November 1, 2011- Humility and Sui Generis

I was told a story by some very esteemed men in my life.  They both told me that there were three kinds of people.  There was the proud man, the pitiful man and the prepared one.  Unfortunately, both of them prescribed me as being a proud man, and that if I wanted to succeed in life, I had to be prepared to let my guard down, be humble enough to listen to their words, as success only comes to those who are humble enough to learn and relearn every single day.

I shall not expound the whole story, as I believe the description is quite easy to understand.  Perhaps my strongest qualities would be reading incessantly and finding good stuffs over the net.  Sometimes, I don’t have the time to write them all down, so I just bookmark them in my own google docs for references.  For instance, the 7 Billion infographic made by NPR and Mona Simpson’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs are things I love reading about, and I think you should check them out as well.   Paul Kedrosky’s review for Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs and Walter talking about how he felt writing it in NY Times’ opinion pages are also good stuffs to check out upon.

In particular, while reading, I began thinking about these questions:

How much was still left after so much had been taken away?

Even as an independent trader, I’m terribly aware that there is only one rule that I have to remind myself everyday, it’s hard but I have to deeply ingrain it to my system.  I have to learn to appreciate the things that I have.  I have to preserve capital at all times, and not trade because I fear missing out (whether it’s a short or a long position).  As I was reading how Steve Jobs counted his steps, after his surgeries and operations with his cancer, he always pressed a little farther every single day.  His wife Laurene always encouraged him.  Steve’s an intensely emotional man, and I unfortunately am as well.  I get carried away whenever my original position swings from a profit to a loss, reversing and doing unnecessary things.  I never am satisfied with a 3% return and will always try to get something more from the market, eventually not gaining anything at all, and perhaps losing more.

In truth, I hate the fact that I’ve always wanted to hit six sigma days, when in truth, I should be satisfied with just a 50 pips gain, or a few ticks and call it a night.

We read biographies for the story, but also to learn why people are the way they are. What we learn about Jobs is that he was sui generis, one of a kind. We could roll the Apple tape backward and forward with any other CEO at the helm, and the company would almost certainly have failed. It was Jobs’s aesthetic, arrogance, charisma and capacity for work that made Apple what it was. – Paul Kedrosky
-Faceless Trader is in Chapter 8 of Walter Isaacson’s “SteveJobs” and have a blessed day as you go to your folks who have passed away.

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