Elite Traders Are Not Afraid to Fail

I received an e-mail from a reader who has been gun shy since starting the year off with a couple of bad trades. Here is a post going back to September 2006 that hits this issue head on:

I just had an IM chat with a trading buddy. After listening to me whine about my two losing trades this week, he asked me a question: How many times did Babe Ruth stike out? Then he signed off.

Well, I had to look it up. The answer is one thousand, three hundred thirty times. I’ll say it again, one thousand, three hundred thirty times. That’s what it took the Babe to hit 714 home runs and drive in over 2200 runs. Interesting. How about some other sports?

Michael Jordan made 12,192 shots, including some of the most clutch shots in the history of the NBA. Guess what? He missed even more, 12,361 to be precise.

My all-time favorite quarterback, Joe Montana threw 1,982 incomplete passes and 139 interceptions. He also completed 3,409 passes, 273 of which were touchdown passes.

What did I learn from this little exercise?

1. Elite players/traders fall down and get back up. The cliche is very true.
2. Elite players/traders are not afraid to fail.
3. Elite players/traders manage risk.
4. Elite players/traders love crunch time.
5. Elite players/traders learn from their mistakes
6. Elite players/traders control their emotions (Montana was often called Joe Cool).

I don’t remember many of Montana’s interceptions or Jordan’s air balls, but these two plays are forever etched in my mind:

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