‘Rahul Dravid’ – If you are a follower of cricket, I don’t have to ask if you know Rahul Dravid. And even if you do not follow cricket, odds are still very high that you know Rahul Dravid – one of the best cricketer that India has seen in the last three decades. A batsman with an almost perfect technique, a wonderful team player and above all a fine gentleman. This article is about Rahul Dravid and the personal finance lessons we can learn from his cricketing career. So, pad up and get ready to play some exquisite cover drives – just like RD did.
1. Stick to your forte
When we talk about modern day cricket, one of the most common feature is power hitting – the ability to hit huge sixes. And when we look at Rahul’s career, he was never known to be a six hitter. In his career spanning a little under 17 years, 164 test matches, 344 one day internationals and 1 T20 international, Rahul has 66 sixes against his name. 66 sixes might sound big, but if I say that he hit one six every 1488 balls (248 overs) in tests and every 360 balls (60 overs) in one days, you will appreciate that hitting sixes was definitely not his forte. (Statistics Source: http://www.cricketweb.net)
But not hitting sixes did not make him less effective or less successful. He never tried hard to be like his colleagues known for power hitting – Virendra Sehwag and Saurav Ganguly initially and Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina later.
This is the first personal finance lesson that Rahul’s career teaches us. Stick to your forte – do not try to become someone else. If you try to copy your investing decisions from the likes of your friend or colleague or an expert, you might end up in a very stressful situation. Look within – assess your financial situation, plan your goals and find out your forte.
2. Know your stakes
While we are talking about sixes and Rahul Dravid, let me tell you, in his only T20 international, he hit three consecutive sixes. Yes! Rahul Dravid hitting sixes – and that too three of them. This is one moment every RD fan should enjoy, so watch it before reading ahead.
In the previous lesson, I told you not to move beyond your forte and hers is Rahul hitting sixes which clearly was never his forte. Confused? You shouldn’t be. This is because we need to look at this innings in the larger context. At this stage of his career, Rahul had no point to prove to anyone – he was already a well-established cricketer and an all-time great. Further, this was towards the end of his career and in all probabilities he knew he was quitting professional cricket. The stakes were not very high for him if he failed to hit those shots. Similarly, if you want to move out of your forte and try something else – do it by all means. Just remember, a negative outcome of what you are trying should not affect your financial planning. Do it with an amount you are comfortable of losing – either temporarily or permanently.
3. String Partnerships
The most prominent feature of Rahul Dravid’s career has been his involvement in partnerships. You cannot forget the iconic partnership with Laxman in Kolkata against Aussies It is no surprise that Rahul holds the record of highest number of century plus partnerships. Personal finance is also about partnerships – a partnership between various types of investments, popularly what we call as asset allocation. If you have the right partnership between debt, equity, gold and the likes, your chances of success is much higher. String a good partnership and enjoy watching the long game of wealth creation.
4. Define Success Correctly
Most of you who have followed Indian cricket over the decades would agree with me that Rahul Dravid never got the adulation that he deserved. On multiple occasions when he played well, somebody else played better in that game. He was in the era of bating greats of Sachin, Saurav, Viru and Laxman – so nothing could be done when one of the other four played better. But despite him not getting due recognition, did it make his contribution less valuable? Can it be said that his performance was bad just because he did not get due recognition. Absolutely not! Similarly, as long as you are on track of earning enough returns to fulfill your goals, it should not matter if somebody else is making higher returns. Success is not in getting highest returns, success is being able to fulfill your goals without any stress. This is what you should learn and apply to your investments.
5. Adapt and Win
Another fascinating feature about Rahul’s career has been his ability to adapt. Typically, in test cricket, batting at number 3 is a job of a specialist and Rahul Dravid was that specialist. But whenever the team needed any changes – he was the go to man. An opener is injured during the game – Rahul Dravid will open. Team needs a batsman who can keep so they can carry an extra bowler – Rahul Dravid will keep. Rahul was always open to adapting and that made him a greater player than what the numbers indicate. You need to learn this quality from Rahul. Learn to adapt. You will have to adapt whenever there is a change – change in your income, change in your goals or change in market dynamics. You can only succeed if you know to adapt to these changes. And this will come if you make a conscious effort to change because as a human nature none of us like change.
6. The Added Advantage
The next lesson that Rahul’s cricket teaches us is not to rely on single skill. We all know that Rahul was not a bowler despite him having a few wickets under his name. But he compensated for lack of bowling skill by being an excellent fielder. When I write about Rahul’s fielding, you should first watch a glimpse of his on field spoils before reading ahead.
In your life as well, a single source of income is never enough. You need an additional source of income to lead a prosperous life. Unfortunately for most of us, we do not have time to earn the second income. And fortunately for us, our savings can be the second source of income without much of an effort. All you need to know is invest right and your savings will compensate for the lack of second income. Make your savings work for you and give you the added advantage.
7. Below Average yet Successful
Will you believe me if I say that of every three innings Rahul Dravid played, his performance in 2 of those were below his average performance. Difficult to accept, but this is the truth. Of the 605 innings played by Rahul across all international formats, only on 207 occasions (which is roughly 34%) he has scored more than his career average. Let us not look at these occasions but focus on the message. The message is very loud and clear – ‘You can be successful even if you are performing below average for more than two-third of your career’. Similarly, you can be a successful investor even if your investments are underperforming for a really long time. As long as you have done your basic homework and have invested at the right places, you can be rest assured about overall success.
8. Accept imperfections
For this lesson, I have to take you to a couple of incidents from Rahul’s career from his not so good days. As a fan, it pains to share these but I have to share them with you because these incidents give us a very important personal finance lesson. Watch this stunning clip from one of Rahul’s innings.
This delivery has been etched in my memory forever and it was unbelievable to see Rahul getting bowled by an unplayable yorker. Had the wall cracked? Had it been breached? These questions kept coming on multiple occasions whenever Rahul failed. And what did he do? He responded on every occasion by doing what he does best – batting. This is what you should also do with your money. Made a wrong decision, an impulse purchase or an investment gone wrong – pick yourself up and move on; make better decisions. No point crying over the past. Accept your imperfections and work on getting rid of them.
9. Emotions lead to mistakes
Do you know Rahul is embarrassed by one act of his in his cricketing career? Watch that embarrassing moment before you read ahead.
Is this not shocking? You would never imagine in your wildest dreams that Rahul would throw his cap. A man so dedicated to the game; a man known not to show his emotions on the field had done the unthinkable. This only proves that situations will get the better of you no matter how strong you are. In your finances too, your emotions will get the better off you and you will end up doing something that you will regret later. The best you can do is what Rahul did. Acknowledge it as a mistake and a one-off incident and ensure you do not get carried away in the future.
10. The daily grind matters
We all know that Rahul has been a phenomenal coach too. While being the coach for the under 19 world cup team, in an interview Rahul made a very relevant point about preparation being the same irrespective of the quality of the opponent. Similarly, your preparation should be the same while making any personal finance decisions. I have come across many individuals who will do extensive research before buying a phone or even deciding on a restaurant but they hardly pay attention to where they are saving and investing their money. It is important to have the same level of preparation to succeed.
The Bonus Lesson
This is a bonus lesson for you as a gift for reading till this point.
Plan your Exit
Rahul retired from international cricket after an illustrious career. One might argue that he still had some cricket left in him considering that his average is the last few games was still above 35. But he knew when to call it a day. He timed his exit to perfection before anyone could ask questions about his age or performance or fitness. In the same way, you need to plan your exit to perfection. Exit here refers to selling an investment. Often this is a more difficult decision than buying. Link your exit decision to your goals and a lot of difficulty will vanish. Plan your exit well and live a peaceful and contented life.
This was my effort to pay a small tribute to my hero Rahul and another small tribute to my passion – financial education. I hope you have learnt some valuable lessons in this article. I am sure you will have your share of lessons from the field of sports. Drop your lessons as a comment and let us learn more!
This article was first published on LinkedIn and can be read by clicking here.
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