Take the plunge based on "Approximate Truth"

I was reminded of this while reading about Karl Popper's influence on Soros's investment philosophy in "More Money than God". I was also reminded of - why it is important not to wait until you know the "complete" truth. There is nothing wrong in trying to know the truth, or should I say - more truth. But, waiting is waiting. Doesn't matter what you are thinking about if you keep waiting. 

Take for example - a sector that you are trying to invest in. You can essentially spend a few years in trying to know everything or start investing with respectable awareness of the "approximate truth". Even when you do decide to invest in a few companies - diving into the fine print will not get you anywhere. Having seen the inside story of investing for a few years now, I'd be really surprised if someone claims to understand and appreciate all the details. In most cases, I'd probably end the conversation with a laugh unless I am talking to the team who wrote it. 

In fact how many things do we really understand entirely, anyway? I wake up with a song on my mobile phone, fidget with my coffee machine, shuffle through the cereal boxes, wait impatiently (3 seconds) for hot water, plug in my headphones, look at my watch twice during the elevator ride, travel in temperature controlled vehicles for the next hour to reach office. 

By 9 AM I have I pushed a few buttons, turned a few knobs... and I have no clue how they work. In fact coming to think of it - I am surprised that I make it back to my bed everyday (alive). But... I do interact with a lot of such things (without much difficulty) to make more effective use of my time. 

Its not just information that I am talking about. Give "x" amount of rational data (let's say a bunch of economic indicators about renewable energy) to 5 people regarded as experts in that field - it is unlikely that they will reach the same conclusion about the future. There is also a fair chance that some of those conclusions will not be based on objective trail-of-thought, at all. 

So the point is ... wait and poke around. Keep doing that (poking around) but at some point of time  - take the plunge. And it's okay if the tipping point was not a rational call


  1. Very first point to understand, "Is there absolute truth". If so, it is only nature and beyond human control. We depend upon therefore on approximate truth and that too it is self visualisation.
    A situation changes based on our perception and perception changes constantly based on our mental state.
    Planning certainly has to be done but it cant be for unlimited period. So at some point of time one has to dive.

  2. Adding comments from Facebook:

  3. Tamal Roy - My comments are there under the paper.There is a story where a person used to be always in fear whether he has put lock on front door or not. So he will come back after few minutes to check the lock. In the bargain he used to always miss the bus. Dont wait for it to happen, it may not happen at all. Decision making is an art. Bold and dynamic persons never fail in their mission. Doesnt matter even if it is bit late.

  4. Tanmoy Roy -
    Thats very good analogy. Soros went through the same crisis himself. He was constantly thinking that if he stops being paranoid, he would lose the wealth by making poor stock selection. He had to take a break from investing all together to to accept and recognize his success as permanent.