I'm reading "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" and there's some absolute gold in the book. The author's attitude to what he's doing is broadly applicable to anyone in any probability-based endeavor that will sometimes fail and requires self-control to not go on tilt during -
It didn't take me long to realise that there was something wrong with my play, but I couldn't spot the exact trouble. There were times when my system worked beautifully, and then, all of a sudden, nothing but one swat after another. I was only twenty-two, remember; not that I was so stuck on myself that I didn't want to know just where I was at fault, but that at that age nobody knows much of anything.
The people in the office were very nice to me. I couldn't plunge as much as I wanted to because of the margin requirements, but old A.R. Fullerton and the rest of the firm were so kind to me that after six months of active trading I not only lost all I had brought and all that I had made there but I even owed the firm a few hundreds.
There I was, a mere kid, who had never before been away from home, flat broke; but I knew there wasn't anything wrong with me; only with my play. I don't know whether I make myself plain, but I never lose my temper over the stock market. I never argue with the tape. Getting sore at the market doesn't get you anywhere.
There's four points in that except that I really like -
1. "It didn't take me long to realise that there was something wrong with my play, but I couldn't spot the exact trouble." He's comfortable with uncertainty and knowing that he's ignorant, and yet, he's not sure why.
2. He calls it "play" - which wraps everything in the appropriate perspective and gravity.
3. "I knew there wasn't anything wrong with me; only with my play." He doesn't take it personally or let it affect his identity when he loses. The problem isn't him, it's his actions.
4. "I never argue with the tape. Getting sore at the market doesn't get you anywhere." He doesn't get emotional - he just adjusts and keeps moving forwards.
Hell of a read, too. Compelling narrative.
Reminiscences is highly recommended.
Miguel Hernandez of Grumo Media and I have swapped some really good communications recently. Super sharp guy, he sent this observation and question to me -
Here is a suggestion for a future post for you. Today I met with a friend who has been friends with the [recently very successful movie director] for many years. He noticed I got some attention from Ashton Kutcher and is convinced that my career is going to skyrocket too (he is dreaming of course) and I am going to become yet another of his friends that "makes it" and he doesn't.
He is a hilarious dude and very talented movie editor and wants to succeed and make a difference on this world, like all of us really. Today he took me out for lunch to pick my brain a little and get some advice. He had a great point which I totally agree with. Here it is:
So I keep saying that to succeed you have to welcome failure and keep trying continuously. But that really works if you actually have an idea of what your passions are. The problem, the big problem most of the world have is that most people don't have a clue of what is that passion for them.
I have had that problem myself, well, my problem is that I always had too many passions and wanted to do everything which is fun but also dilutes your chances to be very good at something specifically.
A few months ago a friend of mine moved to Vegas. He had a really sweet fish tank that he couldn't take with him, so he gave it to me.
I got really into it, of course. The only problem was that the fish kept dying. Here's the graveyard :
1. The cutest little red fish in the world. He was this tiny shy red fish who would always hide. Finally after a month of having him he started to come out of hiding and swim around. To move anywhere he really had to get his tiny little fins moving. I went to Massachusetts to visit family and left the heater in the house set to 70 so that the fish wouldn't get too cold. I have a little heater in the tank, but I didn't trust it. Unfortunately there was a heat wave, and when I came back the poor little guy was dead.