The Green Goddess strikes | Value Research We often tend to underestimate the effects of envy and jealousy but seldom do we understand the effects they have in our lives
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The Green Goddess strikes

We often tend to underestimate the effects of envy and jealousy but seldom do we understand the effects they have in our lives

The Green Goddess strikes

What is it? We often tend to underestimate the effects of envy and jealousy but seldom do we understand the effects they have in our lives.

Envy and jealousy are a part of our evolutionary make-up, says Munger. "A member of a species designed through evolutionary process to want often-scarce food is going to be driven strongly toward getting food when it first sees food. And this is going to occur often and tend to create some conflict when the food is seen in the possession of another member of the same species. This is probably the evolutionary origin of the envy/jealousy tendency that lies so deep in the human nature."

The vices of jealously have been warned about in the scriptures of every religion. "Envy/jealousy is extreme in myth, religion, and literature, wherein, in account after account, it triggers hatred and injury. It was regarded as so pernicious by the Jews of the civilization that preceded Christ that it was forbidden, by phrase after phrase, in the laws of Moses. You were even warned by the Prophet not to covet your neighbor's donkey," says Munger.

Often found in: The 'have-nots'!

In Life: How about one of the most common example of a friend or a colleague or that snob relative who is making more money than you and flashing it all around. Munger has some words of advice, "The idea of caring that someone is making money faster [than you are] is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it's the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There's a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?"

Want more? "Well envy/jealousy made, what, two out of the ten commandments? Those of you who have raised siblings you know about envy, or tried to run a law firm or investment bank or even a faculty? I've heard Warren say a half a dozen times, 'It's not greed that drives the world, but envy.'

In corporations "Many big law firms, fearing disorder from envy/jealousy, have long treated all senior partners alike in compensation, no matter how different their contributions to firm welfare."

In Investing: How about some wisdom from Munger? Munger says, "Missing out on some opportunity never bothers us. What's wrong with someone getting a little richer than you? It's crazy to worry about this."

"Here's one truth that perhaps your typical investment counselor would disagree with: if you're comfortably rich and someone else is getting richer faster than you by, for example, investing in risky stocks, so what?! Someone will always be getting richer faster than you. This is not a tragedy." It's as simple as this.

You just read about one of the misjudgements people generally make while investing. Read 25 ways to (Not) make mistakes to get an account of Charlie Munger's twenty-five typical misjudgements, along with our commentary on how they fit into Indian businesses and Indian investments.


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