by Lily Mitchell
With contributions from Eragon,( New York best seller written by a 17 year old who has the sequel, The Eldest; they have recently occupied spots one and two on one of the SA best seller book lists).
Wisdom for life is passed on from person to person, father to son, mother to daughter, and mentor to a young aspirant, leader to the follower, and now in recent times, coach to sportsman, executive and professional alike.
So it has been with interest that I read and enjoyed the wisdom of a 17 year old in his first novel and New York Best seller, Eragon, passing wisdom through the characters he created to youth and oldies alike.
As he lies dying, Garrow, Eragon’s father, passes his wisdom to Eragon in the following way:
“First, let no one rule your mind or body. Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered. One may be a free man (or woman) and yet be bound tighter than a slave. Give men your ear, but not your heart. Show respect for those in power, but don’t follow them blindly. Judge with logic and reason, but comment not.
“Consider none your superior, whatever their rank or station in life. Treat all fairly or they will seek revenge. Be careful with your money. Hold fast to your beliefs and others with listen. Of the affairs of love…. my only advice is to be honest. That is your most powerful tool to unlock a heart or gain forgiveness.”
There is a lot to think about in this quote. Let us consider the impact of ‘judge with logic and reason but comment not’ on careers in the Financial Markets.
Most positions in the Financial Markets depend on gathering information in one form or another and making appropriate decisions. So the words of ‘judge with logic and reason’ are very valid and helpful to the young starting their careers as it was to Eragon starting his journey as a youth with a mission and a magical dragon at his side. But here’s the thing…. is ‘but comment not’ applicable?
Sometimes it is applicable and biting your tongue would be excellent advice. You would have to make that decision on the fly by intuition and gut feel – as many of your decisions are taken in the fast moving markets that you have chosen to be in. Certainly the wisdom of ‘show respect for those in power’ is essential in all work situations and the rider of not following them blindly is also neat information for those new to an industry.
Sometimes it is not the right thing to do to hold your council and comment not. Progress in the markets might well depend on the soft issue of speaking out at the right time and remaining quiet at the right time. The soft skills of people management are the ones which enhance careers.
Let us consider what constitutes speaking out at the right time. Feedback is the process which you would be using to those around you. In the bigger scheme of things, most information in a fast moving environment is in people’s heads and the discipline of writing down the daily learning does not take place. The economists write forecasts of what will happen and explain what has happened but neither of that helps in the instant of commenting on what you see happening. Saying things as you see them can require courage.
The socializing at lunches and the drinks after work are critical places for giving and receiving information. Such sources of information are for you to judge the value of with logic and reason. ‘Give men your ear ‘ means listen to what is around you. The market stream of information which comes though on your brand or brands of electronic market financial information need to be judged with logic and reason. But you have to practice making your own judgments based on the information that comes your way. You can listen with interest to the financial commentators interviewed on the radio each evening talking about the events you have been tracking and acting on all day. Information is passed in the oral tradition from person to person and may be highly valuable or it may be of no value at all. It is for you to judge the value of it with logic and reason.
Your growth in the market will depend upon your ability to gently and quietly make your own judgments and to take small risks by commenting upon them. The comments may take the form of feedback to those around you. What is the intention and purpose of the feedback you may ask? Are you making statements of feedback to show how smart you are? That is hard to resist. Are you making statements of feedback to assist some of your colleagues to greater insight to events in the moving markets? This is a contribution to learning of those around you.
Alternatively, there is great value to you in listening to the feedback of others about you. Here your comment would be to thank the person then judge the usefulness of the information and use that part which is useful to your best advantage.
Feedback which has the intent to provide insight and information is of great value. Feedback which is geared to showing how smart one person is with the aim to establish superiority over others is of little value. Yet it is practiced a lot in the social environment – and you may already have encountered it in the Markets. Here you take what is useful and toss out the rest with no waste of energy on taking things personally.
The first sentences of Garrow’s advice are valuable too for one in the early stages of their careers in the Financial Markets. “First, let no one rule your mind or body. Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered. One may be a free man (or woman) and yet be bound tighter than a slave.”
Garrow here encourages Eragon to make up his own mind about his situation and not be bound by any other – even to take special care that his thoughts are free and his decisions are made with his own logic and reason.
Think about Garrow’s advice today and take that which is useful to you in your chosen career.
I repeat here for you the words of Christopher Paolini, as he completes his book, “May your swords stay sharp!
2003. Christopher Paolini. Eragon. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.