Last week I met with a good friend Mike, for lunch.
He’s one of the best intraday traders I know, who decided to stop short-term trading because it was taking too much of a toll on his physical and emotional health.
In the end, he settled for a job as a car salesman and is currently doing very well at it. Mike is hardworking, and VERY street-smart.
Mike In Action
As I met him at the car showroom, I had the chance to watch him in action.
Just as we were about to leave for lunch, a couple walked in and started looking at the cars.
“Hang on for a bit” he said to me, “this won’t take long. They’re not buying a car today.”
I looked over at the couple – they seemed just like any other regular couple.
“How do you know?” I asked. “Is it because this is the first time they’ve been here?”
“Nah.” He answered, “There are plenty of people who buy a car on the first visit.”
“Then how can you tell they’re not looking to buy a car now? I continued.
“When you’ve been doing this as much as I have, you can just tell. You develop a kind of sixth sense for these things.”
Being the gentleman that he is, Mike wasn’t going to treat the couple any different, no matter what he thought of them.
I watched as he went on over to greet them.
“Hi, is there anything I can help you with?”
“Umm, what model is that car?” The man pointed at a silver Mazda. “Do you have one in white?”
“Well that’s a 2011 Mazda 3, and all the cars you see in this showroom are pretty much what we have. But if you want it in any particular color we can get it sprayed for you for a small fee.”
“Hmm… what about the one over there?”
“That’s a 2010 Hyundai Avante. It’s one of the most fuel efficient cars in the market right now.”
“Does it come in dark blue?”
“Nope, the stock car comes in white, silver or black. If there’s a blue one, it’s probably because the previous owner got it sprayed over. Again, we can do that for you if you want. No problem.”
“Okay… thanks. We’ll think about it.” The man turned and continued walking around the showroom.
I stared in amazement. Everything he said and did indicated that he had no idea what he wanted.
The final evidence came when the man asked, “what would be a good car to buy these days?”
“Well that really depends on your budget and preference. Is there any car in particular that you’re interested in?”
“Oh no, that’s all right thanks…” the man took one last glace around the showroom, turned and walked out.
I was surprised at how accurately Mike had read the situation – it was like a game of poker where he knew exactly what the other guy was thinking the moment he stepped in.
As I thought more about what I’d seen that afternoon, I realized it wasn’t really all that amazing after all…
It just came down to plain experience.
Mike was right. When you do something day in and day out for a sustained period, you learn to pick up the subtle cues and characteristics that are invisible to outsiders.
Maybe it was the way the man walked into the showroom, or maybe it was the time of day he came in. Who knows? It could be a dozen subtle indications Mike saw, which led him to conclude that this was a window-shopper.
The difference was that he knew what to look out for, while I had absolutely no clue.
Being Good At Something
If you want to be an expert bread maker, bake a thousand loaves.
If you want to be smooth with women, go on a hundred dates.
If you want to be a world-class musician, practice every day, for years.
It’s as simple as that.
Simple Does Not Mean Easy
This is common sense, but it’s what few people actually practice.
Today I checked my inbox and got another one of those emails: “Trade Forex without any prior experience, with zero risk!”
I suppose that the reason I keep getting these emails, is that people respond to them. After all, it’s much easier to talk about making money without effort or experience, than actually doing it.
Even though I’ve created the Icarus Project, I’m still practicing it every day.
Any trading method that does not require thinking or decision making is fundamentally flawed, because the market thinks and decides, regardless of whether I want to or not.
What do you think? Comment below and let me know!