The Traders Journal

Investment Lessons from the Archives

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“It matters not how strait the gait,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.”

Nelson Mandela was so inspired by the last stanza from William Henley’s famous poem Invictus that he had it written on a scrap of paper in his prison cell while he was incarcerated for 27 years.  

I believe investing is much like life with close parallels to Invictus.  You start out as a young person nurturing a basket of individual prerequisites that you deem worthy and right.  You must be willing to accept responsibility for your efforts and the ensuing consequences, not knowing precisely what you and they together will amount to.  It is my experience and observation that those individuals who cultivate those prerequisites diligently over a number of years achieve extraordinary results.  In doing so, they become masters of their craft and are greatly rewarded.  Here are 10 prerequisites that I believe are important:


 

  1. Love what you do.  Passion matters – nurture it and feed your inspirations.
  2. Repeat your successes.  Purge your failures.  Make the effort to understand both intimately.
  3. Embrace change.  No, I mean truly expect change, be open to it and figure out how to use it to your benefit.
  4. Market bubbles happen – accept their profits with a sense of wonder, gratitude and tight stops.
  5. Show up – be prepared organizationally, physically and emotionally to trade.
  6. Ethics matter – always more than money.  A good night’s sleep matters, too.  Never ever let yourself get close to the line.
  7. Be honest with yourself.  Be kind to others.  The two skills are related.
  8. Formulate your thesis.  Reach out and listen to both bullish and bearish commentaries.  Listen for their perspective and reasoning to help challenge your own thinking, but then decide for yourself.
  9. Accept praise for profits.  Accept responsibility for losses, but then move on.
  10. History has shown me that it rewards the bulls with a much higher frequency than it rewards the bears.  Plus, it feels better to be optimistic and positive.

Trade well; trade with discipline!
-- Gatis Roze
 

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