What a long journey it has been from last Diwali to this one! Leading up to the festival on October 23 last year, there was real fear in the air. For a whole generation of people used to working and saving and investing in a benign environment, those few days redefined what panic could be. Though there have been stock market crashes in recent times, the panic last year reset out mental standards –and it encompassed investments, jobs, businesses, real estate and future prospects in all these.
Or so we thought. In these short 354 days from one festival to the next, there has been a complete transformation of the mental framework on investments. In a manner of speaking, people are saying that if we could survive that, then we can survive anything. In a strange and perverse way, the depth of the panic and the way the recovery has restored a confidence that is actually more sure-footed than what existed in 2007.
At that time, many of us were circumspect about there being a bubble and what would happen when it burst. Now, we feel that it has thrown the worst at us and we are still okay. Now, the normal comment any cautious soul would pass on this would be one advising circumspection.
However, maybe this is not that sort of a time. Perhaps one should imbibe a bit of the Diwali spirit and say, “ Yes, we made it through the worst of times”.
It could be that investment markets are running ahead of themselves. But what matters is the attitude you would like to take. I think the last 12 months have proven that no matter how dark the outlook is, if you have to act on belief alone then it is better to believe that things are going to be better than that things are going to worse.
If a bunch of pessimists compete with a bunch of optimists compete with each other on the investment returns they can generate (there's no other difference between them), then the optimists are far more likely to win.