Why it’s not possible to teach most people to be successful

The following three reasons are in my opinion what prevents 99% of people from getting to success. Based on several years of my experience as a mentor and personal coach for traders, developers and fund managers, I am strongly of the opinion that it is only because of these three reasons that most of them spend enormous resources and make every effort only to stay where they are, without any progress. Although my examples are only from markets/trading industry, I’m confident that they can be easily expanded onto virtually any domain of human activity.

1. They do not want to only make money; they want to make a lot of money, and Although none of them ever confess it even to themselves, actually they do not want to learn how to make 10% – 30% a year with reasonable risk. In reality they want to learn how to make 100%+ every month with no risk at all. Eventually they find any resources which support this unrealistic goal and spend all their time — and sometimes invest money — into something that is doomed from the beginning. At the same time they will never spend a dime on anything realistic because if falls short of their expectations.

2. They not only want to make a lot of money, and not only want to do it quickly, but they also want to do it the way they want. This is probably the most ridiculous pattern of behaviour I have ever seen in traders. “I want my breakout strategy to work, could you help me with that?” This is what I normally refer to as “fitting the market to the model”: this trader doesn’t care if his model is relevant to the market at all; instead, he actually wants the market to behave the way he likes. It’s like saying, “I want to use water instead of petrol in my car, teach me how to do it” — and then looking for another mentor or source of information which would tell him that water can be combustible as well. It’s worth making a remark that eventually most likely he will find some.

3. They not only want to make a lot of money quickly and the way they want. They are looking for a ready-made recipe. They do not want to learn how to analyse markets, how to understand the driving forces behind price movements. They even do not want to learn how to use google to find a lot of relevant information about the foundations of systematic trading. Generally speaking, they do not want to think analytically — instead, all they want is to follow a plan developed by someone else.

To summarise, I’d say that 99% of traders are simply not ready to make money at all. Their goal is not making money. Their goal is only self-assertion.

Fortunately there is that remaining 1%, and it is very interesting to note that many of the best students I had a real pleasure to work with were already quite established professionals — not necessarily in trading. This is what makes me think that abandoning the rookie mindset described above is indeed essential for success in any profession.

Leave a Reply