When I was in elementary school, I was amazed at how mum could type on the computer without looking down at her fingers.
Her eyes would be glued to the computer screen as her hands glided effortlessly across the keyboard. Within minutes, she would type out an entire document without glancing down at her fingers even once.
As a 10 year old watching her, this totally blew my mind. What kind of sorcery was this?!
I thought mum had some sort of magic power. It was like a mutant ability.
No kidding… I actually thought that might be possible.
So naturally, when she was away from the computer I sneaked up to it and tried it myself. I thought that maybe some of those mutant genes would have been passed on to me.
Could It Be Magic?
In my head, typing out “My name is Christopher” seemed like an an easy enough proposition.
But when I sat down at the keyboard, I was immediately confronted with my first challenge.
“Where’s the letter M?”
I looked down at the bizarre placement of alphabets.
“It’s not here! Why is the letter M missing?”
“Wait, that can’t be right… maybe I didn’t take a good look. Let me check each alphabet one at a time.”
“Q… W… E… R… T… Y… U… I… O… P… A… S…”
And so, I went through each letter until I finally got to M (which, to both my frustration and relief, was the last letter on the keyboard).
So I pressed it.
In response, the Word document printed out the letter M.
Right. So far so good.
Now where’s the letter Y…
Five minutes later
For a 10 year old, five minutes of button checking and pressing can get old pretty quickly.
I soon figured out that I didn’t possess any magic “keyboard typing” ability and suspected that neither did mum.
So I went over to her and asked, “Mommy, how come you can type so fast?”
She looked at me for a moment, as though she didn’t understand the question.
“How come you don’t have to look at the keyboard when you type?” I continued the interrogation.
She paused, then laughed and said, “well, I’ve been doing this for over 8 years, so of course I can type without looking down.”
She then went back to doing whatever she was doing, as though she had answered the question thoroughly to my satisfaction.
But I wasn’t satisfied. That didn’t answer my question at all. It couldn’t be that simple.
How To Master Trading
Decades later, in a conversation with a new acquaintance, he asked me, “Man, it’s pretty amazing what you do. How did you learn to trade successfully?”
At first, I was going to say, “Well, it’s a long and complicated story”.
But I stepped back and thought about it a little more.
My journey was long, yes. But was it truly complicated?
Looking back, it seemed complicated, but at the core of it was actually a simple process.
“Every time I made a mistake,” I said, “I would learn not to do it the next time.”
“Over time, I made so many mistakes that there were practically none left to make. Then I started to make money.”
That was it.
That was the secret of my ‘success’.
Correction And Repetition
The culture of our era is obsessed with instant results. We want quality, and we want it now.
Most people want to eat well and look good, but aren’t willing to spend the time to cook and exercise.
Retail traders want to make money from their laptops anywhere in the world, but lose interest when they realize it’s going to take at least a year to do it.
Sadly, we’ve come to demand quality results while at the same time not being willing to invest in the processes that produce them.
The result of this is a tendency to over-emphasize the role of talent and luck, and under-appreciate the role of good ol’ fashioned grit.
Mum Was Right
To master any skill, it just takes practice.
That’s all we really need.
Once in a while, we may come across tools and resources that facilitate the learning process, but the path to mastery ultimately boils down to getting our asses down to the court and shooting hoops until we get good at it.