I’m often told that I’m lucky. You are lucky that you can do this, you are lucky that you have that, it’s lucky that this happened and so on.
But the fact is that underlying all elements of luck are two important characteristics, belief and perseverance.
Some people are given a good start in life, some are not. I wasn’t given the best start in life and I found myself as a teenager a bit lost and confused!
One thing I did realise, was that I didn’t want the life that I had. That’s where one element comes into play, you need belief to be able to set off on a journey. That first step is probably the hardest to make.
You tend to find is that belief on its own is not enough. Desire, belief whatever you want to call it, wherever you want to end up, is unlikely to be a straightforward journey. So that’s where the second factor comes in. You need to persevere, often in the face of significant adversity and barriers.
I think it’s a fair quote to say that life is not fair. My peers and mentors have often reminded me of that fact and I firmly believe that coming to terms with that fact is part of how you deal with life. Life will throw all sorts of brickbats, curveballs and issues at you. But it’s not that that will define you as a person. It’s how you deal with it, that will define you. Things are not fair and injustice should energise you, don’t dwell too much on the disappointments.
One of the things that surprised me, was that after years of hard work when you finally get your breakthrough; you expect the world to change. It doesn’t. Life carries on as normal and there isn’t any recognition that you have ‘made it’. Nobody holds a party to say well done. If that’s what you are looking for, be prepared to be disappointed. This tells you that your objective at the outset must be clear and achievable and take this into account.
The second surprise for me was that you can reach a point where you are very confident about something, because you have explored it thoroughly, explained it beautifully and actually did it. But people will still choose to try and proffer an opinion that opposes it or what you did. People will push their opinion on you simply to make themselves feel better. Though 1+1 = 2 for some people if that means confirmation that you are right they will do everything to prove that it actually equals 17. Never let people sway you from your path.
You quickly learn that even if you are completely sure of something and know you are right through careful application of your principles, it may be out of favour with others. Social conformity will ensure that your view does not shine through. Don’t suffer fools gladly, you will not stand a chance of overturning their views, no matter how right you are.
If your view is correct, then it will eventually shine through and people will catch up with your opinion and wonder how on earth you had such foresight. But the fact is you were right all along, it’s just that nobody realised!
That’s the essence of perseverance. Sticking to your guns, for valid reasons and seeing things through to their successful conclusion. People will tell you it’s not right, not possible, even if you know it is. So I never fear going against the grain anymore, never. People say things for their own reasons, even if they are entirely false. Ignore them, see through it. Don’t let them dent your confidence.
During my journey, I’ve leant on people who are much older than me to give me a path of what happens next. I’ve also noticed that you do need an injection of youth. People coming up behind you do not carry the same prejudices as people who have gone before and they always carry more energy. Change and being challenged is good, change sweeps away the old and brings in the new. You need to change to move forward, embrace it.
I would conclude that another element that will help your new journey is to surround yourself with good people. Good can mean anything, it doesn’t mean wealthy, it doesn’t mean successful. But having a mix of different types of people will allow you to weigh up all options available to you and give you a good view of any decision that you must make. Realise nobody can be 100% right but alternative views will provoke some thoughtfulness in yourself. Accept their thoughts and yours with appropriate humility. If somebody forcefully puts across a view, dismiss it. They are not listening to your question.
You can see I’ve talked very little here about luck. That is because I’m not a believer in outright luck.
People often feel that if something good that happens, it’s down to skill. If something bad happens is because you got stitched up somehow. The truth is both happen in equal proportion. Don’t praise yourself too much when things go your way. Just try and steer a common path. Don’t keep changing your mind every time something good or bad happens, just keep on ploughing on to your eventual goal, which is probably in sight your current position, but maybe a bit distant at times. If you keep walking forward even a meandering path will allow you to reach it.
So when people say to me, “Hey Peter you’ve been very lucky”. I just remind them that luck is where opportunity meets ability.
Not only that, you must have the ability to take the opportunity when it is presented to you. Sometimes that takes some guts, and sometimes the opportunity doesn’t turn out to be what it is, but taking it and learning from it is the most important step to continue your journey.
Category: Trading strategies