Christmas time is upon us. Today, you've already cracked into the newest gifts. The sweet intoxicating aroma of "Oh, shiny" has enveloped you from head to toe. You're comfortably enjoying the break from the real world. While I am not here to interrupt that, let us stop for a moment and look at the context. Christmas - what is it for you? For some, the spirit of giving. For others, the thought of getting something wonderful and new. There are people who spend it alone. There are people that love to be engulfed in family. This is not very different from the magic finance world.
I bring this in stark relief as the New Year approaches for a number of reasons. Thinking ahead about what we enjoy and what our part is to play in the New Year is pivotal to finding the success needed to make the most of the Finance community. Yes, you can simply focus on the individual movers and shakers. Yes, you can focus on finding the next trend and exploiting that. Here at Quiet Speculation, I'll be covering those items as well. Through out my column, I intend to highlight some of the mental mistakes that many have made too. I'll try to light the path as best as possible.
There is one notion I want you to change immediately. The thought that every man is on an island, far from the influence of someone else, is very common. The reality though is far different. No one person is truly an island. Everyone makes splashes in this pool. Not just waves. To setup a foundation for the future - we must first figure out who we are, and what are part to play is.
The Noob is just one foot in the door. Excited and enthusiastic but they lack the experience of how to properly move forward. No one cog in the works stands out from the rest. Never underestimate the Noob as they are able to create a lot of movement but haven't been able to find a way to get ahead. The Noob has not seen the difference between a money maker and a cash sink, but the patterns and trends seem like an Enigma Code to them. Often willing, but unsure how. The Noob is just looking for the experience.
The Fish is just knowledgeable enough to understand and recognize the gears. Not complex enough to understand how they fit together. This person has much to learn, but often feels they have peeked behind the curtain. The Fish needs to find a niche, then watch & learn. Insight takes time to gather, but lack of insight can cost you immediately. Too often, when we are still Fish, we feel like we have the confidence to make any move we stumble upon. Often times, though, the small efficient play does the most for a person in this category.
Much like in poker, the Maniac is someone that will throw money around. While still not as experienced as say The Rock or The Eagle, The Maniac doesn't know how to choose the right time or place to invest. Any time is a good time. Any action is good action. A Maniac cares about one thing - the thrill of the hunt. Everyone wants to invest in Modern? The Maniac says "Me, too!".
With each movement up the chain, we find a differentiation from the last. The Rock has been tempered by the swings of Finance. Often knowing when a fad is a flash in the pan or the real deal. The Rock is very content with always moving forward. Looking for the strongest plays and the deeper insight. The Rock is in it for the long haul. While not quiet as insightful as our last two, this person is familiar with many of the finer points of multiple markets.
The Eagle is often times just a Shark without any complexity. Often on the pulse of a new market trend, they are typically the second wave of investors buying in. Once the first true uptick has happened, they are ready and pounce. Often seeing how multiple gears effect one another, they still haven't put the bigger picture together yet. Something feels like it's missing. Often times, it's the proper time to exit. Often forgetting that every trend waxes as well as wanes.
The truest hunters of finance. The Shark has honed almost every experience they've had into a well oiled machine. Able to notice trends from the outset, they are buying when the market is right and selling when it's the hottest. Sharks are not the ones that will get you for a couple of dollars on a trade. They are often the ones that will get a card when it means the least and sell only when it has the biggest impact. That last over market offer you received? It could have easily been a target card. They have unlimited restraint when it comes to betting on a good investment, but the patience, ability, and financial situation to play any angle often letting months or years pass on an investment.
Finding the Map
Now that we know who we are, you can truly see where you need to go. What areas do you need to improve on? What are you exceptional at? Taking stock of what you are capable of and being honest with the things you lack is the next step towards improvement. How are you at asking questions? The forums on this very site, have you used them? How hard do you look at a new set coming in? Have you noticed when a card's power level is absurd, but some reason not played?
There are many things that go into making you. The tools you have at your disposal are what makes you uniquely you. It's what makes you invaluable to someone else, as well. Often times we go at this alone, Christmas is a time to realize that no one is alone. The gifts we give they are in us. Our abilities. Our desires. Our passions. These things differentiate us from the next as well as bring us together.
This New Year think about where you are at. Think about where you are going. Then think if you must do it alone.
Two heads are often better than one.