Fail Often But Never Quit

My son started high school in New York this week and its been a big transition for him. He is coming from a suburban school in Boca Raton to an urban school in the middle of Chelsea. The kids act differently, dress differently and think differently. He is learning to adjust but insists on doing it on his own terms refusing to take any of my advice. Much as it pains me to hold my tongue I realize that it is best that he figure this out himself.

As I left the house today, I thought, “Better to let him fail as much as he needs to, but make sure that he never quits.” I quickly realized that this is the perfect motto for trading. Trading after all is the art of adjusting to an ever changing environment. In fact many new traders feel exactly like a new kid at school -- bewildered, out of place and completely ill at ease with their surroundings. But after a few days or a few weeks most people become a bit more comfortable with the process. Just like kids at school, traders begin to understand the rules of the game, find their niche and start to actively participate in the markets.

However, trading is much more difficult than finding your social circle of friends. The rules of the market constantly change and just when you think you have things figured out the markets throw you a curve so failure is much more common. Yet what differentiates winning traders from losing ones is their refusal to quit. I am often reminded of the story of Michael Marcus -- one of the original Market Wizards featured in Jack Schwager’s book. Mr. Marcus’ s early efforts in the market were littered with failure, but he persisted for years before finally finding a strategy that worked for him.

This is true of course of any business endeavor. The other day I watched a CNBC Europe clip where the guest told a story about an entrepreneur that made 243 pitches to investors before he got funding for his business. How many of us are willing to absorb 243 losing trades and stay focused on the markets? Yet that is what is needed in order to master this business. The great thing about trading is that it is a totally unique enterprise that offers many paths to success but the one rule that all of should remember as we make battle with the markets is, “Fail Often But Never Quit.”

Boris Schlossberg

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