The 6 lessons investors can learn from Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra took to athletics to lose weight and ended up India's first track-and-field Olympic gold medallist. The 23-year-old’s journey is extremely inspiring and holds numerous lessons for investors.
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Neeraj Chopra has created a proud moment for India, giving us our first-ever Olympic gold medal in athletics.

His success prompted me to dig a little deeper into his life to see what events, people, or circumstances might have shaped him. His humble origins make his incredible achievement all the more inspiring but I was even more struck by similarities between his life journey and the investment world. In his story, I see lessons for all investors. Here are a few that I took away.

Lesson 1: You don’t have to start with an advantage

Neeraj was a fat child. His family got him a gym membership and he got in shape. He did not moan about the gym being 20 km away. When admitted to Tau Devi Lal Sports complex, he travelled 40 km a day. He did not complain. He just got on with it, demonstrating that mindset matters more than circumstances.

Similarly, nobody is born with investment experience – you have to acquire it with hard work, focus, and discipline. Anyone can make it happen if they want to.

Lesson 2: Starting early is a life advantage

Neeraj joined the Tau Devi Lal complex when he was 13 years old and worked with single-minded purpose for 10 years. Need one say more?

In the investment world, starting early is the best competitive advantage you can have. Did you know that Rs 1 lakh invested in the Sensex in 1980 would have grown to Rs 5.4 crore today?

This is because the Sensex has delivered an average 17 percent return over the last 40 years. It is not the return; it is the 40 years that makes the difference …. for those of you who are 25, I envy you!

Lesson 3: Tenacity and talent are the two T’s of success

Neeraj initially trained for long-distance running as well as javelin but decided to focus on the javelin and stayed with it for 10+ years. That is a serious physical, mental, and emotional commitment to make for a 13-year-old boy.

That he got better over time is impressive and that he won the Olympic gold medal is hugely gratifying, but what is most impressive of all is his staying power. Was he never discouraged? Was he never in doubt? Was he never lonely in his pursuit? I am sure he was. But he did not waver.

Any investor who has the tenacity to stay the course in turbulent times or markets and stay true to a strategy will be a successful investor.

Lesson 4: Keep the right company

For the last 10 years, Neeraj has lived in the sports training community. This became his support system – friends, colleagues, adversaries, coaches, teenage crushes and so on. Such an ecosystem is invaluable if one is to succeed at the level he did.

There are many like-minded investor communities that allow every person to learn from every other person. The community of users of our InvestorAi app is one of the most engaged and active ones and I’ve seen our users actively helping other users.

For us as a company, it has helped improve our product, given us ideas, stopped us from errors and over all, inspired us with their feedback and comments.

Lesson 5: Setbacks will happen

Neeraj underwent surgery for an elbow injury in 2019 – equivalent of Roger Federer fracturing his right wrist. But he did not let that faze him. He went to the best biomechanical expert in Germany, Klaus Bartoneitz , and after a 16-month hiatus, went on to delight the entire country.

All sportsmen will get injured just the way all investors will lose money at some time in their journey but not letting that break you, getting back on your feet, and going on to win is what makes all the difference between winners and non-winners.

Lesson 6: Get the best coach you can

Uwe Hohn, the German coach, will always be the greatest support act to Neeraj’s gold medal triumph. Uwe himself is an incredible champion, being the only human to throw a javelin over 100m (Uwe threw 104.8m; Neeraj’s winning throw was 87.6m), till a new javelin design disallowed Uwe’s world record. My point is that Neeraj chose the best person in the world to coach him, regardless of nationality, cost, or culture.

The investment world is no different. Information is power and you must find the best investment information in the world that you can get.

Thanks to technologies like AI, this is now within everybody’s grasp. The combination of human and machine creates investment magic – anyone can do it.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)