I have described the first time I stepped on the trading floor as a similar experience as stepping on a football field. There is a smell, an intensity, and fear. There is a clear winner and a loser on a trading floor and playing field, which is why I love it. Don’t get me wrong there are other forms of winning and other rewards. It meant something to win because there was a loser. It does not feel good to lose. Much like without sadness there is no happiness, if there are not losers no one can be a winner. We have become a participation ribbon society and it is sad. We are forcing everyone to the middle and to safety.
I decided to write this after watching, between running to the bathroom to vomit, the congressional hearing about Goldman Sachs. Trading is a business, there are losses in business. Futures are a little different because trading futures it is a zero sum game, for every dollar gained someone losses a dollar. That is not completely true because a firm will “pay” or lose a dollar for price discovery or insurance. But there is a winner and loser at the end of each trade.
I am not saying mediocrity or being in the middle is bad, every team, society needs role players. Not everyone is made to win, not everyone wants to win. But not everyone should be forced to the middle by not declaring a winner and a loser. If you take the risks, give something up that someone else is not willing to give up, you are smarter, than you deserve the spoils of the victor. You got to the top because others fail. Their failure has made winning possible.
Trading is very risky; every single trade I take could be my last I have blown out before and can blow out tomorrow. I do not want to be defrauded but there are 3 types of people in trading: those f-ing, those who know they are getting f-ed, and those who do not know they are getting f-ed. When you invest in anything you have a potential to lose. You should assume the money is gone. Depending on what you invest determines what portion you should assume is gone. There is a huge difference between being a consumer and an investor. A consumer has an expected outcome, you give x and you get x back. An investor has an outcome, you give x and you get x,y,z back.
My opinion of the whole GS thing is I do not know enough to make an intelligent statement. But, as it appeared to me, they were being persecuted for winning. I fail in a lot of things in my life; for the most part I peaked 11 years ago at age 17. In order for those failures to have meaning and for me to get past my peak I need there to be a winner by others being failures. What is great about the US (and I am sure other places) is that anyone can succeed. Losing is hard, it is very hard but you can bullshit people through their life for only so long before it destroys them. You can have your participation ribbon and I will let the market decide if I have won or loss. Please do not take away my ability to lose because winning will not be worth anything.
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