One of the life principles that I have developed and added to my philosophy is that life is just a bunch of information and what you decide to make it mean and do with it.
How did I figure this out?
Well – part of it by just trading. Trading is just a bunch of information flow – some of it displayed on the charts, a lot of it not displayed on the charts – and what I decide to do with it and about it.
And also because of my observations of my journey and others around me over the past decade.
This led me to my belief that life is a bunch of information and how we interpret it and what we do about it.
As Jim Rohn said:
“It is not what happens that determines the major part of your future. What happens, happens to us all. It is what you do about what happens that counts.”
Your body is giving you information about how it feels. When you have a conversation you are being given information about other people and their thoughts and beliefs and feelings and desires and concerns, etc. A book is just information. An app on a smartphone can display information. If you go to church and listen to a sermon, that is information.
When I look back at my life and the people I grew up with, life is a bunch of information and ideas and what we do about them.
As Lao Russell said:
“Consider your own identity, your own personality, for a moment. What kind of person are you and how did you become that way? Let us give thought to it. As a child, your mother taught you things. Your father taught you things. Your entire environment taught you things. You became a composite being, a composite thinker. Your mother’s and father’s thoughts affected your thoughts. Your environment companions affected your thoughts. Their personalities were in you and yours in them. You later went to school and your teachers were in you. Their thoughts were your thoughts to the extent that you accept their teachings. You grew up…. you studied… you read… Your personality changed to that extent. In the making of your own personality, you became what you loved and accepted as pleasing to you. And that is the kind of person you are today, a very composite being composed of ideas which reflected your own desires but strongly affected by the personalities of hundreds of others. And so it always will be if you continue to become a composite of other people.”
It pays to re read the above quote from time to time.
This brings me to the three sources of information and influence in your life:
1. Your Schooling / Academic Education:
A big portion of your life up until you are around 18 – 25 years old is dependent on your schooling. Your academic education. You go to school as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult if you go to college. You spend eight hours a day there, and the teachers teach you certain things. You learn to read and write, etc. How much academic education impacts your life depends on the quality of the ideas taught to you, if they were ultimately related to your goals and ambitions and vision in life, and if you managed to interpret them and remember them and put them into action.
Parents are just so busy that they just send the kids off to school and whatever happens, happens. They hope for the best, and in most cases, never plan for the worst. That is just the way the average person and family is. That was how my parents and family environment was.
And it doesn’t matter if you go to an “elite” school that costs a lot of money. “Elite” schools are not going to magically give you burning desire and burning ambition and a vision in life. “Elite” schools are not enough if you desire a life of grand achievement and success. You still must posses the individual desire and initiative. The burning ambition is necessary, or else a whole lot of nothing is probably going to happen in your life.
Again I say that most people just have children, lead normal lives, and expect the school system to save them. This is not a good idea. You must inject a massive amount of your own burning desire and ambition, or else, nothing much is going to happen.
If you rely on the school system, and it is subpar (probably true), and you have no burning ambition, then that’s it. Your cooked. It’s over. A life of mediocrity. Unless of course at some later point in your life you develop that burning ambition (very possible).
Don’t expect to learn how to trade in school. Don’t expect academic education to make you a millionaire in trading. If you do happen to learn a few things while there, that is wonderful. Rely much, much more on your own individual ambition, desire, initiative, and vision. Rely on your own discipline and finding and doing of the powerful activities.
Have you ever wondered why some people can get a bachelors degree and go to the same college, but their life paths take them in completely different directions? One of them can just be an employee, while another person becomes a millionaire or billionaire. A lot of it boils down to what they did after they did what all the normal people did. There is the story of Ken Griffin starting a hedge fund from his college dorm room.
There are those aspiring traders that desire good grades on various tests and certifications, etc, in an attempt to be a wildly successful trader. They are seeking various academic credentials. In my opinion it is a misguided attempt. If you want to be a trader – trade! Grow your own account, and if you decide to grow further, grow the money of others that you are managing.
Two stories of traders I want to share with you that deal with this decision about whether to bet on your own skills and growth and whether to go for more academic education.
The first story is of Paul Tudor Jones. He graduated from the University of Virginia. Then worked for a few years floor trading. He applied to Harvard Business School, got accepted and was ready to go. Then he said:
“I literally was packed up to go and then I thought, ‘this is crazy’, because for what I’m doing here, they’re not going o teach my anything. This skill set is not something that they teach in business school.”
Within five years after making that decision, he wracked up his greatest market performance ever, raking in a +200% return in 1987, with reports pegging his personal compensation between $80 to $100 million for that year. He is still trading now – close to 30 years later and has had a very successful and fulfilling career.
The other example is of Stanley Druckenmiller in his own words from New Market Wizards:
“I had enrolled in graduate school to study for an economics degree. However, I found the program overlay quantitative and theoretical, with little emphasis on real-life applications. I was very disappointed and dropped out in the second semester.”
He too has had a wildly successful career as well, being the chief architect behind Soros breaking the Bank of England in 1992.
Hence the reason why Jim Rohn used to say:
“Formal education will make you a living; self education will make you a fortune.”
As for a bit of my own academic story, I did take some economics and finance courses in college, and compared to my global macro knowledge that I have today, I can see that the difference is night and day. “Global Macro Economics” as I like to call it is very different from what is taught in an economics course, etc. Which is why I haven’t opened up an economics textbook in many years. It is also the reason why I developed the “Order Flow Economics” portion of the Order Flow Mastery Course. This strips out the non-essentials and gets to the crux of the issue so you know what is important for your use in trading the financial markets.
When I analyzed companies in college, the theories they taught me revolved around using the Dividend Discount Model, etc. Knowledge of such things would never allow me to even get close in capturing such trades as The Apple Trade, or Telecom Profits. It would have been impossible to even fathom. Capturing such trades required a drastic shift in thinking and action. It required NEW IDEAS from new sources. Eventually I developed a powerful “Battle of Scenarios” trading methodology that revolved around the crucial elements of the expectations of the market participants embedded in the price.
2. Family and Friends Environment growing up
You come home from school and then what happens? You are exposed to the family and friend environment growing up, and even into adulthood. Therefore, where you end up in life is partially dependent on what conversations you had at the dinner table and with your friends. What ideas and beliefs and philosophies were you exposed to and made your own?
Personally, my parents had misconceptions about trading and the financial markets (they still do). Operating under what they only hear on the cable news, etc, and not knowing that you can make a fortune if the market collapses, etc, are just some of the misconceptions.
As Paul Tudor Jones said of his mother in Market Wizards:
“My mother is a classic example. She watches ‘Wall Street Week’ and she takes everything they say with almost religious fervor.”
Don’t rely on what your parents believe about the market – especially if they don’t have much money. I would even argue, that even if any of your parents are successful traders, that you should still go on your own journey and figure out your trading style. Even rich traders, that produces millions in profits every year, can still have some false market beliefs that you should identify and replace. And also, their trading style may not suit your personality.
There is another misconception of middle class parents, etc, is that they think it is better to make slow and steady returns, rather than large returns. In trading, you don’t always know when the big day, the big week, the big money, the big year will come. Sometimes, what doesn’t happen in a year, all happens in a single day or week or month.
Trading returns can be distributed in certain key weeks and months. Giving two examples from George Soros. In his book The Alchemy of Finance, most of his +50% return for the year 1986, came in the first nine months of the year. Then the rest of the year was winning some, losing some, to be about breakeven for that period of time. In 1992, the situation was flipped. He grinded out small profits for the first eight months of the year. Then in the last four months of the year, exploded to a +68% return.
These are with very large sums of money, so if you had a smaller account, you could have been much more nimble and used more leverage for a bigger percentage return.
To sum this up, having a happy and successful childhood, may not have been up to you. You have been brought up in a dysfunctional family. You have had kits in school that bullied and intimidated you. It happens. It happened to me.
Just tell yourself: “So what?” and then move on to making the rest of your life one of achievement and adventure. This part is up to you.
By the way, I have looked those kids up, those bullies in school. Nothing much became of them. Completely mediocre lives. Don’t be satisfied with that. Go for a life of ambition and achievement and all the fascinating people you meet along the way.
3. Your Individual Ambition, Initiative, Desire, Vision
This source of information is where the MAGIC happens. This is where the MIRACLES happen. This is where you can transform your life – with a speed set by the intensity of your desires.
Realize that EVERYONE in the world is in their own bubble, in their own little worlds, and not many people break out of their bubble. Not many people have the capability of “thinking outside the bubble/box.” There is a $50,000 a year bubble. There is a $500,000 per year bubble. A $5 million per year bubble. A $500 million per year bubble, etc. There are various thoughts, actions, desires, beliefs and philosophy associated with each bubble.
Your academic education and your family and friends, they are all in their own bubble as well. In order to get out of this bubble, you must get new ideas from somewhere and interpret them properly, to help spur your desire for something greater in life!!
What you learn from your parents, friends, church, etc is NOT ENOUGH to lead a spectacular life. Search for new knowledge on your own!!!
As the book The 80/20 Manager writes:
“Who do you think can provide the most help in your work and life? Your close colleagues? Friends and family? Or people you hardly know and rarely see? The answer is surprising. Great leaps forward in our lives – such as getting a fantastic new job or finding the key to transforming a business – are more likely to come out of the blue, from casual acquaintances, than from our close friends and colleagues”
“Granovetter speculated why friends and family – who are strongly motivated to help – are usually less valuable than casual acquaintances in our career turning points. He came to the conclusion that our friends, family and close colleagues form a ‘closely knit clump of social structure’ where most contacts are in touch with the others. These close contacts have access to the same information that we have, but not much more. So we have to move outside our immediate circle and contact the distant extremities of our social network to gain fresh insights and learn new information. This means renewing contacts with people from the past or cultivating new links with friends of friends.”
Realize that some friends can have an interest in keeping you in their company. In keeping you at their level. And if you are an ambitious person, the thoughts and actions and desires you have, and level you are operating at, is far above their level. Realize that you will ultimately have to engineer a new social circle from the people you grew up with. Realize that with this new journey, you will be leaving the thoughts and actions of your family, childhood friends, and the 95% of people for whom nothing great happens in life. You will be entering the realm of a life of achievement and prosperity and higher consciousness. You may still have some childhood friends, but you will most certainly meet NEW people that aid you on your journey, and you aid them. Mutually beneficial relationships.
You must think uncommon thoughts and do uncommon actions. For at least part of your day. Sometimes a large part of your day in the early years.
Take a walk or drive around town. Realize that with this trading ambition for millions, or any ambition and desire for achievement of any kind, it is an uncommon journey. Don’t just be OK with it. Embrace it with open arms. Say yes to this new life. LOVE IT.
As Muhammad Ali said:
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”
If you desire to live a more powerful life, you will need to desire and search on your own for more powerful ideas! For there are some sources of information in your life that are not exactly known for getting you out of a rut and lighting a fire underneath your ass for achievement and making a lot of money. Learning the history of the Roman Empire may not exactly get you excited about how to make the Big Money in life. I get that. I understand that. I went through it.
So with this personal ambition, love education of all kinds. If education stopped at formal schooling, the world wouldn’t make any progress. Love whatever academic education you have gotten. Then focus on what you can learn that is consistent with your life vision and goals.
You may not have had a choice what you learned in middle school, but you most certainly have a choice what you desire to learn about in your adult years. A very powerful ability. The ability of the human mind and body to choose to go after a goal and vision. To lock onto an obsession and go after it. It is something that animals do not possess. Use this ability to better your life for more health, wealth and happiness!!
Your life can be traced back to a record of what you learned at your academic education. Traced back to what you learned in your home at the kitchen table and conversations you heard at the top of the stairs. In fact, one multi millionaire entrepreneur wondered why he was rich and his brother was broke. He felt that there was an age difference between the two and that he was able to hear the richer and more abundant conversations when their family was rich, and when his little brother came along, the family fell on hard times and the conversation shifted. The rich brother got exposed to both the rich and poor conversations, while the younger brother only got to see the poor conversations.
And finally, your life can be traced back to what you chose to learn on your own!!!!
Have a love of learning and growth, especially when you are out of school and can choose what to learn about. Have a love of the journey. Have a love of implementation. Have a love of the big and small details that help to produce maximum profit.
Finally, feed your mind the powerful trading ideas that can change your life. Click Here for the Order Flow Mastery Course.