Monday, March 27, 2006

Is there such a thing as karma?

Man sure feels like it.

I've been in the fits of depression for the last month. Last night I decided that today was the first day out of that.

I struggled to get going during the day, but finally got it together to go to gym this evening. My run almost killed me. I have not been to gym in a year due to a neck injury.

Then I cooked up a storm.

And then I got a positive email from my primary employment target (although the true battle of tonnes of - probably in the region of 30 - interviews now begins - my chances are still on the wrong side of 20%).

It all started with my chance finding of a book called "My Life As A Quant" by Emanuel Derman. He moved from Cape Town to Columbia University in New York in the 1960's. As a merely successful physicist (as opposed to a Nobel prize winner), he left physics at the beginning of the eighties to enter the emerging field of quantitative finance on Wall Street. He rose to head Goldman Sachs' (the world's most successful investment bank) quantitative analysis division, as a managing director. He has since returned to Columbia as a professor in quantitative finance.

I have returned to study recently, in a closely related field to that of quantitative finance. This is daunting, as the required subjects are allied to my majors - I have some catching up of some undergraduate work to do if I wish to pursue the field in further post-grad study. This is all very daunting since its over 10 years since I last studied.

So Derman's book is surprisingly apt - he left UCT and had to catch up undergrad courses prior to commencing with his PHD studies.

But far more than that, it is a book that is about life and written reflecting on youth with the maturity and wisdom of age. I guess that is why I often like auto-biographies.

Anyway, reading the book got me started with some positive thoughts (I'm still reading). And so began my positive Karma.

Life lesson? What I knew, but need to repeat to myself: when you are down, know that you will be up again. When you are up, know to store some of your energy for the next down.

4 comments:

tripeak said...

I should start reading more books and less blogs... err... okay maybe just more books.

And the answer to your question... YES!

It is the question said...

Books are so important. I have a burgeoning library and every time I go to the States I come back with boxes.

Sadly, books cost two to three times the price in SA. One thin hardcover on economics just cost me over a thousand rand.

Glad to hear you on the Karma issue - hopefully the upswing lasts.

tripeak said...

Actually I have a confession… I’ve tried reading books – but I have the attention span of a gold fish. The only books I own are design related or heavily illustrated. Other than that I guess I rely on the Discovery Channel or shows like Dawsons Creek to boost my IQ.

It is the question said...

Maybe audio books are the solution. Or if you're more like a goldfish, start associating food with reading - that would grab a goldfish's attention.