I was giving my teenage daughter some advice about how to survive on the road. As a newly licensed driver, she was naturally apprehensive, because this is a brave, new world for her.
As I heard myself giving her guidance from 35 years of successful driving experience, I was struck by how similar it was to what I try to share with people who are beginning their journey as traders.
Here are some common points to consider, as you look to incorporate perspectives that have served you well as a driver into the equally exciting, dangerous and yet rewarding world of trading
1. Half of the other drivers are below average. Some of them are also drunk, crazy, stupid, preoccupied, unstable, distracted and some are about to suffer a heart attack. ?Never project your own state of mind onto the person taking the other side of the trade. Just assume they are capable of doing the most extreme and surprising behavior at any time.
2. Disaster is waiting just around the corner, and if you are prepared, alert and ready, and your equipment is serviceable, you just may have an opportunity to make a difference if you keep your wits about you.
3. When you are driving, drive. Be in the present. Pay attention to what’s happening and also to what else might be happening.
4. Don’t drive when you are disturbed, crazy, drunk, sleepy, unfocused, angry, or otherwise occupied. Know when you should not be behind the wheel. If there is any doubt in your mind, don’t drive, don’t trade.
5. Keep your equipment inspected, serviceable and complete with redundant safety measures.
6. Know and respect the rules of the road, and the market.
7. Don’t chase, don’t race, don’t drive like it is there for you to have fun, although there is a certain enjoyment and satisfaction available when you drive well and everything is fine. Just don’t forget your purpose is to get to your destination in one piece and unharmed, and without having caused harm through negligence or inattention.
8. Always have an out. Know where your safe spot is whenever you are driving; Which direction will you go if something happens NOW and you must make an instant decision.
9. There are times when the road and weather conditions are more important than your purpose in driving right now. Know and respect your limits, you can go there tomorrow.
10. Know where you are going and why, and the different ways you can get there. Monitor road conditions along the way and give yourself room for surprises and detours. Don’t drive until you are on the edge of empty. Take breaks and keep your reserves topped off.
11. Always buckle up, because there’s one coming that you won’t be able to see despite your best efforts.
12. Old traders didn’t get to be old by being dumb