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"This is the business we've chosen".....


It’s the end of the year, a time for natural reflection and looking back on the year that past.

Our favorite T.V. shows are reruns. The Christmas specials are all based on reflecting on years past and the New Year to come. Even the Kardashians had their end of year special reflecting on favorite scenes when they are hugging and cursing out each other at the same time. Oh wait, that’s every episode. Regardless, the end of the year is a time to evaluate.

Diets and exercise programs get an overhaul as we plan for our New Years fitness Resolutions. Weight Watchers Offers free registration. Oprah hires a new Personal Trainer to ultimately become rich and famous for touching her sweat.

May- December relationships end.  J Date and E-Harmony offer enrollment specials.

It’s a time for measuring up and calculating on how we’ve done.  In most professions, the assessment is not in our control. Typically, the evaluation process is left to your superiors.

Lawyers are judged based on reputation, politics and likeability to be promoted to partner.

Teachers, Accountants, Residents or Doctors in training, even large Institutional Bankers bonuses are all judged based not just on performance but also on someone else’s  subjectivity.   Salespeople need to act polished and have the right look and charisma to truly make it.

Most often other people’s perception of reality of how you are performing is what becomes your reality and they often control your occupational situation.

In the proprietary trading world and vast majority of hedge funds, you’re appraised ONLY by the results.  The market is your judge.

For many of us that is what is so encouraging and attracts those of us with entrepreneurial spirit to this profession.

The market is a FAIR judge. There is not subjectivity or brown nosing.

The Market doesn’t care what you are wearing or what title is on your business card.

The Market doesn’t look at your GPA scores or which University you received your Masters or Ph. D.

The Market doesn’t care how good looking you are or how white your charming smile is.

The results are what determine the factor on how you’ve done.
That’s the beauty of this business.

The constant challenge is that the Market also does not care how successful you’ve been in trading. It’s an ongoing battle to prove your abilities and stay humbled.  Unlike a lawyer who made partner or an Executive at a large corporation with a guaranteed bonus and pension, the trader has no guarantees.

As the year wraps up and especially as the New Year approaches, you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself and change who you are when it comes to trading.

I hear traders saying the right things but then their performance doesn’t follow in the same direction. It doesn’t matter what you say, your actions are what really count. You need to build your internal confidence and make the smart changes. Or perhaps you are already in the process of making those changes, and then the New Year is the proper time to execute them. Or possibly you had a great year and you implemented your strategy well, and then make it even better. Stick with the new regimen, and always look to improve.

Very often you hear traders place blame elsewhere when it comes to their performance. They might claim that the technology had a glitch or their capital allocation wasn’t sufficient. They can blame the Risk Manager for their allotments. But what they really need to do is direct the blame, the fault, the culpability only on themselves.

To succeed in trading, you really need to look in the mirror and be objective of what you see.

Like a person struggling with their weight who blames their spouse, (or their roommate or their mother or fill in blank) for buying the cookies that they can’t stop eating, no one is forcing them to eat. Similarly, no one is making you to make those trades.

In the movie The Godfather, Hyman Roth said it like it is: “This is the business we’ve chosen”.   As traders we’ve chosen the ups and downs of what the Market brings.  Take this time for final review and think back on what you’ve done. Now, think ahead of what you want to do.

You can and should take control of your own destiny. This is the business you’ve chosen. Now make it work./