I had the pleasure the other day of catching up with Malcolm Bish a graduate of the 2012 Mentor Program and recent winner of the ASX Sharemarket Game. The conversation naturally turned to the ASX Sharemarket Competition and why he had done so well. I am aware of Malcolm trading system since it is an offshoot of what we teach within the Mentor Program. However, a system is only as good as the person driving it and it is dependant upon their motivation. Trading systems are a little bit like diets. You could give a fat person the best exercise and nutrition advice in the world but if they continue to think chips are a health food there is little you can do for them. It is the same with traders who cannot follow a plan. It is impossible to trade for people they have to want to do it themselves and this want has to translate into action.
One thing Malcolm said struck me as important – he said he really really wanted to win. Not that he wanted to win but rather he really really wanted to win. At the heart of everything that we do is motivation – it decides whether we move forward or whether we stagnate. The problem is that most people simply don’t get this as a message and more importantly they don’t understand the implied sub text. You are where you are because of the person you are. You fail at things because of who you are.
Putting aside shattering life events (which most people don’t experience) your life is yours to control – you decide what trajectory that you want it to follow. Such a trajectory is never linear, all lives have set backs and knocks, this is simply par for the course. The problem is most people don’t seem to be able to get over their knock backs. Their motivation lasts as long as the nearest hurdle and then they toss in the towel and go for the next magic scheme that will help them achieve their goals in 12 weeks or less. The problem is that life doesn’t last 12 weeks, life repeats itself over and over again and so you have to grind it out. Trading is merely a subset of life and you have to grind it out. As an example prior to the release of our advisory service I am managing several portfolios and to be honest the task of doing so really gives me the shits at times. I would much rather be out on the bike, having breakfast with mates or hitting the pads than wading through various markets. The emotion of being sick of markets seems particularly intense particularly when one system is in drawdown – which is no surprise. But if there is a secret to life it is to simply be like one of those clowns with sand in the bottom that we had when we were young. You could hit them as hard as you wanted and annoyingly they would just spring back into position.
During our chat it was mentioned to Malcolm that the moment you do anything in public that attracts attention you will also attract criticism. Interestingly this conversation paralleled a conversation I had with a friend is is immensely successful (think buying a $4 million apartment whilst out for a walk). As such he attracts his fair share of jealousy from peanuts. this is part of what I wrote to him –
I think the thing to remember is that the majority of people are not like us. Every morning they wake up, look in the mirror and realise that this is all they are ever going to be. Their lives have peaked and now they face the long slow decline toward entropy. This subconscious recognition of their own mediocrity fills them with a hatred for others who are not ordinary like them. As a consequence of this they lash out at anything and anyone who doesn’t fit into into their narrow definition of what the universe should be. In their universe everything is uniform and grey like they are.
Their rage is not really directed at anyone else but is simply a manifestation of their own limitations. Limitations that whilst not obvious to their conscious mind still colour their view of the world and motivate their actions.
The majority of the people you meet are not going to be like you. They will not have the same drive, the same ambition nor the same global view. This contrast will create tension – in us it sometimes produces annoyance that they are to like us. Whereas in them it merely fuels their sense of injustice and rage. Not for once will they consider that they are were they are because of the person they are. For them growth only comes through attacking others – for them they achieve a sense of achievement and they are free from the burden of their own lives. Eventually though they return to the dried out dull little lives that imprison them.
Thoreau wrote – One cannot too soon forget his errors and misdemeanours. To dwell long upon them is to add to the offence. Repentance and sorrow can only be displaced by something better, which is as free and original as if they had not been.
The take home message is that by trying to be different by trying to be better today than you were yesterday you will attract criticism. It is inevitable, in Australia we are culturally wired to dislike and distrust those who are trying to be better each day. In these circumstances the George Herbert quote comes to mind – Living well is the best revenge.