The Common Thread

I’ve met a lot of traders. I’ve met a lot of good traders. I traded with a lot of good traders.

Let’s get honest for a few moments.
I don’t consider myself a good trader. Probably never will.

There are a handful of attributes that I believe each of these traders shares, in their own way. They all have my full respect.

Why I don’t consider myself a good trader?

It’s not for me to say and it would make no difference if I did.

There is an ethos out there that you have to be the biggest, the best, a monster in this game. I think that is untrue. I believe that you are what you are and you may have qualities that produce positive outcomes when opportunity is presented. I believe that you can implement processes to change behavior, belief and discipline.

“A losing trader can do little to transform himself into a winning trader. A losing trader is not going to want to transform himself. That’s the kind of thing winning traders do.”

-Ed Seykota

While I don’t know if I am a good trader, I do know that I am not a losing trader. That is more than enough.

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happened to them all.”

Ecclesiastes 9.11

What if it truly is up to chance?

What if all of life is just chance?
See, we have this sense that we are in some kind of control. I think that is untrue. Especially in this digital age, we are told that we can control all qualities of our life and that we should. At your fingers, you can know anything, see anything, track/manage all our life’s details.

Has it helped?

I don’t think it has. I think it’s made people lose their minds.

So, what is the common thread?

Above all else, above strategy, above mindset or financial position or personal history, being a winner or being a loser, their common thread is this:

They were and are, willing to watch the odds play out.

Each one of the good traders I know made a choice at some point. They would either quit or they would change. Whatever that change meant, however painful it was. They positioned themselves to be able to sit at the table long enough to find out if they were a winning trader or a losing trader.

Let me tell you, each one of them went through extensive pain to find out.

Now, the clock is not stopped yet. The trick with trading is it’s never over until it’s over. Chance continues to run on.

Embrace the mystery

One of the things I like about trading is that you never know what will happen next. People pretend like they know but they only know in hindsight. The future moment is the only frontier. Where price has not yet been, this is the only place anything new ever happens. It won’t be truly new, it will only be new in this moment, new to it’s context.

Another great place this happens?

It happens in relationships. It happens with kids. It happens when you get over your skis a bit, when you find yourself over extended.

I’m not in markets to win. I’m certainly not in them to lose. I am in them simply to see what happens next.

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