Skepticism, Optimism, and Realism of Trading or Investing

When you enter trading as anything more than just a hobby, you will hear advice, thoughts, perspectives, and judgments from a grand variety of people who believe they know best. How you begin to filter this information and filter the differences between their experience and your own is critical in maintaining your own focus. It can be easy to get caught up in someone else’s enthusiasm or dejection without considering what you really think for yourself.

People in general, as much as generalizations don’t always serve us, are apt to come at you from three different perspectives. They may carry a great deal of realism and have a firm handle on how to interpret the market or they may be excessively cynical or optimistic. When coming from the perspective of excessive optimism or skepticism there will always be a slant to all their interpretations of the market and especially particular investments.

Working through that slant is something that they haven’t yet done for themselves in order to make better decisions. Additionally, if they haven’t worked through their slanted opinions for their own benefit, why on earth would you presume that they would do it for yours? The information that they are giving you isn’t any more valuable than making investment decisions based on your horoscope.

The value of slant, if there is one, is that it allows an individual to decide within their own comfort zone. For a small period in the beginning of trading, that can be useful to a degree. When using their own perspective in their decision making abilities, an individual is basically testing the waters, finding out how accurate their views really are, and are making adjustments along the way. Slant allows us to test our own theories and reconstruct them as we find that they fail.

The downside of slant is much more prevalent and powerful. Slant is often the leading misnomer to the underlying claims of making fast fortunes, quick runs, and of course, get rich quick schemes. When anyone makes a positive or negative claim, they are filtering through slant. When ever we believe a positive or negative claim, we are filtering through slant. Even if someone made three fabulous trades and did the unheard of, like tripling their funds, when we hear about their story we filter it through slant. We either believe it and think that perhaps we can do it as well or we discount as a fairy tale, as an outright lie, or as a possibility for someone else but never a possibility for ourselves.

Just as we learn to filter the ticker tape through an unslanted lens, we also learn to filter the stories, advice, and even feedback of others through an unslanted filter in order to reach our financial and personal goals. By being able to listen or read about the experience of others, their thoughts, opinions, and schemes and decide that that may or may not have been their actual experience but that doesn’t make it all that relevant to our own allows us to make clear headed decisions for ourselves.

We have been taught since birth not to trust ourselves. In so many ways, we have been taught how to listen to others and compare our own judgments, thoughts, and experiences against theirs. This has yet to strike most of us as an unproductive method of making decisions. Until we believe that we are the only ones who really know what is best for us and that we believe that we are capable of making decisions based entirely on our own skills, abilities, and interpretations, we never really reach our own personal summit of trading.

Trading requires a bit of gumption, a bit of enthusiastic willingness to test and trust our own abilities. When we allow the experiences or claims of others to jump in there and help us make decisions for us, we are not really listening to ourselves anymore. Then when we lose, we convince ourselves that we have been victimized because someone else didn’t know what they were talking about. When we win, we tend to believe that we would have made a poor decision without the influence of that information. Taking complete control and taking responsibility for every trade we make, win or lose, then we set ourselves up to experience genuine success and have also proven to ourselves that we are capable of success without the influence of others.

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