Monday 30 April 2012

It’s Easier To Learn From The Loser Than From The Winner

My first time in a casino was in Austria of all places! 

We even got free chips to play a few hands… This was part of the “cultural experience” included in the company course I attended. 

It was like in the James Bond movies where the men wore tux and the ladies wore bare-backed evening gowns. I think I spend more time admiring the “numbers” (36, 24, 36) on the ladies than on the roulette tables… 

We even got to visit the vineyards to do some wine tasting. I tell you, that’s the best company paid course I’ve ever attended!

That was at a time when the company was “smaller” and there were less rules and policies... 

Wait a minute… This post is not about less regulations and more laissez-faire; that’s for another day another time…

Back to casinos.  

For those of you who have been to one, have you tried this spot a “loser” and taking the opposite bet against the poor soul tactic?

I know I know… It’s evil; but it usually works right?

Many investors and traders (that includes me) when starting out, will frequently do our best to emulate the strategies and tactics of our favourite investing or trading wizards. 

Legendary investors like Warren Buffet, John Templeton, Peter Lynch; and trading maestros like Jesse Livermore, Martin Schwartz, Alexander Elder, to name a few.

Guess what? Memorizing famous quotations may score points during exams or make you look smarter in discussions, but practical application in our investing and/or trading yields another result…

I wrote about it here in this post: Limitations of imitating others beyond our league

But I did not offer any alternatives…

Instead of just learning from “winners”, perhaps we too can profit from the lessons of the “losers”?

No need to look far. Try family members, relatives, friends, school mates, colleagues, etc. What better than to observe and talk to real live people from their first person perspective?

The road to success is paved with a myriad of possibilities; but the road to self-destruction is paved with only a few stones.

All successful people, not just in investing and trading, have their own individual DNA way of achieving it. What if your blood group is different from your favourite maestro?  

If you pay attention, the usual culprits of “failure” and “self-destruction” have not changed much since biblical times. They are just written and spoken differently across a diversity of cultures and civilisations. 

OK, I give one example. Try greed. 

The rest you figure out for yourselves. Self-discovery works better than spoon-feeding.

Wear my own shoes or the shoes of others?

Successful retail investors and traders have also looked into the mirror for answers. 

Sometimes it’s just a simple tactic to do the opposite of what we have been doing in our past investing or trading journey. 

Mind you. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s much easier to blame the kitchen knife you are using… Time to buy the new set of knives you just saw on that infomercial…


  1. Fully agree. Fulllllly agree.

  2. Do we learn to play better golf by watching video clips of Tiger Woods or from that colic who is proudly showing off his golf championship trophies on his desk?

    1. Sometimes talking to someone who gave up their own dreams of playing golf professionally and their decision to caddy for others can be more illuminating.

      We can motivate ourselves and persevere all we want, but if we exhibit the same traits as found in "losers r us"...

      Fix our own internal demons first. Then after watching video clips of Tiger Woods, we may realise we don't have a big swing like him... So our approach to the green may need a different strategy or "golf idol".

      Disclaimer: I've only played miniature golf ;)

  3. For all "DIY" people, they have to find themselves first in the end, before they can become successful. i believe all successful passive or active business people can be anything except belonging to the crowd.

    1. Temperament,

      I guess that's why Frank Sinatra's "My Way" is such a favourite amongst men ;)

      Who wants to sing "monkey see; monkey do"?


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