“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” -- Ernest Hemingway
And quite a transformative journey it has been. Previously, I shared a number of the key lessons and changes I’ve experienced as I’ve evolved through all five investor stages – from novice, to advanced beginner, to competent investor, through proficient trader and finally emerging as a self-disciplined expert trader. Below you’ll find nine more observations. As American entrepreneur Jim Rohn aptly said, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
1. The markets have taught me that it is not any complex methodology with magical tools and indicators that ensures my investing performance. Rather, it is simplification and pruning out complexity that helps me to improve my performance – even if that sounds somewhat counterintuitive.
2. As is my habit, each trade is revisited for lessons learned because each trade provides a new milestone to chronicle my journey of self-discovery as an investor. My core skills as a trader have been steadily developed in this manner. The market’s behavior and my response to it continually show me how to grow my future by analyzing my past.
3. As human beings, we have complex personal lives and needs that cry out to be satisfied. The markets have taught me that I must first address daily market realities before dealing with all the other personal stuff. Separating and compartmentalizing these two arenas makes both parts work better.
4. I trade as an individual but I feel a part of a greater investing community. This collection of friends – all practicing their collective craft – pushes me, challenges me and helps me become a better trader. Professionals in every field have colleagues who help them operate with more objectivity, and this can be true for investors as well. Although I may trade on my own, I have tapped into the greater community of investors sharing ideas and thereby shaping the trader I’ve become.
5. I have learned how to sift through massive amounts of complex information and data, and in that process I’ve become open to learning and implementing new ideas. I manage to organize and distill the essential facts, to be persuaded by my charts and to act upon my conclusions. The rest of my personal life is a breeze after the markets close each day.
6. I’ve accepted the fact that I have to run to keep up with the markets. Over time, I’ve stayed energized, maintained a brisk pace and discovered that I have run faster than the majority of other investors and that my performance has outdistanced most big mutual funds.
7. The markets have taught me to put my ego aside – along with my other preconceived notions – and to avoid defending a trade emotionally when the charts are deteriorating in front of my eyes.
8. In my professional life, trading the markets as an independent investor is where I’ve felt able to be entirely myself without the baggage of employees and clients. Solitude can be enlightening and invigorating, and perhaps in my case, this is an over-reaction from my entrepreneurial days in Silicon Valley.
9. What I’ve discovered about myself is that I thrive when faced with a steep learning curve. In a world that all too often accepts poor quality and mediocre effort, it is stimulating to be nurtured by markets that call the average and ordinary to account. I’m reminded daily that you cannot accomplish anything significant in the markets or in life by coasting.
Trade well; trade with discipline!
-- Gatis Roze