All of us want to succeed. It doesnt matter what. We want success in whatever it is we are doing. In your work, in your marriage, in your business, in your relationships, in your hobbies and areas of interest, in the friendly games that you play with others, in arguments with whoever……….the list is endless.
But success anywhere requires effort. And that means Time, And Effort. And commitment of resources. So, when we are thinking success we are actually thinking time and effort and commitment of many of our resources (money, network, relationships, effort etc). Problem is we are not thinking about all these with enough clarity.
For example, I have always wanted to design a software to analyse the market that combined both technicals and fundamentals. I set out doing this way back in 1988. Developing one cost me around 40K, a princely sum back in the late 80s. Prior to this I used to draw charts by hand. That used to give me a real feel for the market. Once it was being drawn by the software, the quantum of work that could be done increased manifold of course but the “feel” for the market was lost. I had to re-find it thru some other means. This was the cost that I paid to get a greater control on the total stocks traded. I have, recently, developed another software, this time for facilitating market analysis and giving me processed data and ready trades. It has cost me a good amount of money. I expect to become a great deal more efficient, using this software and that will pay me back multiple times the cost.
The more you wish to succeed, the greater the size or range of the success, the more is the price you have to pay. For great success, a singular focus is often necessary. Can you have such a focus? Do you have support systems to enable this? For eg you may be married with a small child, living in a nuclear family set up with a working wife. How do you think you are going to bring in the single pointed focus? Unless your spouse is extremely supportive, this is not going to happen. If you decide to go after your passion anyway, you may end up alienating your small family or grow distant from them. Now that is a big cost and one has to be ready to pay it. This is particularly so for career oriented women. Our society is skewed against the career women- they have too many strikes against them. So those who emerge very successful and famous, are quite likely to have paid a dear cost.
What price do you pay for success in trading? The biggest is loneliness. Very few people understand what it takes to become successful at trading. Hence the difficulties that you go thru are largely not appreciated and many times, not even noticed! In any office or a business, you have colleagues, peers, superiors, juniors, customers, vendors etc. etc. People. Human beings like to interact with people all the time. They have a social side to their nature. A trader, by definition, is lonely. No colleagues, no one. He has to fend for himself all the time, be alert not to be beaten, all the time. There is not a single day that he can relax- everyday is a new day. The high alertness, the need to remain informed all the time, the need to be disciplined all the time- these are all high costs to pay, but most of these are not even visible to others. To them, you appear to be just sitting around, doing nothing much. The qualities that make you successful in trading appear to attract ridicule in the normal world. Since most people don’t trade, they don’t understand your success too. So there is always a disbelief about it, perhaps a suspicion even, that your success is not entirely above board or worse, even legal!! These are image problems that you would encounter.
While personality improvements happen as you progressively gain success in trading, they can impact other areas of your life. To succeed in trading, you need to develop a certain detachment towards money and what it means. This habit of being detached many times spills over into other areas of your life and you may be seen by many as someone who is not ‘sensitive’ enough, not ‘warm’ enough, not really a ‘caring’ person etc. when in reality, you are none of these! So strength that you have developed in one area becomes a liability in another!
We love success and often speak about it in others. But rarely do we see the costs that they end up paying to achieve that success. When we are young all we can think of is succeeding. But not a single youngster thinks of the pains that come along with it, almost like a shadow. When they experience it, they are surprised but they are already committed to the path so they need to continue. Now they are paying the price and not feeling too happy about it. Right now, at the current stage of my life, I still want to succeed at so many things- that is natural. But now I am cognisant of what costs I will have to pay- with my time, with my preferences, with having to give up several things that I love currently etc. etc. Am I ready for that? That is really the question everyone needs to ask himself when he goes after success. Do you care sufficiently for the success, do you desire it enough that you can make yourself pay the costs?
It is better to ask these questions at the start than to experience it painfully later. It is better to avoid regrets from occurring than to create them and compromise to live with them thru the rest of your life.