Patience and “The Goal” Parable

I was talking to a mentor of mine, whom I will formally introduce soon.  He asked me to read something.  It was an adaptation of a parable about patience and the goal.  It went something like this:

A guy goes to a trading mentor and says he has 3 days to learn to trade.

Guy:  I only have 3 days, how can long will it take?

Mentor:  3 weeks.

Guy:  I only have  3 days not 3 weeks.  How long will it take me?

Mentor:  3 months.

Guy: Now you are making me really angry.

Mentor: 3 years.

Guy:  You don’t know what you are talking about, I am leaving. 

Mentor: A lifetime. 

It was more eloquently written but the lessons are the same.

The reward:

Every trade you take you are expecting something, hopefully it is money or learning.  But at first it must be learning.   The guy was destined to fail because his intention was to make a quick buck.  His focus was in the wrong place initially and it will lead him down the wrong path.  He will lose money, completely ignoring the learning.  His search for reward will lead him to the easy one, the psychological reward.  He will just start trading without a reason. He might have a big day or a big trade every once in a awhile but he will continue to lose money overall.

Honesty:

Trading introduces you to yourself and you can’t ignore it. The mentor was just being honest.  He saw the guys impatience.  The more emotionally the guy got about the reality of the situation the more angry the guy got.  Trading is difficult because money is an imperfect feedback mechanism.  The habits you create early on you may continue to pay for throughout your career even it if paid you in the beginning. The good habits you create may not pay you for awhile or you may not be able to see them paying off.  It take a strong person to keep going without rewards.

Experience:

If I have learned one thing it is never to discount others experience. If someone has something to say I am smart enough to learn something from it.  That does not mean that all experience are created equally efficiently.  But completely discounting it is dangerous.  About everything I have ever done I started off thinking I was smarter than everyone else.  It started with my parents and continued to football and trading.  Each step I got better.  However it is important to take the information and make it work for you.

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  • robertsweetman

    Hi Eli – this post is bang on.

    The size of the perceived reward (and usually the emotional attachment to it) invariably blinds new traders to the amount of work, study and sheer exposure required. 

    It doesn’t help that no-one’s selling the amount of work needed – they’re (mostly) selling the shortcut to the top of the mountain and human nature being what it is… You see what I’m getting at 😉 

    Thanks for writing (as you do) with honesty about the real work required to ‘see’ the market and understand the guy in the mirror.

  • Great parable, thanks for sharing.

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4 Responses to Patience and “The Goal” Parable

  1. […] Trading teaches you a great deal about yourself.  (Trader Habits) […]

  2. robertsweetman says:

    Hi Eli – this post is bang on.

    The size of the perceived reward (and usually the emotional attachment to it) invariably blinds new traders to the amount of work, study and sheer exposure required. 

    It doesn’t help that no-one’s selling the amount of work needed – they’re (mostly) selling the shortcut to the top of the mountain and human nature being what it is… You see what I’m getting at 😉 

    Thanks for writing (as you do) with honesty about the real work required to ‘see’ the market and understand the guy in the mirror.

  3. Ahmet Kara says:

    Great parable, thanks for sharing.

  4. […] Never forget it is about the money.  Understand the goal. […]

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