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.
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