Mohnish Pabrai: The #1 Trait That Makes a Great Investor

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In this interview with My First Million, Mohnish Pabrai emphasizes that patience is the key trait for successful investing. He illustrates this by referencing a Seinfeld episode where Elaine’s boyfriend is content staring at the seat back in front of him during a flight, leading to their breakup.

Pabrai suggests that such ability to be content with doing nothing, akin to watching paint dry, is essential for investors. He cites Pascal’s quote about humanity’s inability to sit quietly and do nothing as a source of misery.

Pabrai believes that those who can remain calm and patient in inactivity have the qualities needed for successful investing.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Patience. If you are a guy who loves to watch paint dry, you know, you paint a wall and just sit there and watch it dry, you will do very well.

Did you ever watch Seinfeld?

Elaine is on a flight with her boyfriend. I forget the name of the boyfriend. If you pull up Google, you can probably find this clip. The boyfriend is just staring at the seat back in front of him.

Elaine says to him, “Would you like something to read?” He keeps looking at the seat back and says, “No.” “Do you want to talk about something?” He says, “No.”

He’s just doing nothing, just looking at the seat back in front of him. By the end of the flight, she’s broken up with him.

He would have made a great investor.

That’s what you need. If you can be happy or like, you know, Pascal had a great quote: “All man’s miseries stem from his inability to sit quietly in a home in a room alone and do nothing.”

If you have this ability to watch paint dry, watch the back of an airplane seat for a few hours and just be in a nirvana state, this is the work you need to be doing.

You can watch the entire interview here:

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