Michael Jordan is probably the greatest basketball player I have ever seen. He wrote a book titled I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence which lays out his rules for success. This book is of interest to us as traders even though we pursue excellence in a totally different vocation. The parallels between Michael Jordan’s success and our investing world are uncanny.
A few years ago, my trading buddy and I gifted the same Christmas present to one another by sheer coincidence. It was Michael Jordan’s book. In the copy I gave my friend, I had methodically crossed out the word “basketball” and substituted it with the word “trading”. My point was to show these parallels. I’m sure Michael Jordan was not even aware that he was writing a sensational book on successful investing. To excel in trading, as in sports like basketball, one must subscribe to the same universal truths. Valuable investment lessons can be gleaned from exceptional individuals all around us. Therein lies the secret.
The one recurring attribute I’ve seen in those students of mine who become consistently profitable investors is their wholehearted acceptance of the notion that the secret to successful investing does not reside in some indicator but within the ‘investor self’. You know when you have truly embraced the investor self because you’ll become aware of investing lessons all around you. You’ll look for them and you’ll find them. Poker players always say that it’s critical to know your individual “tell”. Poker is a game that is, like investing, based on limited information and probabilities. A tell is the personal trait or demeanor that can disclose a player’s true feelings about his or her poker hand.