Don’t Act Like This Fish!

[Copy from article,  I have been in the state of fish many times. Needs awareness and effort to not be like the fish]

I once attended a seminar on emotional intelligence. The speaker related an interesting experiment that probably explains behaviour.

The experiment involved a fish in a water tank. The experimenter dropped some fish food in the tank. The fish devoured it immediately. Thereafter, the experimenter introduced another element in the fish tank. When he dropped food the second time, he also inserted a glass sheet between the fish and its food. So, the moment the fish dashed towards the food, it hit the glass sheet and retreated. This went on several times. Every time the fish would swim towards the food, it would bump against the glass sheet. After several failed attempts and some bruises, the fish finally retreated in one corner of the tank.

When the glass sheet was finally lifted, guess what happened? The fish would simply not go towards the food. Surprising, isn’t it? While the actual glass sheet had been removed, it still existed in the memory of the fish.

I was quite impressed with the insights that this story offered for human behavior, particularly in the context of investing. The fish stopped moving towards the food, just the way my friend had quit investing in stocks.

Do you quit altogether what you are doing after some bad experiences. But failures do leave behind some residual psychological impacts that may create a glass wall between them and wealth creation. The key is to be able to handle setbacks without letting them overshadow and jeopardize your behavior and decision making.

As an investor, how do you deal with setbacks and failures? Do you feel that your past experiences weigh negatively on your present style?