Unfortunately, many of us are brought up with risk aversion. With a constant reminder from our parents, don’t do this and don’t do that.  While out of love, the downside is that we grow up avoiding risk, fearing the consequences and tomorrow.

You can always look at any situation as good or bad, risky or exciting, dangerous or adventurous.  Your cup is always half empty or half full and you can always win big or lose it all.  Here is a story that I have just read in Financial Times (25/26 July 2021) Obituary section on a Steelworker turned pioneering stockpicker. Yang Huaiding was a warehouse attendant in an ailing Shanghai steel factory earning just over a hundred dollars per month.  In 1988 he poured his efforts into scanning local newspapers at the local library and discovered that the treasury bonds had different prices in different cities.  He managed to scrape together all his savings, took an overnight train to another city (Hefei, in the province of Anhui) to buy all the bonds he could, and returned the same day to sell them in his city earning a profit of about $125 (equivalent to a monthly wage). 

A simple daring act and just a few hundred dollars went on to prove his hypothesis that earned him millions in the years that followed.   Not only that, Yang was brave and courageous enough to walk into the tax office a year after he started his bond purchasing. In 1989 he walked into the Tax office and declared his business making sure he comes out clean and without breaking any rules or evading taxes.

He contributed his courage to a story dating back to his childhood about a man who dared to eat a crab after he found his village invaded by these creatures which no one had seen before. The man was courageous enough to approach, catch, kill, cook and eat one crab, and in the process discovering a most delicious and nourishing source of food.  “Learn from the courage of those who dare to eat crab and conduct risky personal investments” was one of the slogans that Yang had printed on his business cards. If you want to succeed, sometimes you need to dare, you need to take the risk that no one is willing to take, be daring, be courageous.   If Yang did it, you can do it.