Collection of quotes / stories that I find illuminating.
Jesse Livermore on Being Clear on the Trade-offs to Reach Your Goals
- An earnest young newsman went up to Jesse Livermore one day and asked if he felt it was worthwhile to become a millionaire, considering all the strife and struggle one had to go through to get there. Livermore responded that he liked money a lot, so it was certainly worthwhile to him. But aren’t there nights when a stock trader can’t sleep? the reporter pursued. Is life worth living when you’re worried all the time?
- “Well now, kid, I’ll tell you,” Livermore said. “Every occupation has its aches and pains. If you keep bees, you get stung. Me, I get worried. It’s either that or stay poor. If I’ve got a choice between worried and poor, I’ll take worried anytime.”
- Livermore admitted that he worried about his speculations all the time, even in his sleep. But hen he said that was all right by him. “It’s the way I want it,” he said. “I don’t think I’d enjoy life half as much if I always knew how rich I was going to be tomorrow.”
Jim Rogers on Priorities and Focus (from “Investment Biker”)
- If you ask a thousand people if they want to be rich, every one except the poet and the mystic will say yes. When you explain what is needed to become rich, maybe six hundred of that initial 998 will say, “No problem, I can do that.” But when push comes to shove, when they have to sacrifice everything else in their lives – having a spouse and a children, a social life, possibly a spiritual life, maybe even pleasure – to meet their goal, almost all of them, too, will fall away. Only about six of the original thousand will continue on the hard path.
- Most of us don’t have the discipline to stay focused on a single goal for five, ten, or twenty years, giving up everything to bring it off, but that’s what’s necessary to become an Olympic champion, a world class surgeon, or a Kirov ballerina. Even then, of course, it may be all in vain. You may make a single mistake that wipes out all the work. It may ruin the sweet, lovable self you were at seventeen.
- That old adage is true: You can do anything in life, you just can’t do everything. That’s what [Francis] Bacon meant when he said a wife and children were hostages to fortune. If you put them first, you probably won’t run the three-and-a-half-minute-mile, make your first $10 million, write the great American novel, or go around the world on a motorcycle. Such goals take complete dedication.
Ray Dalio on Focus
- You can have virtually anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.
- Life is like a giant smorgasbord of more delicious alternatives than you can ever hope to taste. So you have to reject having some things you want in order to get other things you want more.
- Some people fail at this point, afraid to reject a good alternative for fear that the loss will deprive them of some essential ingredient to their personal happiness. As a result, they pursue too many goals at the same time, achieving few or none of them.
- In other words, you can have an enormous amount: much, much more than what you need to have for a happy life. So don’t get discouraged by not being able to have everything you want, and for God’s sake, don’t be paralyzed by the choices. That’s nonsensical and unproductive. Get on with making your choices.
Bruce Lee on Focus
- The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.
Seneca on Focus
- The primary indication, to my thinking, of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company.
- Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner.
- Food does no good and is not assimilated into the body if it leaves the stomach as soon as it is eaten; nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine; no wound will heal when one salve is tried after another; a plant which is often moved can never grow strong. There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about.
Russian Proverb on Focus
- If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.
Sir Ray Avery on Focus
- Failure is really just for people who aren’t prepared. You don’t waste time on things that aren’t going to get you to where you need to go.
Eric Barker on Persistence
- When challenged, focus on “getting better” — not doing well or looking good. Get-better goals increase motivation, make tasks more interesting and replenish energy.
Relentlessly Move Towards Your Goal Like Rocky Marciano
- Ed Fitzgerald on Rocky Marciano: “Rocky is not in there to outpoint anybody with an exhibition of boxing skill. He is a primitive fighter who stalks his prey until he can belt him with that frightening right-hand crusher. He is one of the easiest fighters in the ring to hit. You can, as with an enraged grizzly bear, slow him down and make him shake his head if you hit him hard enough to wound him, but you can’t make him back up. Slowly, relentlessly, ruthlessly, he moves in on you. Sooner or later, he clubs you down.”
- Achie Moore on Rocky Marciano: “Rocky didn’t know enough boxing to know what a feint was. He never tried to outguess you. He just kept trying to knock your brains out. If he missed you with one punch, he just threw another. I had the braggadocio and the skill and the guts, but that wasn’t enough. Marciano beat me down.”
Felix Dennis on Mistaking Desire for Compulsion
- Wishing for or desiring something is futile without an inner compulsion to achieve it. Such lack of compulsion, if not frankly acknowledged, can lead to great personal unhappiness. We have all met deeply unhappy souls muddling along in professions or careers for which they are patently unsuited.
- Worse still, by continually wishing and never delivering, you risk denting your confidence, beginning a vicious downward spiral that appears to draw misfortune like a magnet. The assumption that you might be able to achieve some goal if you only wish hard enough is not just a f***-up. It’s a potential personal tragedy.
- Consider very carefully whether you are truly driven by inner demons to be rich. If you are not, then my earnest and heartfelt advice to you is: do not on any account make the attempt. What are riches anyway, compared to health or the peace of mind that even a modicum of contentment brings in its wake? In and of itself,great wealth very rarely, if ever, breeds contentment.
- But no condescension is intended whatever when I ask you to quietly turn over in your mind whether or not you are fit to be rich. Whether the sacrifices involved — not only your own, but those you will ask of your family, present or future — are worth the tyranny that such ambition, by its very nature, exacts.
- ‘Better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all,’ drones the old saw. But in this instance, the cliche is wrong, utterly wrong. Better to have chosen a different life, a quite different path, than have placed yourself and those you love in harm’s way when early reflection and thought could have advised you differently. I repeat: do not mistake desire for compulsion. Those that do nearly always fail, at great cost to themselves and those around them.
Seneca on Not Working for the Goals of Others
- Indeed the state of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but the most wretched are those who are toiling not even at their own preoccupations, but must regulate their sleep by another’s, and their walk by another’s pace, and obey orders in those freest of all things, loving and hating. If such people want to know how short their lives are, let them reflect how small a portion is their own.
Napoleon Hill on Procrastination
- Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
Bruce Lee on Time
- To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.
- If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.
Seneca on Time
- It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing.
- So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.
- Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future.
Randy Pausch on Time
- Time is all you have. And you may find out one day that you have less than you think.
Steve Jobs on Following Your Heart Now
- Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
- Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Anonymous Investment Banker on Really Asking Yourself What You Want To Do
- Time is money but, more importantly, it is life.
- That’s what bankers need to ask themselves when they’re sacrificing the best years of their lives. If they truly love the job, it’s fine. But I assure you they are a small minority.
Me on Learning
- Time is precious. Learn for the sake of doing, not for the sake of learning.
Ray Dalio on Having Self-Discipline to Prioritize and Do What Is Necessary
- You and the others you need to rely on have to do the tasks that will get you to your goals. Great planners who don’t carry out their plans go nowhere.
- It is critical to know each day what you need to do and have the discipline to do it. People with good work habits have to-do lists that are reasonably prioritized, and they make themselves do what needs to be done. By contrast, people with poor work habits almost randomly react to the stuff that comes at them, or they can’t bring themselves to do the things they need to do but don’t like to do (or are unable to do).
Stan Hayward on the Fallacy of Thinking You Can Put Things Off
- Don’t assume you will ever have time to do anything you can’t do now.
Paul Graham on the Shortness of Life
- If life is short, we should expect its shortness to take us by surprise. And that is just what tends to happen. You take things for granted, and then they’re gone. You think you can always write that book, or climb that mountain, or whatever, and then you realize the window has closed. The saddest windows close when other people die. Their lives are short too.
- It’s easy to let the days rush by. The “flow” that imaginative people love so much has a darker cousin that prevents you from pausing to savor life amid the daily slurry of errands and alarms.
- Cultivate a habit of impatience about the things you most want to do. Don’t wait before climbing that mountain or writing that book or visiting your mother. You don’t need to be constantly reminding yourself why you shouldn’t wait. Just don’t wait.
On Not Succumbing to Immediate Pressures
- The reason most people do not achieve their goals is because they give up what they want most for what they want at the time.
Neil Gaiman on Work Ethic
- To all today’s graduates: I wish you luck. Luck is useful. Often you will discover that the harder you work, and the more wisely you work, the luckier you get. But there is luck, and it helps.
John Paul DeJoria on What It Takes to Really Succeed
- #1: Be prepared for a lot of rejections. Learn from your failures.
- #2: Having the highest quality, something good whether its a service or product. If you make it worse or not as good in order to make more money, you’re not successful. Don’t skip on costs, that’s what makes it perfect.
- #3: Successful people do all the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do. And if you have to work Saturdays and Sundays or late at night or get up early in the morning, just do it.
Axiom on Patience and Being Conservative
- It’s better to be out of the market wishing you were in, than in the market wishing you were out.
Charlie Munger on Being Prepared, Vigilant for Opportunities, and Striking when Opportunity Knocks (1996 Wesco Annual Meeting)
- Experience tends to confirm a long-held notion that being prepared, on a few occasions in a lifetime, to act promptly in scale, in doing some simple and logical thing, will often dramatically improve the financial results of that lifetime. A few major opportunities, clearly recognizable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind that loves diagnosis involving multiple variables. And then all that is required is a willingness to bet heavily when the odds are extremely favorable, using resources available as a result of prudence and patience in the past.
Neil Gaiman on Enjoying the Journey
- When I agreed to give this address, I started trying to think what the best advice I’d been given over the years was. And it came from Stephen King twenty years ago, at the height of the success of Sandman. I was writing a comic that people loved and were taking seriously. King had liked Sandman and my novel with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, and he saw the madness, the long signing lines, all that, and his advice was this: This is really great. You should enjoy it.
- And I didn’t. Best advice I got that I ignored.Instead I worried about it. I worried about the next deadline, the next idea, the next story. There wasn’t a moment for the next fourteen or fifteen years that I wasn’t writing something in my head, or wondering about it. And I didn’t stop and look around and go, this is really fun.
- I wish I’d enjoyed it more. It’s been an amazing ride. But there were parts of the ride I missed, because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next, to enjoy the bit I was on.
- That was the hardest lesson for me, I think: to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places.
Book of Ecclesiastes on Enjoying Your Life
- A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.
Seneca on Not Toiling Unhappily Towards Bigger and Bigger Goals
- It is inevitable that life will be not just very short but very miserable for those who acquire by great toil what they must keep by greater toil. They achieve what they want laboriously; they possess what they have achieved anxiously; and meanwhile they take no account of time that will never more return. New preoccupations take the place of the old, hope excites more hope and ambition more ambition. They do not look for an end to their misery, but simply change the reason for it.
- It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.
Steven Primo on How to Approach Trading
- If you look at life as something to be enjoyed, you take everything as it comes, then that’s the way your trading’s going to be. It’s going to be enjoyable, it’s going to be relaxing.
- Trading is not a battle, it’s not something that you should be fighting or look at as a foe or enemy. Trading is a simple thing of jumping into the river and going with the flow.
Will Smith on Fear
- Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist, is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice.
Marcus Crassus (in Spartacus TV Series) on Doubt
- A man’s true enemy is doubt. A thing I would not carry into battle against Spartacus.
Humans are Driven by Emotions
- Humans are emotional creatures that think, instead of thinking creatures that have emotions.
Jake Bernstein on Faulty Learning from Positive Reinforcement
- The tension of riding a profit or loss may be quite intense for some investors. By liquidating too early, they are relieved of the tension, and, therefore, the mere termination of this situation will have the same result as a positive experience. They will be more likely to behave the same way in future trades.
- Those who ride losses to unacceptably large amounts also tend to experience the positive effects of relief. Again the relief can serve to reward an otherwise inappropriate act. It’s like the man who, when asked why he kept banging his head against the wall, replied, “because it feels so good when I stop.”
Burton Pugh on the Conviction of Winning
- Enter the market with the belief that you will win.
- Surrender no advantage to the natural human indolence. Money is made by aggressiveness and determination.
- Success is the most desirable thing in the world, but it is an eliminating contest. The one who wins must try and try until he is able to pass the test.
Me on Shrugging Off Setbacks and Mistakes
- If we don’t face setbacks and mistakes, then we aren’t learning and progressing.
Howard Seidler (former Turtle) on Not Oversizing Your Position
- One trade that I think was quite fortunate was actually a missed profit opportunity. Based on some trading ideas I had developed, I thought that the potato market was going to break sharply. I went short one contract, and the market started going in my direction. Once I had a small profit, I decided to double my position. Now, my account was so tiny that even a one-contract position was pushing it. I really had no business adding to this position.
- Shortly after I had sold the second contract, the market started to go up. I became concerned about losing my equity, and I liquidated the contract that I had added, taking the loss on the trade. However, because of that loss, I also ended up getting out of my original contract way before the market reached my objective. Two days after I liquidated my position, the market began a steep collapse, just as I had originally anticipated.
- There are certain lessons that you absolutely have to learn to be a successful trader. One of those lessons is that you can’t win if you’re trading at a leverage size that makes you fearful of the market. If I hadn’t learned that concept then, I would have at some later point when I was trading more money, and the lesson would have been far more expensive.
JoshuaMomoa (Big Mike’s Trading Forum) on Simplicity
- I currently use NinjaTrader with Zen-Fire (Mirus Futures). I’m a full-time day trader. I primarily use technical analysis for my trading decision but nothing very complicated (support & resistance). I’m not a scalper and I don’t use the DOM to place my orders. I’m trying to catch as much as possible of the intraday swings. I’m not chasing a couple of ticks 50 times a day. I usually place 1 or 2 orders per instrument per day.
- I’m in the process of opening an account with Advantage Futures but I still can’t decide whether to choose CQG Integrated Client or X_Trader Pro. I’ve decided to change my broker and my trading platform because I’m now trading bigger lots (between 100 and 200 contracts per trade for ES) and I had a lot of problems with the execution of my trades with NinjaTrader and Zen-Fire recently. I want to move to something more “professional”.
James Arthur Baldwin on Money and Sex
- Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it, and thought of other things if you did.