentlessly compare one religion over another materialistically and come up with bad conclusions. What Quran and Bible said is the same as the idea of “moksha” in Hinduism. A similar idea is there in Buddhism and all of them tell you what we can scientifically classify today as “ego death”.

It is however unfortunate and silly at the same time when we see these religions fighting each other to claim which one is better. This fighting is stemming from the human ego, the very thing these religions tried so hard to destroy. I think now is a very worthy time to the renaissance of the phrase: “You have become what you swore to destroy”. That’s pretty much how religion ended up in the modern world.

What is ego death?

The word sounds something dangerous of a mental condition and that may be true to an extend. Ego death is a temporary state of being that many people have achieved with the help of drugs. That could be one of the reasons you got terrified when you heard it but ego death is not something you are supposed to achieve via drugs. You are just damaging your brain.

Ego death is a state by which you achieve an unbiased perspective of you and the world around you. Everything and everyone around you become equal and nothing bothers your mental state of being. No materialistic factors are weighted in your thought process that helps you achieve the highest levels of unbiasedness. You will stop judging others by their physical or materialistic elements and start judging them by their actions. Now you are free to compare. In such a state of being, there is only room for learning and improvement, not ego -quite literally.

In conclusion, it is rightfully said that one’s greatest enemy is himself. Because the identity of himself is exposed by one’s ego. When there is no such thing, he becomes harmless to himself. Any mental pain that you encounter in your life is a result of constantly thinking of materialistic aspects of your life. When they are neglected, whatever the point you are in your life materially does not matter. You have achieved success regardless of your physical state of being.

The Wrongful Perception of Power That Is Ruining the World

Powerful entities have existed, reigned, and corroded with time. From men to organizations to countries and alliances, there always has been a power differential in the world. The kings and queens have been seen as a symbol of power at more than one point during history. In this day and age where we cherish democracies, should we still be clinging on to our past perceptions?

The question is relevant in an increasingly nationalistic world where leaders that try to act like powerful emperors are elected to power. Taking no names, anybody with a sufficient understanding of global politics will agree. The purpose of a democracy is to cut down on dictatorial rulers. The purpose of democracy was to have an equal rule of law. But why are dictatorial people still elected to power? The simple answer is propaganda but why it works needs to be investigated.

People tend to think that those who rule like a king or a queen is powerful. If I am powerful, I don’t need to dictate my powers. Those who need to abuse power to stay in power are not powerful, they are cowards. Those who thug around the media and force them to shut up, they are not powerful, they are cowards. But somehow, the world have them mixed up.

Someone that can shut up the media, someone who filters the free press are seen as symbol of power. And this is killing it for everyone in the world. This wrongful perception of who is powerful allows dictatorial and nationalistic people to come into power and get away with their autocracies. This is happening across the globe on multitude of democracies. This isn’t as if all the authoritarian regimes isn’t causing plenty of troubles for themselves already.

This post coming up at the time of Covid19 can feel a little cranky. However I without a doubt think that such nationalistic regimes are partially responsible for the spread of the virus. In the western world, leaders not adhering to the lock-down policy is strangely (or not so) seen powerful by a group of people. Now that sounds very familiar with ways which typical nationalistic leaders get elected to power.

Lack of individuality

Nationalism perhaps maybe directly attributed to lack of individuality. Vice versa could also be potentially true as nationalism can cause a drop in individual qualities. The power of judgement is void in absolute nationalistic people. Their government and their army is always right. They don’t have the mental endurance to think otherwise. This can be made possible by shear propaganda.

A patriot is someone that is willing to criticize the authority for its mistakes. A patriot will appreciate the authority for its good deeds. A patriot puts the country in the right direction and don’t just feed on whatever the country does. A patriot has individuality and character. A patriot has judgment.

You as responsible citizens are to keep the rule of law applicable for everyone including the authorities. The authorities makes sure that the rule of law is kept among the citizens. But who keeps the same check on the authority? It’s must be the people. At least the once in the democracies.

This is where the nationalistic bunch causes a lot of trouble. Authorities do their part of the job, or maybe perhaps they even become dictatorial. The nationalistic bunch is blinded to this fact. For them, its a display of power, pride, and prejudice. This is the wrongful perception of power that make a sheep’s dream come true. More or less, the world is increasingly being filled with sheep at this point in time.

I don’t blame propaganda, I blame you

Why is large groups of educated people easily manipulated by propaganda? This stems from the wrongful perceptions as I appropriately began the article with. With all the things that have happened in this world, if you still think the kings/queens/dictatorial rulers are powerful and not think the cowards they actually are, then I myself pity on you.

What is powerful needs to be reevaluated in to the modern world. People that can rant their mouth out on the journalists or frighten them so they remain silent are not powerful. People that exercise their power to force things to happen in their favor is not powerful. People that send young people to die and take credit for their accomplishments are not powerful. They are what they are, the c-word.

The Intelligent Investor breakdown series: CHAPTER 1

Previous: The Intelligent Investor breakdown series: INTRODUCTION

Investment versus Speculation: Results to Be Expected by the Intelligent Investor

Chapter 1 is what it’s heading suggest it to be. Part of chapter one was already explained in the introduction which laid down the basics. Chapter 1 goes into the details of what constitutes investment or speculation. It also goes into detail deconstructing the difference and therefore the accompanying results for a defensive and aggressive investor. So to keep it simple, chapter 1 is divided to three sections.

  1. Investment versus Speculation
  2. Results to Be Expected by the Defensive Investor
  3. Results to Be Expected by the Aggressive Investor

Technical words included:

  • Selling short: You borrow stock from someone else. You sell them for the price you received and buy them back at a lower price.

See introduction for rest.

Investment vs speculation

If you know Graham close and his disciple (Buffet), there is one thing they always warn you about and it is the dangers of speculation. Speculation, as opposed to investment, is a completely different activity and people, the media and the wall street itself always tend to mix them, disastrously so.

“An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.”

The book details how the meaning of the word “investor” has changed over time. This is hardened with the fact that anyone who buys or sells security is called an “investor” by the wall street. Graham observes that the distinction between investor and speculator is a useful one and its disappearance is a cause of concern.

The author urges Wall Street to put forth this concern and make the distinction clear. Graham goes on to warn about huge speculative losses that people will have to deal with due to lack of awareness. Some stock markets themselves included speculative stocks on their capital and results weren’t good.

As per Graham, intelligent speculation exists just like intelligent investing does. However few things can make speculation go wrong.

  1. Speculating when you think you are investing.
  2. Speculating seriously instead of as a pastime, when you lack proper knowledge and skill for it.
  3. Risking more money in speculation than you can afford to lose.

Graham here by laid the solid foundation to call any nonprofessional who is putting money in the stock market is speculating and not investing. These are people that go after hot common stocks expecting a quick fat return. The problem with the same people is that when you average their stock market earning over the long term, speculation will prove to be a zero-sum game.

Although I wanted to keep this series clean of Jason Zweig’s commentary, I am quoting one line that is way more powerful than the entire paragraphs of text you read in the book or this series.

“People who invest make money for themselves; people who speculate make money for their brokers.”

Jason Zweig on TII

Results to Be Expected by the Defensive Investor

The introduction section of the book has already described a defensive investor as one interested chiefly in safety plus freedom from bother. To derive an appropriate policy for the defensive investor, Graham would want to consider what he recommended 6 years ago (1965) and compare the changed market conditions to 1971- early 1972.

6 years ago (1965), Graham recommended “the proportion held in bonds be never less than 25% or more than 75%”. An easy pick would be to keep a 50-50 share between the two. The investor can alter his bond/stock holding according to the market keeping the 25-75% margin.

Graham then goes on to describe his learning from 1965 to early 1972 (book published in 1973) to which changes in the market, especially high-interest rates for bonds are indicating a different idea. At one point, the 25-75 split was put under suspicion because the high returns from bonds suggested a 100% capital allocation. In early 1972, both bonds and stocks were giving fair returns hence Graham’s idea of 25-75 splitting remains invincible.

Policy for a defensive investor

The defensive investor must confine himself to the shares of important companies with a long record of profitable operations and in strong financial condition.

  • Purchasing shares of well-established investment funds as opposed to creating his own common-stock portfolio.
  • Finding and investing in common trust funds. (if possible, use a recognized investment-counsel firm.)
  • Utilize the method of dollar-cost averaging.

Results to Be Expected by the Aggressive Investor

The aggressive investor is looking to make more money than the defensive one but first, he should make sure he is not loosing all of it. Graham considers few ways in which investors/speculators attempt to make money.

  1. Trading in the market: Purchasing stocks by how they are “behaving”.
  2. Short term selectivity: Purchasing stocks showing the prospects of short term profit.
  3. Long term selectivity: Buying stocks with excellent past records or investing in promising future technologies.

However, most promising stocks can have two problems -human error and the nature of competition. Human error at least from the investor side can be brought to a minimum with a great deal of knowledge and skill. The nature of competition is an obvious fact and it is well understood from the airlines’ example in the introduction section.

Hereon, Graham suggests that the investor must follow policies which are (1) inherently sound and promising, and (2) not popular on Wall Street.

The chapter continues to details through more events and corresponding analysis as applied to aggressive investors. But the above line has concluded them all. If you want to take only one thing away from this chapter, this line is all of it.


Whether you are a defensive investor or an aggressive one, there are stocks that minimize risk and maximize guarantee. However, what Graham told must be kept close to your heart. You must look for adequate performance, not extra ordinary performance.

The Intelligent Investor breakdown series: INTRODUCTION

What is the TII Breakdown series?

The Intelligent Investor is a book written by the British-born American investor, economist, and professor Benjamin Graham. It is considered the bible for stock market investing and is recommended by a multitude of investors including most notably Warren Buffet himself. The book first published in 1949 has been updated multiple times and the last original edition was published in 1973 which preface and appendices by Warren Buffett.

Graham died in 1976, however, there are more recent versions of the book with updated commentary by Jason Zweig. The commentary exists mostly to emphasize the relevance of the book in the modern age. As an old book, people might feel that it is outdated. But it has been proved with the time that there is an underlying principle of investment that remains solid over the decades. The same is mentioned in the introduction of the book. This series will ignore the comments from Jason Zweig and focus on the original content itself.

Why this series exist?

The Intelligent Investor has 21 sections. An “Introduction” section along with 20 chapters. It is important to grasp all sections of the book. This series aims to breakdown all the 21 sections one by one. So this post serves both as the introduction of the series as well as break down the introduction section of the book.

The book is supposed to be the beginner-friendly version of his previous work “Security Analysis” however many people find the book hard to understand. Reading it myself, I can say it is an intermediate book but if you want to start learning to invest with TII, you can. It is not impossible to understand, it just takes time.

My ultimate aim with this series is to make it easy for any beginner to understand the book. So I will breakdown the book chapter by chapter and try explaining them to the best of my abilities.

Who is the author of this series?

Since this series will be a long time consuming read you might want to know the qualification of the author. The Intelligent Investor book itself claims to be beginner-friendly however it is easy to get lost in the pool of technical words and jargon in the book. If someone with an economics degree reads this book, it might be very easy to grasp. I am NOT that someone. I don’t have a degree in economics or finance or whatever. I am a bachelor in Mechanical Engineering and my only relation to economics is a mandatory one-semester course on business economics I had to do half-way through the engineering.

That course more or less didn’t make much of an impact as I was still struggling to understand the book as I got sunk in the pool of technical words and jargon. And that is what I want you to know. I am just someone who read each section multiple times, Googled things and learned them from scratch. This is why YOU can understand this book and apply it in your life.

I hope with the aid of this series, you will do it in no time with or without the backdrop of having anything in economics/finance. With that being said, let’s begin the series. I recommend reading the book on parallel with the series.

Introduction: What This Book Expects To Accomplish

So this is the first section of the book and as the title suggests, the author wants to lay down what he wants to accomplish with it. To fully understand the introduction section, you will have to complete the book and read the intro again. For now, let us dive where the introduction is taking us.

Technical words included:

  • Securities: A security, in general, is a tradable financial asset. In this book, it is a term used to describe either stock or bonds.
  • Stocks: A share in a company.
    PS: The term “common stock” in the book as per Graham’s narration simply refers to any stock that can be bought. It is easy to confuse with the technical terms Common stock vs Preferred stock
  • Bonds: An individual bond is a piece of a massive loan. When government or large corporates need big loans, they divide them into many pieces each piece making up a single bond. Bonds, as opposed to stocks, have a maturity date by which the principal amount is paid back. Otherwise, the loan defaults.
    In the book “High-grade Bond” just means bonds that are investment-worthy that produce high yield and has a very low chance of defaulting.
  • Dividends: The share of the profit given to a shareholder/stock owner.
  • Investor: Someone who simply invests in the stock market. (For this book, no confusion with broader meanings of the term.)
  • Speculators/Traders: These are not the same people but in this book, they create the same problem. Speculators give out feeds just by looking at some market symbols and traders buy and sell following them.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: DJIA is a number that is used to indicate the health of the economy. It is calculated by picking the 30 biggest companies in the stock market. The logic is that if these 30 companies are doing well, the entire economy is doing well. The 30 companies are not fixed and change over time. Higher the DJIA, better the economy.
    Best explained in this video:
  • Dollar-cost averaging: Easily explained in this less than 2-minute video.
  • Dow theory:
  • Inflation: Increase in price of goods over time/devaluation of currency over time.
  • Tangible-asset value: “Tangible” – the one that you can physically see/touch. The Tangible-asset value of a company is simply the value of the company’s physical properties (real estate, machinery, etc.) and financial balance.
    Goodwill, patents, copyrights are not included in the Tangible-asset value.

The purpose of this book is to supply, in a form suitable for laymen, guidance in the adoption and execution of an investment policy. Comparatively little will be said here about the technique of analyzing securities; attention will be paid chiefly to investment principles and investors’ attitudes.

– Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

The actual content of the book starts with this couple of lines. These two lines are beautiful as I think it neatly describes what the book is about and to whom it is written. It isn’t written for experts, it is written for anyone and everyone.

The book walks you through so many things intending to make you understand that your attitude as an investor is way above your knowledge and intellectual capacity. That is the number one thing you need to take away from this book. The author goes on to describe the attitude and other know-hows throughout the book as we will see in the coming chapters.

Benjamin is on to the point in explaining things with quotes that are easy to keep in mind.

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – The words of George Santayana repeated in the book as Benjamin explains how financial history is an important subject in investment. The book is based on decades of financial history that you need to learn as you will be deemed to encounter something similar in your future.

The introduction section then goes on to draw a line between speculators (traders) and investors. This is well done by picking an example from John J. Raskob who proposed a theory on how savings of just 15 USD per month invested – with dividends reinvested – in common stocks can earn 80,000 USD in 20 years. I was surprised and taken by that theory as well until the book deconstructs its actual feasibility by theoretically estimating it. They found the value is way lower and could be even negative after adjusting for inflation. The purpose of this deconstruction was to show how optimistic forecasts from speculators like this can go wrong and go wrong wildly.

The book hereby draws the line between speculators/traders and investors. The other category (non-investors) are just looking at a graph and seeing things as either up and down. They just buy and sell stocks without understanding them. It’s an action completely based on some numbers and mechanical means. It is mostly controlled by sudden bursts of emotion. This is something you want to avoid and choose to be The Intelligent Investor instead.

The book then goes on to explain its history. Since the original release in 1949, the economy has gone through numerous changes and the book was updated accordingly. The last version of the book released in 1973 had to accommodate for plentiful of changes as described in the book itself. It is mentioned to emphasize the point that the underlying principles of investment remain the same over the decades.

Now the book takes us to two different kinds of investors -defensive (passive) or enterprise (active/aggressive).

The defensive (or passive) investor will place his chief emphasis on the avoidance of serious mistakes or losses. His second aim will be freedom from effort, annoyance, and the need for making frequent decisions. The determining trait of the enterprising (or active, or aggressive) investor is his willingness to devote time and care to the selection of securities that are both sound and more attractive than the average.” – Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor.

It is sounded obvious that an active investor will earn more over time compared to the passive one. The book is not vouching for one or the another and is written for both of them.

This is more important coming to where the book takes us next. Graham sights an example of investments in the airline industry. It is obvious that back in 1940, the airline industry made as much excitement as internet stocks made the previous three decades. The idea was simple, the number of air passengers will grow in the coming decades. The numbers will triple/quadruple and hence airline industry is one of the best to invest in. While the “speculation” that there will be an enormous increase in airline passengers was true to the last bit, the idea that one should invest in airline stocks because of it turned out to be miserable.

Those who invested in airline industries suffered a huge loss even when the industry grew in size and demand for air travel sky rocketed. This is again to emphasize why speculation shouldn’t be confused with investment even if they are obvious.

Those who jumped to buy the airline stocks because of its obvious prospects maybe the “aggressive” investors. The book shares two morals from this.

  1. Obvious prospects for physical growth in a business do not translate into obvious profits for investors.
  2. The experts do not have dependable ways of selecting and concentrating on the most promising companies in the most promising industries.

With this, the author debunks the idea that an ever-growing industry with ever-growing companies in them may no always be the ideal investment destination. To this day, it is agreed that the airline industry as a whole has collective negative returns. There is something more than what meets the eye.

The next paragraph(s) is written on how investors attitude is the key to success. Investments like the one mentioned in the airline industry come from excitement and temptations. You the intelligent investor shall not be deceived by such temptations and are expected to show patience and restraint.

“The habit of relating what is paid to what is being offered is an invaluable trait in investment.” The author writes as a means to emphasize the need to calculate the intrinsic value of a stock first.

The rest of the introduction section spends its time debunking the speculative approach and its pitfalls. The book in the coming chapters will take you more through the pitfalls associated as it recommends a “Margin of safety” approach towards investment.

Next: The Intelligent Investor breakdown series: CHAPTER 1 (Coming soon)

What is an emotional void?

So I was there the other day hanging around when one of my friends started talking about how an emotional void has formed in her life due to her relationship. When I first heard the term, I thought it was a generic word people use when they are doing bad. But it turns out that an emotional void is a real thing and it is a big problem in the modern community.

An emotional void is a state of being emotionally blank. It is caused by the lack of meaningful emotions. Feeling emotionally void is a common problem across the globe. Today, it is further accelerated by the rampant use of social media.

An emotional void of each person can be a subjective matter. If you feel like you have lost your reason to live, chances are you have no more reason to be emotional about anything. If your partner is emotionally unavailable for you, over time you can become emotionally void.

Emotional unavailability is caused by the fear of being vulnerable to others. By not caring about your and other’s emotions, you also tend to create an emotional void on people around you. That’s because you make them feel like they are purposeless hence instigating an emptiness in their mind.

What forms can an emotional void take?

As regarded above, an emotional void is a subjective matter. For different people, the reason and how they perceive it is different. An emotional void can take many forms.

Isolation: Isolation just may be one of the most frequent forms of emotional emptiness. Isolation can be a reason and a symptom as well as a form of emotional voidness.

Lost purpose: This is another form of emotional emptiness. In the modern world, this is typically caused by a busy life without clear directions. At one point in time, anyone can feel they have lost their purpose to live. This comes from realizations that life is not all about making money.

Genuinely uninteresting life: So many people lead uninteresting life. People just live for the sake of it. Most people go to work not because they want to, but because they have to. This lack of interest is itself a form of emotional void.

What causes an emotional void?

There is a strictly scientific reason as to what causes an emotional void. This is related to your brain chemical reward mechanism. There are typically three chemicals that dictate your brain’s mood -Dopamine, Serotine, and Norepinephrine. Each has its purpose. Dopamine releases when we experience pleasure, while the serotine is associated with learning and memory. Norepinephrine controls stress and anxiety levels.

It is safe to say that the absence of these chemicals creates the emotional void we experience. While this may be the scientific backing to the whole process, there is inevitably something beyond just brain chemistry. This has more or less to do with human nature and being aware of it can be important for a healthy and happy living.

To say what causes an emotional void in in terms of daily life:

  • Busy life.
  • Lack of self-appreciation.
  • Lack of appreciation from others.
  • Being ignored.
  • Feeling left out.

How to know if you are emotionally void?

  • You want to be left alone.
  • You feel life is meaningless.
  • You are not attracted to anyone.
  • Absence of happiness.
  • You feel like you have to fill your void, typically through addiction to alcohol and drugs.
  • You are always bored.

How to recover from an emotional void?

There is a lot of philosophical ways to see an emotional void. In popular western culture, emotional emptiness is seen as something negative while in some eastern cultures and religions like Buddhism and Taoism, emotional emptiness (sunyata) is seen as something positive. That’s because the eastern culture admires not being bothered by emotional states.

Whether you are from the east or west, it would be great if you can get over your emotional emptiness.

Embrace the emptiness

This comes straight from the east and it may just be one of the best ways to cope up with inner emptiness. In eastern cultures, people try to achieve emptiness in their minds. An empty mind is seen as more holy compared to the polluted ones.

As referenced above, what might constitute a negative thing in the west is something people often try to achieve in the east. It is a life’s quest for Buddhist monks. So if you just embrace the emptiness and accept it as an achievement, you will develop a more positive approach towards it.

If you stop seeing emptiness as something bad and instead start seeing it as something pure, you don’t need to be bothered about it. The ball is in your court.

Writing things down

The benefits of writing are something that’s quite researched and made evident throughout the centuries. Writing down things can cure emotional emptiness as it is a form of self-communication. It is a great way to reflect and understands oneself.

As emotional voids can be a result of being alone and feeling that one doesn’t have to communicate with anyone, writing can help fill that gap. There needs to be a bridge between you and the people that you may want to communicate to stop being emotionally void. Writing just might help you cross that bridge.

Light yourself up

(Without them chemicals, obviously.)

Some things can make you happy, some things can give you that dose of dopamine rush that can lighten your day. You know that one thing from childhood that always made you happy. Identify it and try to repeat them.

Is it playing football? Or was it sliding down the stairs? Just do that stupid thing even if you are an adult. Just don’t do it in front of others, that will be awkward.

Finding what specifically gives you joy and doing it is a healthy way to hold yourself together. Those could be small things, those could be stupid things but as long as it makes you happy, it doesn’t matter.

Feed nostalgia

You are feeling emotionless? Here is something that can make you emotional. Open your childhood album, search up movies that you watched as a kid or hear music that made your childhood or my personal favorite, download games you played as a kid and try to play it again. It hits me with a hell lot of nostalgia.

Another way to feed nostalgia is to travel to places that you went as a kid. If it’s a Disney land or an old park, go there. Go to your old school premises or a hotel you used to go to as a kid. So many things can feed you nostalgia and it can cut the emotional void in your mind.

Stop soul searching

A lot of people, most probably early adults wants to determine what they are supposed to do. They think they have some specific purpose on this planet and it is predetermined. These comes straight from our ancient cultures and religions but it is to be evaluated that to what degree is it actually true?

Nobody on this planet is born to do any specific tasks. You are being emotionless and numb not because you are doing the wrong things in life. That’s how life is. There are no well-defined wrong and right things to do. If you are physically strong it doesn’t really mean you should try Olympics or if you are physically weak does not mean you should ignore it. If you want to go to the Olympics, then go for it regardless of any factor given to you by birth.

Stop soul searching, there are no things you are “supposed” to do. Do things you like and stop letting your mind wander around.

Watch an emotional movie

Some movies can work your heart out. Emotional numbness is something that can be treated by doing things that can make you emotional. Watch an emotional movie that might just be one of the best and easiest ways to do it.

First off, watching a movie is an easily accessible option. You can easily get movies via a multitude of online sources (Not vouching for piracy here). You can watch it in the comfort of your phone or laptop without bothering anyone.

An emotional movie doesn’t always have to be a romantic movie with ups and downs. Watch motivational films, comedy films or documentaries. Generally, people associate the word “emotion” with sadness. While it can trigger emotions and help you recover the emotional void, it is rather best you treat your void with positive emotions rather.


An emotional void is a common problem and in most cases it is short-lived. Understanding that emotional void is not a permanent problem can drastically improve your optimism levels to move forward in your life. Emotional voids are caused because the human brain is designed to and can even be a coping mechanism.

There are many ways to deal with emotional emptiness none of which requires extensive use of money or high modifications in your daily routine. So you should let time figure it out and let the day pass. Stay safe and stay healthy.

10 Morning Super-Habits to Adopt Right Away

How you start your morning will define your entire day. And how you live each day will define how you live your life. So it is important to start each morning accordingly. There are some great habits to kick off your morning just the way you want so you can live a happy and productive life. Morning habits are crucial and it is easy to adopt but hard to sustain. You will have to force yourself for a long enough time until eventually, you feel disappointed if you miss any of it.

According to the famous book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, it takes the least 21 days to develop a new habit. There has been a message that’s been floating around the internet claiming that new habits are formed in 21 days. That’s incorrect information, the author mentions that it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit. The false message (which seemingly evolved form this book) suggests someone can adjust to a new condition within 21 days which does not hold fact.

There is no solid scientific backing to a magic number of days that helps you adopt a new habit. However, this study from the European Journal of Social Psychology approximates it to be 2 months or more specifically said 66 days. But everything depends on the person and type of behavior they are trying to adopt. There is no solid number, but there is a range. A range of hope you should be looking forward to while trying to adopt these habits.

1. Drinking water

Our body is made of 60% water, which means water is the most essential component of our body. It is not necessarily supplied by our own body, so we have to supply it ourselves. Just by knowing the shear volume of water in our body should be enough to learn its importance. So drinking enough water is a mandatory task without any appeals.

This may just be one of the easier habits to adopt since you can just place a glass of water right where you sleep. You can wake up looking at a glass of water and effortlessly drink it. There isn’t a lot of physical or mental stress evolved here, so you better not be thinking of any excuses.

Drinking water in the morning comes with a package of enormous benefits. This includes rehydration that can maintain your body water levels straight throughout the busier day time or help increase weight loss because of increased metabolic rate that accompanies it. Drinking water can also improve mental performance as decreased mental performance is often associated with dehydration.

2. Expressing gratitude

Giving thanks can make you happier and if it isn’t happiness you want, then seriously what do you want? Expressing gratitude every morning is one of the best habits you can adopt. This may be a little mentally demanding for a lot of you who could be going through tough times. But benefits are both mental and physical. Being thankful for each day can significantly improve your mood throughout the day.

Improving your mood can also help significantly improve your physical being. People with higher gratitude are more likely to keep their bodies healthy. They are more likely to exercise and generally lead a healthier lifestyle including in food consumption. Mental wellness and physical wellness are correlated, hence being grateful for each day is free real estate for health and productivity.

There are many ways to express gratitude in your daily lives. One of the easiest ways would be to keep a gratitude journal. There are other ways like thanking someone mentally or writing a thank you note you can easily adopt. Waking up and expressing gratitude in some form can affect your life positively. So, try doing it from tomorrow.

3. Asking important questions

What exactly are you waking up for each day? And what do you plan to achieve in the long run? There is a lot of things you need to bring clarity to yourself before you can grow successfully. As long as you are not asking yourself these questions, you are doomed for failure. Because asking them gives you a direction to take your day. And if you don’t know what to do, what’s the purpose of waking up even?

One of the best first things to do in the morning is to ask yourself important questions. You don’t need to ask new questions every day or try to recollect everything on the go. You can keep a list of questions you are seeking answers to and read it every day. That will give you a quick boost of determination and a sense of proper goal to achieve. Vaguely defining your goals is a trap, you must be very specific about it. So repeating what you want every morning is a great way to keep it embedded in your mind.

4. Making your bed

You may have seen this video that went viral on Facebook and other social media platforms way back in 2014. It was a speech by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, BJ ’77, ninth commander of U.S.Special Operations Command (full speech). If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed says the admiral while addressing his gathering.

Making your bed has a package of benefits. If you have nothing to do and don’t know how to start your day, start it by making your bed. Seeing a made bed gives you a sense of accomplishment. And if you had a terrible day, as the admiral suggests, you can always go back to a made bed. Little things in life matter.

Making your bed every morning could be a gateway for cleanliness. You will be subconsciously prompted to keep your room tidy. A tidy room encourages productivity and helps reduce stress. It can also help you save embarrassment (you know what I mean). Most importantly, it can lead to developing other positive habits.

5. Prioritizing tasks for the day

Sure, you want to lead an awesome and productive life. That means you should do the most important task first. It is a no-brainier to come up with a mental image of how your day should look like. One of the best habits to adopt in the morning would be to prioritize tasks for the day. Identify the most important task and do it first. Then follow the rest of your priority list accordingly.

Coming up with a priority list also helps you develop a sense of direction. There will be a sense of your end goals for the day. This can help improve motivation levels. Passing through a vaguely defined set of events every day will get you to lose your motivation. A priority list helps keep track of your day and helps realize what it achieved by the end of it.

You can set up long term priorities for your life and divide them for each day. You can revise it each morning, mark your progress at night and redo it the next day. It is very important that you know what you want to achieve any given day. It doesn’t need to be a big achievement, but there must be something small to achieve each day. You will, in time earn the long benefits.

6. Reviewing goals

Goals are why you live but the relevance of your goals can change from time to time. If you are a skinny person and want to build a body, the goal is set straight but at some point in time, it will become irrelevant. Not all goals are meant to stick around forever and have to be changed. That’s why reviewing your goal once in a while is important. Or better yet, you can review your goals every morning to make sure you don’t miss the due date.

The best thing to do is to divide your goals into different categories. There should be your financial goals, relationship goals, and personal goals. You can review them every day, change or set new goals. You can also make sure that your quest to meet one goal isn’t necessarily interfering with your other goals. Sometimes work-related goals tend to interfere with your personal and relationship goals. Reviewing and prioritizing can help you balance your personal and professional lives.

7. Shaking your body

If you track successful people, you will find a common trait among them. They all engage in some kind of physical activity every morning. That’s because physical activity helps you release endorphins that improve your mood and keep you happy. For the busy ones, you can do this without having to go to the gym. Physical activity does not mean you have to do physical exercise with standard equipment. It can be simply playing badminton or doing some dance moves.

While standard exercises like doing regular pushups do not hurt and can help you build your body. It isn’t necessary if you don’t want to do it, especially if you are not looking to build a body. Many people are interested in dancing or playing physical games. Utilize what you like, as long as you are engaged in some sort of physical activity every morning, you will get the endorphin kicks.

8. Reading something positive

We all read the news in the morning but the news is filled with negative things for the most part. While it is important to be aware of current affairs, it is a bit damaging to consume negative things in the morning. If you want to go for current affairs, find something positive to read. That could be something inspirational someone has done. Don’t read about politics or crimes in the morning, it’s not the best way to start your day.

I avoid news altogether in the morning and just read inspirational books or stories. I also love watching science videos which energize my inner mind for some reason. Inspirational Buddha stories is another of my personal favorite. You can pick anything that you find positive. If it’s stories of successful personalities to the latest technology news, whatever you feel good about, it is okay. The only condition is that you must feel good after reading it. Only then the effort will pay off.

9. Visualizing success

How you want the end of the day to be? And how you want the end of your life to be? Visualize it. Success can be hard to achieve, especially when motivation, by human nature, degrades with time. Visualizing you succeed is one of the best ways to do so. Visualizing success every morning can lead to improved motivation levels. That is a great way to cope up with diminishing motivation over time. What motivates you makes you stronger.

You probably have some idea about how your success should look like. Not just how it looks like in terms of monthly income, but also other ways. Like your car, your house or anything else luxurious or not. So, visualize your success as driving yourself a Lamborghini, or anything that makes you very tempting towards achieving success. I am not asking you to live in a dream world. I am asking you to imagine your dream world every morning and then start working for it. Your motivation levels for the day will be noticeably up.

10. Eating proper breakfast

You are what you eat and your day will be what you eat in the morning. For the very busy people, no matter what you skip, do not skip your breakfast. It’s called breakfast for a reason.

Eating a proper healthy breakfast is extremely important. Your eating habits dramatically affect the way you think and work. If you are leaned towards eating just fast food every morning, it can end up hurting you in the long run. Eat healthy nutrition-rich food, if you are confused about personal recommendations, consult an expert. But whatever you do, you should not skip breakfast in any case. And you must make sure that your kids don’t skip them either.

13 Benefits of Writing

I used to believe writing is a skillful task that needs to be learned and mastered. However, with time I‌ realized that embracing writing as a skill to make an economic living is a tapered view of the whole art. Writing to lead a professional life is all too different from the indigenous art itself. No one should be worried about the associated skills of a professional writer. Writing for a living does not always mean writing to make money. Writing is a great tool for achieving better physical and mental being. So writing professionally or not, it will still contribute to our overall living positively. The writing skill, in this case, matters to a much lesser degree.

Writing is my favorite hobby and I do it every day even if it turns out to be a scribble. Bear in mind that I am not a professional writer by any means. I am only in this game because it adds positivity to my life. Perhaps, it indirectly contributes to my daily living.

This could be because writing has many proven benefits that accompany the art. It is already made evident by the plethora of influential people that have vouched for it. Let us take a look at a few of them anyways.

“My most essential possession is a standard-sized school notebook.”

Richard Branson

1. Reduce anxiety

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It is caused by the fear of what is about to happen. That’s primarily caused by a lack of clarity in your mind. Writing helps you attain better clarity in your thoughts and ideas. Once your mind is clear and your understanding is sharp, you will automatically be less worried about uncertainties in the future. That means you will have significantly reduced your stress and anxiety levels.

This is further expanded by this study conducted by the British Journal of Health Psychology where it was concluded that positive emotional writing leads to lower stress levels. The study further elaborates that the frequent use of swear words could be employed by distressed people as a coping mechanism.

2. Organize your thoughts

As already discussed in the above section, writing gives you more clarity in your thoughts. You will earn a better understanding of your thoughts and it’s relations. That way you can easily help organize your thoughts and ideas better. This will lead to better thinking and communication capability. Both of which are very essential for your personal and professional life.

Once your thoughts are organized, you can make it work together and revise it as needed. This is important because so many people struggle to get their ideas together. That affects their daily living, including income and relationships.

3. Handle hard times

Times can be hard and surviving them can be harder. But so as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s why you must go through the hard times and win them over. The character development that accompanies a hard time will help you earn success in life. And writing might just be the one tool that you need to unlock it.

Writing, specifically doing journals help you get through hard times faster. Journals help you keep account of your daily life and cope up with reality. It improves your consciousness as all your mental junks are leftover in your diary. That means your mind is clear of any incumbent pollution.

Journals are also a great way to stress relief for people that are less comfortable sharing their personal life with others. Lack of communication or its ability thereof causes mental depression. However, writing journals give one a feeling that he is being heard. Writing journals is talking to yourself and talking to yourself is very important.

4. End task your thoughts

Have you ever lost sleep because you couldn’t stop thinking about something? Well, that happens to everyone. Overthinking about something is a real problem almost everyone faces in this world. There might be so many ways to stop thinking too much and go to sleep but a healthy way would be to write the things down. Take a piece of paper and write anything that bothers your mind. You will find that it is less or better yet, not bothering you at all.

Random thoughts could be distracting you even in the day time. This causes artlessness and could be dangerous while doing activities like driving. It will cast a shadow on your work-related performance and eventually cost you an unaccountable loss of money. One of the simplest ways to counter mind-wandering thoughts is to just right them down. You can recollect it as you wish.

5. Recover memories

One of the best things about writing is that it helps you recover your memories. Writing down things you remember can help you remember things you forgot. The chances are, something along the lines you wrote will trigger your brain to recover your lost memory. Whether this is about a specific conversation you had with someone or an event you watched, this can turn out to be very helpful.

This can be better utilized by writing your daily life in a diary. That means you will always keep track of your daily life. That will improve your memory and learning. You will be better equipped each passing day and over time, you will have a physical record to look back at your life and be proud about.

6. Bring clarity to life

Life can be overwhelming with too many events and too many people that pass through our lives every day. It is almost impossible to keep things in perspective in your life. But there is one way, and it’s as simple as writing. Writing will enhance clarity in your life. That’s because, for each passing event, it will help you put things in perspective. We all, after a long overwhelming day, struggle to put things in perspective. And with sufficient passage of time, we will have no idea what happened and what to make of it. This is dangerous if things creep into your personal or professional life.

One of the best things that come out of writing daily is better clarity in your life. This can be done even by tracking your life through a note-taking app. You don’t have to waste a lot of time doing it. It could be a 5-minute process every day before going to bed. Physically writing can make it even better.

7. Improve self awareness

Writing is also a chance to reflect on yourself. What you are interested in writing and how you choose to do it is a reflection of your mental being. This means you can become aware of yourself by writing. These are things that otherwise spend time behind your mind’s backlogs. Writing can make it come forward. Improved self-awareness will bring a big change to your life style.

The writing process can help you start thinking more critically about your life. You will be aware of the subconscious decisions you take and how they affect you. That will keep you alert even in your smallest decisions and come up with productive solutions that can dramatically improve your life.

8. Mass communication

If you are like me and love to blog, that means you are a mass communicator. Whether you blog, write a book or write anything that involves people reading your content. That is mass communication. Writing is a mass communication tool that if properly utilized can change people’s lives in a global scale.

Life is all about leaving an impact. That impression you left while leaving to the heavens is what you will be remembered by. And writing maybe the best tool to make people remember you. Because your writing can inspire people and aspire them towards their goals. You don’t need to be the biggest philosopher of all times to do this. You just need to share any practical values you gained and help other people out.

Not many people are comfortable communicating orally. This is especially true when communicating with large groups of people. So if any of you wish to communicate on a massive scale but is uncomfortable doing so, writing is the best method to adopt. Writing is very compatible with introverts as well.

9. Catalyst for learning process

Writing is learning thoroughly. One can significantly improve his learning by writing things down. Writing things while trying to learn may sound counterproductive in terms of the time it takes. But the concrete understanding and hence the retention that comes with it is worth the trade-off. Writing to learn is one thing, but learning to write is another.

It is always better to avoid electronic gadgets in this specific case. Using electronic gadgets may end up costing way more time than just writing them down. That’s for obvious reasons. But writing them down with hands is also proved to be more effective. There are many scientifically proved approaches to writing that can help enhance learning even better.

10. Better verbal communication skills

Writing is something you do that is way more conscious than simply talking. That means you will come up with better words and proper sentence formations while doing so. Your higher consciousness will lead to improved quality in communication. Greatest speeches are always written first before they are spoken.

Even if you are not giving a speech, you might as well as write down your conversation with your customers before talking with them. This will improve your vocabulary and clarity in communication. That can be very detrimental to your professional life. Even in your personal life, if you are looking forward to a date. Writing down things that you plan to communicate can significantly improve your communication during the date. We all know how that could potentially turn out.

11. Brainstorms great ideas

We all been to situations where we need to come up with some great ideas. whether this is a college project, a startup, an established business or even when running a blog. Writing things down is a brainstorming process. You will get hit by a wide range of ideas down the road. I have personal experience with this because whenever I write an article, in midway I have a plethora of new article ideas. This could be because writing forces you to think. There isn’t really another option than to use your brain to a good extent while writing.

So if you are looking for ideas, start writing now. Take a piece of paper and just scribble your way through your existing thoughts. Soon new ideas will form and you will be amazed by your own brain.

12. Physical footprint

Writing leaves a physical footprint of your existence. You will not be remembered unless you give a reason to. You may not have the best leadership qualities to lead an impactful life. But that is barely necessary in this case. After all, how many people have such qualities? Writing is for everyone that wants to leave a physical footprint of their existence to the rest of the world. Writing has no partiality in terms of their other qualities or identities.

Even if you are uncomfortable showing your writing to the world, you can still keep a personal diary. This personal diary will be a gateway to leave a physical footprint and shall be cherished by the next generation in your family line up. There are no excuses not to write unless your willingness is lax.

13. Sense of accomplishment

This is very evident each time I click the publish button. It is such a stimulating task. I always felt that after writing each blog post, I have achieved something pronounced. I have left a mark that will be mine for ever and should be attached to the internet even if I am gone. I have wrote something that provided and continues to provide practical value to a reader across the globe.

The sense of accomplishment that comes after writing something is a real stimulant. This shall be learned and experienced in-person to know it. That’s why I want to tell anyone who read this to try writing at least once in their life. You will never know what will change your life for the good.