Trading Success: The Event vs. The Process

Everybody wants to win.

Nobody goes fishing, not wanting to catch a fish.

Nobody takes a test looking to fail.

The desire to win has become such a big part of our lives that not a day goes by without us thinking about it.

Winning Is Fun

In the modern context, winning is typically associated with material gain, recognition and influence.

Just look at the world of trading and investing…

When you think of George Soros, what comes to mind?

It would probably have something to do with how he broke the Bank of England and walked away with a cool £1 billion.

Now that’s an awesome win.

Winning is, to be blunt, downright fun.

Winning Is What We Can See

When we look at the World Cup champions, we see a winning team.

We see the quality of their passes, their ability to read the game, and their incredible ball control skills.

What we don’t see however, are the small everyday decisions that got them there.

Most people focus on the winning event — the glitter of fame and fortune.

Few would look beyond the event to understand what caused it.

What We Don’t See

For every large winning event, there are a thousand small decisions that were made along the way.

Before Michael Jordan became Michael Jordan, he was pretty much just like everyone else.

The only difference was that while everyone else was sleeping in, he would get up before dawn and practice.

Instead of going to the pub with his friends at night, he was on the court doing drills.

Instead of sitting on his couch watching TV over weekends, he went for endurance runs.

Two extra hours of practice a day became an extra 14 hours of practice a week… which became 56 extra hours a month and 672 extra hours a year.

This is what we don’t see.

We see only the NBA finals and how he took the winning shot.

It’s a glorious win, no doubt.

But what really got him to win, wasn’t how well he played that night. That’s the misconception.

What got him to win was the process of being on the court, day in, day out, for years.

When he was tired, he practiced. When it was raining, he practiced. When he didn’t feel like it, he practiced.

And that’s what makes Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan.

That was what got him that big win.

It wasn’t that one good shot in the final few seconds of the game.

The Process Isn’t Sexy

But of course, hard work isn’t sexy. Showing up every day isn’t fun.

It’s a small difference waking up an hour earlier each day to work on your craft.

But it’s what makes The difference.

It’s the work ethic that becomes a habit, which solidifies into a lifestyle.

But The Process Gets You To The Event

So you want to win, I get it. Everybody does.

The question is, what are you doing in the process, that nobody else is willing to?

What are you wiling to give up, to get to your winning event?

By |2019-03-24T22:00:24+00:00March 24th, 2019|Philosophy|8 Comments


  1. Tai April 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Chris, your write ups are motivating and good enough to encourage a trader already in a system to make good his system, but for the new babies like me it would have been wonderful if you help to introduce us to a working system through which we might improve ourselves in the game relying on your candid advice.

    • Chris Lee April 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Tai,

      Thanks for the comment!

      My experience with effective trading systems (that are available to retail traders) is that they must include some element of discretion. More specifically, the trader needs to know when not to follow the rules of one.

      In this context, practically any mechanical system could work, provided that the user understands when to sit on his/her hands instead of trading. That’s the key.

      This said, trading systems are like clothes — whether you’ll end up using one in the long run depends on whether it suits your personality and style.

      Personally, I don’t like to trade for hours in front of the computer and my trading method reflects that.

      This is a topic that I feel isn’t sufficiently addressed in many trading forums and websites, so I’ll be noting it down and writing a post about this in the future. Thank you for the feedback!

  2. dave April 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    awesome topic very inspiring

  3. Laur June 3, 2013 at 8:01 am - Reply

    I really liked this post !
    It reminded me about the way things are done !

  4. Jeremy September 8, 2016 at 5:54 am - Reply

    Great post Chris. I have recently come across your work. Have you had any problems accessing broker platforms whilst on you travels? I was in Bali recently and found my broker platform blocked from that location.

    • Chris Lee September 12, 2016 at 6:50 am - Reply

      Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for dropping by. I’ve never been blocked in Bali, but I have commonly experienced poor internet speed. These days, I head over to Thailand when I want to live near the beach, where the internet quality is much better.

  5. fritiz December 27, 2016 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    The say that practice makes perfect. And that’s how it goes also for trading.

    • Chris Lee December 30, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

      Yup! Although one can never get it “perfect” in trading, intentional practice is how you get better over time.

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