LB and I have just wrapped up about a month of travelling to different states and presenting, which is something we haven’t done for probably 15 years. It was an interesting adventure and good to get out from behind the screen and talk to people. When I go anywhere I try and be a keen observer of people. It is amazing what you can learn simply by listening and watching and the one thing I learnt this time rather surprised me.
Success in any endevour has a few trials that it places in your way and if you conquer this trial then there will inevitably be another one. Life is in many ways a little bit like the 12 labours of Hercules – there is always something else. As you would expect trading also has these hurdles, some are huge but most are trivial and the thing that interested me most in my current journeys was that people fell at the first hurdle. The first hurdle for many people is actually getting off their own arses.
Let me explain by reference to my own evolution as a trader.
Step 1 – Decide I want a different life.
Step 2 – Get off my arse and decide what form this will take.
Step 3 – Learn about equities trading by once again getting off my arse and going down the the ASX.
Step 4 – Repeat Step 3 repeatedly whilst I devour everything their education department has to offer.
Step 5 – Open an account with a broker – how did I do this?…….I rang them up and asked (this also involved getting off my arse).
Step 6 – Make a trade – how did I do this?…… I rang them up and asked.
Step 7 – Get trade wrong (my trade, my mistake, my fault).
Step 8 – Repeat Steps 6 and 7 repeatedly.
Step 9 – Learn technical analysis – how did I do this?…..I found a book and read it.
Step 10 – Place another trade – make a slightly smaller mistake….repeat ad infinitum.
Step 11 – Begin using computerised technical analysis. How did I learn this?…..I bought a PC and a charting package and spent countless evenings and days playing with it.
Step 12 – Start trading derivatives and make lots of mistakes.
Whilst this is a little flippant there are two central themes, I made a vast number of mistakes and everything I did came about from my own sense of discovery and getting off my own arse. When travelling and in subsequent emails I have been surprised at the number of people who cannot begin to trade because no one will sit down beside them and show them how to place an order or how to find information on their brokers website. When I suggest that they look at the copious and detailed instructions brokers offer all of which is in glorious multimedia they are somewhat taken aback that someone should suggest this, as if the magic do everything for you fairy should sit down beside them and do it for them.
As my father used to say in his more eloquent moments…do you want me to come and wipe your arse for your as well?
One of the hallmarks of people who are successful is that they have a sense of internal direction, this internal rhythm keeps them moving forward and it is powered by their own sense of achievement. My failures are my own but so too are my successes because I seek out new things and learn new things without constantly being prodded forwarded. My hypothesis about this sort of thing is that some people have been in the employee mindset for so long that they can no longer take action for themselves and to suggest that they should overloads their brain. This I can excuse because it is a powerful form of social conditioning and it is hard to break. Lazy bastards I have no time for.