August 4, 2020

SFA Summit lessons from the best: Humility

Amit Trivedi
Owner, Karmayog Knowledge Academy

Almost a year back, we wrote an article about how Lord Hanuman taught humility lessons to Bheem. (https://networkfp.com/humility-lessons/)

During the SFA Summit 2020, we saw humility in action.

On day 1, the first speaker was Amit Biwalkar, and he said something that many found impossible to believe. He said, he gets butterflies in the stomach when he has to get on the stage to speak. Amit is one of the best in the industry and also a prolific speaker. In spite of his qualifications, and credentials, he showed his vulnerability which was not known to anyone.

Lovaii Navlakhi, one of the finest and among the most respected in the industry was the next after Amit. Quoting what Amit had said just some time back, Lovaii also confessed that he also feels nervous while going on the stage. While he gave a positive twist to the entire thing stating that it is good to be a bit nervous, his nervousness is also impossible to believe. Lovaii has spoken on numerous occasions on stage – both within India and internationally. In fact, at FPA Annual conferences in the US, he has represented India. And he showed his vulnerability.

Sujata Kabraji spoke on day 2 about certain ways that she has learnt to cut costs. The most striking part of her session was not those lessons, but again she showed her vulnerability.

The best example was Harsh Roongta. As Nikhil Kothari said after Harsh’s session, when anyone in this fraternity has queries in certain areas like taxation, NRI taxation, or loans, the first name that comes to mind is Harsh Roongta’s. In this context, let us look at what Harsh said during his session: “I don’t know a lot. I am still learning.” As an immediate response to that, I shared my feelings in the chat and then on Facebook: “I am amazed at the humility of Harsh Sir. He is only stressing that he does not know a lot and he loves to learn. Simply mind blowing. If he has so much to learn, where do we stand?

I was simply amazed when I reflected on the above examples and then I remembered what happened around last year during the Network FP Regional Conclaves at Lower Parel. It was the last of the series, and we had Dhruv Mehta as one of the speakers. While referring to the debt fund debacle that had happened in 2018 and 2019, Dhruv, one of the biggest mutual fund distributors, and one of the most respected in the industry, said: “We made a mistake in assessing the risks.” This was a big statement coming from someone of his stature, and that too, in public.

These are examples of some of the best in the industry. These are the people we look up to. My sincere request to you all would be: If you were to imitate one trait of these people, start with humility.

We have used the words humility and vulnerability as if these are synonyms. While these are not synonyms, both the words complement each other. While each one of us is vulnerable, it takes humility to show our vulnerability. It is about getting naked, as suggested by Patrick Lencioni in his book by the same name – “Getting Naked”. Here is how the book defines vulnerability:

Vulnerability – It is one of the most undervalued and misunderstood of all human qualities.

Without the unwillingness to be vulnerable, we will not build deep and lasting relationships in life. That’s because there is no better way to earn a person’s trust than by putting ourselves in a position of unprotected weakness and demonstrating that we believe they will support us.

The book goes on to discuss three fears that stop us from showing our vulnerability.

This vulnerability or nakedness is about a certain kind of fearlessness. These fears are present with most people in business. There are three things that most are afraid of:

  • The fear of losing business
    • This is not about not caring about keeping the clients. It is about being so focused on saying and doing whatever is in the best interests of the clients that there are no worries about the repercussions.
  • The fear of being embarrassed
    • It is all about openly voicing one’s concerns and opinions. It is about asking stupid questions and making stupid suggestions.
    • Even before opening the mouth, if one starts to be judgmental about what one is saying, the chances are that one may miss out on asking really good questions. Very often, great questions and great ideas come out of something seemingly stupid in the beginning.
  • The fear of feeling inferior
    • The last thing any expert wants is for the client to look down on them. In order to get the job or assignment or client relationship, it is important to be seen as important.

It takes immense courage to open up even while facing the fears. The courage comes from the faith that there is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. What you get by showing your vulnerability is unimaginable. While there is a fear of feeling inferior, the client and the world see you as human when you have the humility to showcase your vulnerability.

Let us reproduce the last paragraph of the article about Bheem and Hanuman we referred in the beginning:

In the story in the Mahabharat, Bheem realized that this was no ordinary monkey and immediately accepted the superiority of Lord Hanuman. As investment intermediaries, we got to bow down to the market forces, and maintain our humility. Lord Hanuman, then blessed Bheem that the Pandavs emerge victorious in the big war. We need the blessings of the market forces to emerge victorious.

Humility is one of the greatest traits in financial markets. Arrogance could be a major factor that may cause the downfall of the best of the best.


17 Thoughts to “SFA Summit lessons from the best: Humility”

  1. Avatar Ninad says:

    Excellent article, Amit sir! Remembered the quote “A great man is always willing to be little.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. Avatar Roshni Nayak says:

    Super Article Amit Sir, love your writings…Humility is one virtue we have learnt from these amazing speakers at the SFA summit.

  3. Kalpesh Ashar Kalpesh Ashar says:

    Fantastic summation Amit bhai…

  4. Avatar Ranganath muthu says:

    Exellent Article

  5. Avatar Ashish chadha says:

    Truly Amitji, I remember that fantastic class of yours many years ago where you mentioned liquid and short term investments are risky unlike Long bonds , you were proven dead right in the times that came . Am I glad I was paying attention

  6. Avatar Sunil B Kapadia says:

    Thank you Amit Sir & Sadique for sharing with us very intersting & useful insights about
    ‘humility’. Accepting our own mistake with an approach for learning are important traits. Regards.

  7. Avatar Rajesh Gada says:

    As investment intermediaries, we got to bow down to the market forces, and maintain our humility. Lord Hanuman, then blessed Bheem that the Pandavs emerge victorious in the big war. We need the blessings of the market forces to emerge victorious.- this is what covid has taught us and this is true for all aspects of life.

    Heart touching article by Amitbhai

  8. Avatar Lovaii Navlakhi says:

    I love & use the hashtag #LearningNeverStops. Not trying to be humble, but trying to ensure that time spent in sharpening the saw is never a cost, but an investment. Thanks for your involved participation.

  9. Avatar Bharti Punjabi says:

    Thank You Amit Sir & Team Network FP for such a profound article.

  10. Avatar Pronuj Kumar Pegu says:

    Thank you Amit sir for the recap through this article. It reinforcing the learning during SFA 2020.

  11. Avatar Priya Srinivasan says:

    Simply Superb Article! And the way it has been put up with Humility, loved it 🙂 One of the best Summarisation of a Conference ever read .. Thank you !

  12. Avatar Palod shyam sunder says:

    Super artical

  13. Avatar Trupti Muralidhar says:

    Agree totally, its the humility and vulnerability and at their levels if it is still existing it surely has to be a part of each of us to drive success. Excellent summation Amit Sir !

  14. Avatar Priya Pathare says:

    Very nicely summed up Amit Sir.
    Being humble is the greatest and rare quality.
    Thanks to Network FP team for bring out such wonderful speakers.

  15. Avatar Vinat Bharati says:

    What a nice piece of expression by one-Amit Trivedy and everyone-comments!

    I don’t hv words except, WAH!

  16. Avatar Balajee B R says:

    Vanakkam from chennai.
    Thanks for this wonderful article Amit.
    The NFP Conclave an awesome event we never miss every year, this year was simply way ahead than expectations, asusual.
    Thanks to Sadique & NFP team, once again.

  17. Kiran Telang Kiran Telang says:

    Wonderful recap of the sessions. And a summary of lessons in great humility coming from a very humble person is even more fantastic!

Share Your Thoughts