Sunday 8 January 2012

Youth -Your strength is you don't know what cannot be done!

Whenever we have a new colleague, especially one fresh from school (even better if he/she never studied supply chain like me!), I would ask them for their feedback (after their probation) on their first impression of our company, our department, our retailers, our suppliers, etc.

You'll be surprised how many ideas I've "borrowed with pride" from them! Ah! The benefit of fresh eyes!

Just a simple test for the skeptical. Go away for a 2 weeks holiday and when you return, you can "see" everything in your room clearly. Try spotting something "not right" if you live in your room day in day out ;)

Whenever I am a Project Leader for a task, I will always include at least one young, inexperienced but highly motivated colleague to the project team. Why? You've guessed it!

Youth don't know what cannot be done!

The challenge dealng with "experienced" team members is whenever an idea is brought up, it's either:

1) In 1985, we tried it and failed. So forget it...

2) It cannot be done! You don't understand this industry...

Study then Do versus Do then Study?

If you are starting out in your financial freedom journey, you may want to reconsider the Singapore path: study, collect paper, do.

Have you noticed that Singaporeans just love to study and take courses? 

Oh! I interested in this. I'll take a course! Or seminar. Or workshop. Or self-study by reading lots of books. Then I try it out?

Eh... What if after all the time and money invested, you discover you don't like it at all?

You may be interested in this old post: How would I know I don't need anything?

There is a difference between studying for a MBA and hoping it will make you a CEO and being a CEO and studying for a MBA to understand the business better. Same same but different!

Investing/Trading - Don't limit yourself by reading too much

I noticed that in forums some "younger" investors/traders have shared they read this and that book. Often these books are from the more well-known gurus. The book list looks suspiciously like the "recommended text list" of our school days... 

More mature or experienced investors/traders can tell which books or authors are "poison" to their investment styles or temperament. Sometimes it can be a good thing when our cups are full. We decide how much of the old tea to throw out to make space for the new brew. We are discerning.

But if your mind is a sponge, watch what you put into your brain!

Of course read a few basic primers. However, most of the learning is through actual real money trades or investments. In fact, I wish you would make all the stupid mistakes within the first year. Even better if you bust out your account!

Isn't it better to learn what's capitulation with $10,000 than when you have $100,000 or $1,000,000?

Actual personal track record will help you decide for yourself (not listening to others) whether it's better to use cut-loss or average down. Both works! But the right technique will only match the right temperament and depending on how deep is your pocket. Can you discover which is best for you by reading or copying others?

Use a trading journal or investment diary.

Once you have better understanding of yourself, you can find and read all the books best suited for your "style". Attend the "right" seminars and workshops, etc.

Why pay good money to attend options, property or forex seminars - when you discover you are not comfortable with leverage?

Walk on the grass - make a path for yourself

In summary, don't be too quick to label yourself a lamb. Try walking on the grass instead of the well-worn path others have walked before you.

Who knows? You may discover you are a shepherd! You can even write books and give seminars to others who are willing to pay to listen to you ;)

Don't limit or short-change yourself. You are only young once!


  1. HI smol,

    Think read and both testing them out in real life is important.

    but be Frank, I am happy that I bust my account and got xxxxx loss now than in future. Slowly slowly each day I realise how and what to trade so that I will not be that emotional. everyday got new ideas! work or not I Don know but I be happy to try them out! Such things book can never teach me!

  2. Hi SMOL,
    Books can teach you the theories only. In theory, it's easy to execute. Mr Market will teach you the real, practical lessons and the founding of the real you. You may find that you are not so brave after all(actually you are suitable for low risk and not high risk) after your first bear market lesson. Ha! Ha!
    In other words, you don't know who you are actually until you are slaughtered in the first bear market. In this sense,"Youth -Your strength is you don't know what cannot be done!" is applicable and maybe some advantage too.
    Ha! Ha!

  3. Coconut,

    By your command. All comments deleted.

    Eh... I would have thought treating Fat to coffee would be better ;)

    Listening "live" works better for me. Got 3D, got sound, got body language. LOL!

    The only problem I don't know Fat well enough :(

  4. CW8888,

    Direct from the horse's mouth!

    It's like taking a course on entrepreneurship!?

    I wonder if Steve Jobs or Bill Gates took such courses... Wait! They both quite school!

    I think I better stop poking. Wait people super poke back I can't study "eye-red" (jealous) others who can study!

  5. OT83,

    Yes, a balance is needed.

    I used to read a lot and widely.

    Then found out I've not implemented a SINGLE idea of the books I've read.

    Now I focus on executing one good idea for 1 book. If I can't find a single good inspiration to ACT, I flush the book down the toilet.

    If I want to read for pleasure, they are better books! Like Jin Yong's novels and Long Hu Meng comics from HK ;)

  6. Temperament,

    I am in favour of encouraging the young to start investing/trading young.

    Bones and flesh heal faster. Some may discover they can't DIY invest/trade themselves - no matter how hard they study or try.

    The earlier we discover ourselves the better! Sometimes outsourcing to a passive low cost index fund or an activey managed fund can do wonders!

  7. Hi SMOL,

    How you doing? Like you I've been pretty lethargic these few days and need to get engine running again! But see you doing much better job warming up engine than me!

    Interesting post for I just reflected upon my trading for the past 6 months and really, must admit I survive not because I'm good, but because I was too conservative and not driven enough. So though I have my trading account pretty intact now but I din learn much. Shrews if I had burst this account, I could have learnt much more!

    Ah, Life is so full of dilemma!

  8. Hello sm@ll.fry,

    Holiday period hard to get motivated... Especially when munching pineapple tarts. I better watch it. If not, my 3kg weight lost in Athens will be in vain!

    Woah! Don't get into a loss just for the sake of it!

    2011 is a year where many hedge funds and senior traders were whipsawed. Even Bill Gross of PIMCO got it wrong for his bearish forecast on US treasuries in 2011 ;)

    Maybe on hindsight they would like to be in your shoes? Trade less or be on the sidelines?

    Part-time traders have one big advantage over full-time traders - we don't have to "force" any trades.

    Fulltimers "have to" trade (long or short) to make money every month. No trades = no income. (That's also why some teach)

    Remember 2011. Who knows? Maybe 5 or 10 years later you will remember the similar patterns and decide to take your profits off the table and go for a long holiday during similar periods of extreme volatility?

    Don't be too quick to assume you have not learnt anything during the last 6 months ;)

    When the ocean waves are choppy and high, I rather go dry my fishing net. Laugh at my "conservativeness".

    But when the weather is right, I'm off to the sea fishing; while others are repairing their nets, cursing their ill-advised bravado in underestimating Mother Nature...

  9. o no, i was just kidding! where are my posts?

    my main point is er.. right books. seems like everyone is talking about books haha.

    trading is about experience, not about books fortunately cos i hate books.

    hey, to learn how to trade is to trade and trade. first you learn how to trade, then you learn when to trade and when not to trade. goodness me anyhow teach haha.

  10. Opps! I thought you meant it! LOL!

    I was laughing as I deleted your comments. You say you don't like books, then you say you want to buy that book just because FAT88 is featured in it.

    I was thinking - like that also can? You win liao!

  11. ya, i want to "condamn" learning trading from books. then i went to another blog and found out about the book and bought it. so what can i say haha.

    and, just becos my body is still intact with no injury does it means that i had improve to be a professional boxer? think about it.

  12. Good one Coconut!

    Float like a butterfly not enough, I still have to STING like a beee!


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