Luck is not always going to support us if we do not have the proper skill to make appropriate decisions. If we won by help of luck but make the wrong decisions thereafter then we end up with the losing a game. And for making an appropriate decision, we need to work on developing our skills. If we get success by using a stroke of luck then we cannot say that failure will not come to our way. Actually, success and failure is a cycle so that if we meet success then failure will come to meet us next. By developing a skill, we can reduce the intensity of the failure.
John Paulson has started a hedge fund company with $2 million of own fund in the year 1994. His firm is specialized into the merger arbitrage. But during the year 2005, one of his analyst Mr. Paolo Pellegrini suggested him that US housing market is into the bubble territory. And after reviewing facts presented by Mr. Paolo Pellegrini, Mr. Paulson convinced to go against the housing price. He started acquiring credit default swaps. As he got a confirmation for his idea, he has started acquiring more swaps. The largest mortgage guys of the country were positive on the sub-prime during the year 2005. But outside of his team called him a crazy. He has earned during a fall of subprime in the year 2007 worth of $15 billion for the fund and $4 billion for personal.
After the big success, he started searching for a similar big winning idea. When we get a huge success then we need to save ourselves from the trap of ego. This is a very crucial emotional bias which enters to us and we remain unknowable about it.
Mr. Paulson has an idea to buy more valuable asset compared to inflation during the year 2010. So that he bought gold and gold-related investment worth of $5 billion, he became the largest owner of gold in the world. He could not able to repeat his past success and lost 30%+ value in a year and after that, he lost value for consecutive three years. Mr. Paulson other funds also lost in value and also merger fund where he has an expertise that also falls.
We cannot able to hit winning shot every-time but when we hit a winning shot, we need to keep those value which we received. But generally, we try to repeat those winning shot again and again which create destruction of wealth for us. I learn from my Guru – Mr. Neeraj Marathe Sir, from Howard Marks and Mr. Ben Graham, that protection of wealth must be our priority. Neeraj Sir always mentioned that if we focus on avoiding mistakes then we won half of the battle. So that we should focus on not to hit a winning shot but rather focus on not to lose money. If we survive into the game then we may have a chance to hit winning shot again. But if we do not survive into the game then there will not be any probability to hit a winning shot again. If we keep our focus on hitting a winning shot then we compromise with the capital protection which is an essential part of the game. And we should not forget it ever.
Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick