Football vs Trading.

I get many questions about my football career and how it has helped me in trading.  Let me first say, I was a below average college football player on a below average football team in the best college football conference.  I had a lot of potential but I largely underachieved. Here are some of the lessons I learned on the field that I apply to trading.

Defensive Line

Getting there is not the goal.

I mistakingly thought playing college football was the goal.  The goal is not to get there, it is to do it well.  I became complacent in some ways.  I let injuries and politics impede my progress.  I let outside factors determine my success.  I believe in two things with every ounce of my body: It does not matter what happens to you it is what you do with what happens that matters and getting there is not as hard as staying there.  Being a breakeven trader is a goal, but it is just the start.  Now that you know what is possible it is your responsibility to yourself to do better.  Keep goaling (I realize this is not a real word).

Running off the field.

Sophomore slump.

This is more relevant to my high school career but there is such a thing as beginner luck.  I had a breakout season my sophomore year in high school.  I was injured as a freshmen, a theme that would continue.  I was named to the All-State team, a huge honor coming from a small school.  I just played, I relied on hard work and instincts.  My junior year I had time to think and process the information.  I only had a little information and that is dangerous.  If you are wondering why an octopus or your child can pick stocks better than you is because they have less information.  I was not aware or capable of understanding the feedback loop.  The key is getting back to simple and eventually building on context.

Disadvantages are an advantage.

I was not a gifted athlete in comparison to my college teammates.  I was a back up to a 4th round pick.  I had to find another advantage.  I had to learn the play book front and back.  I had to study the opponents in great detail.  As a trader, there is always someone who has more money, better information, and better technology.  You have to find your advantage.  I took a similar path as I did in football.  I learned about myself, the market and the relationship between the two.  Without that I do not have a chance.

Be uncomfortable.

For the first year of workouts I puked after every one.  I thought I knew what hard work was but I did not have a clue.  Being uncomfortable is a psychological and physical reaction of survival.  Although I had never worked harder than ever before I failed psychologically before physically. Trading it is a little different.  You have to pick your spots to be uncomfortable.  Most people do not understand risk, once you do, it is time to trade larger if you have the capital to risk.  The trajectory of my trading career changed when I did, if I had not waited, the trajectory would have been in the opposite direction.

Be around people better than you.

The first two weeks of training camp I got better, faster than all previous 8 years combined.  There is powerful motivation behind not getting your ass kicked.  Being in a competitive environment simultaneously raises expectations and makes you aware of what is possible.   Within these networks their are people willing to help you.  There are also people who see you as a threat to their job.  But you have to ask.  You can live off of the scraps of knowledge that the best provide.  Note:  I failed to mention this in a previous post about stocktwits but ST gives you an opportunity be around traders that are better than you.

Embrace feedback.

Practices, some workouts, and games are all recorded from multiple angles.  For the you, your coaches, teammates, and the world to see.  I can still hear the defensive coordinator in his Texas accent, “The film don’t lie”.  Recording in that detail does two things:  Makes it impossible to run away from your actions and makes it your responsibility to change them.  The market is a communication device, are you listening?  Contrary to popular you have to learn from both the good and bad things that you do.  Be thankful for the feedback, do not resent it.  There is no other other feedback mechanism that works in real time.  Use it, be thankful for that gift.

Those are just a few of the things that I learned and are regularly re-enforced.

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One Response to Football vs Trading.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carlos Holguin, Trader Habits. Trader Habits said: Football vs Trading. http://dlvr.it/9Q3rs […]

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