Regression to the Mean

Few weeks back with the assistance of a marine pilot when our vessel was berthing a port, twice our vessel passed close to a buoy first and then to the break water. If you would have been in my place and after two close encounters what feedback you would have given to the marine pilot after the vessel was berthed?

Berthing Manoeuvre

The most prolific run scorer in one day internationals(ODI) and my favorite Sachin Tendulkar on 17th March 2007 playing against Bangladesh in World Cup, just scored 7 runs in 26 balls with a strike rate of 26.92 – India lost by 5 wickets to Bangladesh. I guess it was one of the worst performance given by my favorite. What followed just after 2 days i.e. on 19th March 2007 playing against Bermuda, Sachin was not out and with a strike rate of 196.55 scored 57 runs in 29 balls – India won by 257 runs. Readers might say that Bermuda is a weak cricket team and scoring against them is not a big deal. So let’s take my favorite player again. 21st Feb 2010, in the 1st ODI against South Africa, Sachin was run out and scored just 4 runs in 5 balls – India Won by 1 run in that match. What followed after 3 days i.e. on 24th Feb 2010 (a historic day for Indian Cricket) playing against South Africa in Gwalior, the batting legend Sachin became the first man on the planet in ODI history to score a double century. In an innings decorated with 25 boundaries and three sixes, Sachin reached the magical 200 run mark on the third delivery of the final over of India’s innings. This not out innings by Sachin resulted in a victory against South Africa by 153 runs.

Score cards

As in play, so in real life I have noticed that a good performance is always followed by a bad one and vice versa. As you have seen above, Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is a good example of this and same is my Gardener – Ram. Whenever Ram gives his best performance in Gardening, his next day performance stands nowhere from his best one and the day he gives his worst performance, I know the next day is going to be a much better one.

For my stock lover friends, I must say this is true for Market too – Have you ever noticed that the hotter a stock is – the harder it falls. They say “Mean Reversion” is the first Principle of the Market and buying stocks/funds purely on their past performance is one of the stupidest thing as an investor we can do. When it comes to market, our hindsight may be 20/20 but our foresight is always blind and as the emotional tail wags the rational dog we fall in a trap of buying the most appealing stock and like a drunken driver who is certain that his reflexes are unimpaired, proceed with the mistaken impression that we are doing just fine.

Dr. Craddock, a preacher from Georgia, struck up a conversation with the Greyhound:
I said to the Dog, “Are you still Racing?”
“No” He replied.
“Well, what was the matter? Did you get too old to race?”
“No I still had some race in me.”
“Well, What Then? Did you not win?”
“I won over a million dollars for my owner.”
“Well, what was it? Bad Treatment?”
“Oh No. They treated us royally when we were racing.”
“Did you get crippled?”
“Then Why?” I pressed “Why?”
The Dog Answered, “I quit.”
“You Quit.”
“Yes”, he said “I Quit.”
“Why did you Quit?”
“I just quit because after all that running and running and running, I found out that the rabbit I was chasing wasn’t even real.”

Kahlil Gibran in his book The Prophet said, “The erect and the fallen are but one man standing in Twilight between the night of his pigmy self and the day of his God Self.” Our life has all seasons – there are spring and summer and also fall and winter and to count us basis on our peak or worst performance will be like Greyhound chasing a rabbit and later on realising that the Rabbit wasn’t real. Remember when Shakespeare said, “Like a tale told by an Idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

Ulysses had the crew bind him to the mast of his ship to protect him from the call of the sirens. Seeing the performance of the marine pilot, though I wished to give a nice feedback but somehow kept it to myself because deep down like my Gardener Ram, I knew that the marine pilot’s next performance is going to be much better than his current one. After few hours of port stay, we departed from the port and to our surprise found the same marine pilot assisting us in our departure now. Yes, You have correctly guessed it now – this time his performance was none compared to his last one and we are looking forward to have him back again on our next call to that port.

Published by Harsh Pandey

A shapeless Pigmy searching for his own awakening. Otherwise, I am a master mariner, commanding merchant ships on international voyages.

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