I am encouraged today with the reading of this article on the latest investment guru/genius, Li Lu. This 44 year old Chinese survivor of the Tianamen Square protests has gone on to be one of the most successful hedge fund managers and heir apparent to Warren Buffet at Berkshire Hathaway!
Some lessons and analogies I take away from this great story are:
The power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and personal devastation to learn and thrive in the world at large. Mr. Lu was an orphan and at one point in his life lost most of those closest to him in a massive earthquake in China. The more crap life threw at him, the tougher and more determined he became.
Sometimes it is better to escape than to stand and fight. It seems obvious to me that the key to his freedom and success was to ESCAPE the repressive regime in China and pursue his personal freedoms. More and more people are on the move globally today looking for that personal freedom and sovereignty to compete and profit without hyper levels of institutional interference and robbery of both intellect and financial resources.
Mind over matter...it seems obvious to me that Mr. Lu used his natural intelligence and will to overcome his circumstances. People who overcome and succeed without the "silver spoon" are usually sharper and better equipped to make momentous decisions than those who grow up "spoiled, fat and content".
Risk/Reward...this man has chosen to take tremendous risks to get where he is in his short 44 years. While it sounds like he has made some great connections and had big people helping him...I'm sure they did not do so blindly or simply altruistically. Li Lu has had great failures before his successes...again an example of overcoming disappointment when your risky moves don't turn out. Like any great hunter, if you misfire...you reload and aim again.
Use your knowledge and past experience. It seems this man has made his greatest "hits" with investments back in his Chinese homeland. How ironic that the country he rejected and rejected him has become his greatest, most profitable investment so far.
I think Mr Lu's example can be embraced by many of us Americans in this day and age. We are living in an era of increased government activism and encroachment on individual rights and freedoms. Many of us are being financially devastated by an economy run amok by government and financial institutions that have lost their moral conscience when it comes to self direction/responsibility and free enterprise. Our system is in decline and I personally believe America will someday have its own version of "Tianaman Square". Any of us who can maintain our dignity and sovereignty during these times of standing "against the odds" have the potential to turn things around...at least for ourselves. If we don't save ourselves first, we will not be there to help anyone else. Martyrdom is a highly over-rated concept. Mr Lu's story tells us that sometimes in order to thrive, we must escape the prisons of our own environments first. That is something a majority of the world never considers...therefore never does.