A Phone Call, from David Lamb

December 18, 2006 |

I received a phone call from a friend yesterday. He asked, “If I set aside one to two hours a day and devote it to studying the markets, can I do what you do?”

In a fraction of a second my mind shot back to the years I’ve put in and the days on end that I would spend trying to figure out one little piece of my analysis puzzle, for it then to be disproved a few days later. I thought about all those hard days when I would run my account down to mere chicken scratch, fret over analysis again, and get the account back up. All of this was to be experienced over and over again for the first couple of years.

I completely immersed myself in analysis, counting, and market observation for hours a day. I simply couldn’t get enough of it due to the desire of trying to understand just one more piece of the puzzle. I’m still trying to do this, and still lose more money then I should.

My mind quickly went back to the phone conversation with this friend and I told him the following. Every single biography on a genius, or highly successful person, that I have ever read has clearly shown me the necessity of complete immersion in one’s field of endeavor to be above average. And as I am average in just about everything I must exude greater then average effort in order to achieve better then average success.

I mentioned Isaac Newton, who would be lost in his own “little” world for months at a time, only to immerge with partial satisfaction of an idea thought about many months before, but now calculated as a theory.

I mentioned John Adams, who would spend many months in France and Holland in practical solitude trying to get loans to help keep the new country afloat, or to get allies. As each day ticked by, with nobody but the naysayer to call his companion, he absolutely knew what had to be done and he wouldn’t give up.

I also mentioned to him many of the athletes that he and I were familiar with and how many hours a day they put in to become better then average. Most that I am familiar with not only wanted to become better then average but to become a master of it.

In the end I told him that if someone could be successful at trading with a mere 1-2 hours a day set aside for study they would be the first person I knew of that achieved such a feat. I then told him if he found such a person to wait a week or two, or a month or two, and then ask him about his success again.

Perhaps I was too short with him and that I spoke out of turn. Perhaps it was my pride whispering in my ear that if I can’t be successful in my endeavor with nothing short of complete immersion then nobody can. Perhaps I was wrong?


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