Many of my readers may not be aware that Ross and I trade. We have done so for many years. I was always eager for new information, so in 2004, I made the decision to go along to an Options Trading Course. Although my husband had been option trading for quite a few years, I wanted to learn this aspect of investing for myself. I have always been a great believer in “continuous learning”, and this was just my next step on this path. We had been investing for many years through the property and share markets, and I loved learning all aspects of investing.
After attending the “introductory evening seminar”, I signed on the dotted line to attend a 3 day option trading course. I was very excited, as I had a good feeling about the presenter. His methods of trading were very similar to my husband’s, and the price was quite reasonable.
As I was waiting to speak to the presenter prior to leaving, he was finishing a conversation with another attendee. I was taken aback with this person’s negative attitude towards the course and the presenter. He let everyone know that he had done numerous courses in the past, and asked whether this course would be different as he still hadn’t started trading. He wanted reassurance that the course would “fix all his problems” and help him start trading……Wouldn’t we all like to attend a course like that???
I have always believed in taking responsibility for your own life and couldn’t believe this gentleman was looking to a course to “change the outcome of his life”. My impression was that he had spent a great deal of time and money learning how to trade, but for some reason was looking outside himself to actually take his first trade…some type of reassurance he was doing the “right thing.” This was not an isolated incident. We know numerous people who had in some instances spent thousands of dollars on trading courses, and have never taken one trade. They had all the required knowledge, but for some reason were not taking action. Are there people you know that have the knowledge to do things, but never do?
The day of the course began. I was ready…..ready for new learnings. This was unlike other investment courses I had undertaken. Instead of just the cold clinical facts on how to option trade, we had film clips upon returning from each break, clips from the Shawshank Redemption, and The Matrix; clips, which in my opinion were very relevant to any types of investment and also life decisions. I’m sure if you have seen these films, there were many scenes which had an impact on your life as well. They made me think about so many different things apart from investment. However, I couldn’t believe the comments I heard from many people in the course. They couldn’t understand why we were watching film clips.
The final straw came on the last day of the course. We were told we were about to undertake a non-compulsory part of the course. I was intrigued, but soon realized why it wasn’t compulsory. We were each handed an arrow about 45cm long with a metal tip on the end. The assistants were holding a block of wood, and we were instructed to place the metal tip of the arrow onto the soft middle part of our neck and walk forward into the block of wood, thus breaking the arrow.
Many of the course attendees refused to “do the walk”, and were very indignant that they had paid money to do this. After all, they had paid money to learn how to option trade, and not play silly games!
I jumped in, and wanted to be one of the first people to do it. I understood why we were going to do this – “Breaking Through Our Fears”. Everyone has fear about something in their lives, and I was scared, at that moment, that I could get hurt. The sense of achievement once I broke that arrow was indescribable, and I felt that anything was possible. To this day, when I feel fear, I think of that arrow.
The difference between the achievers and the non-achievers in life are that the achievers can break through their fear. This is one of the primary requirements for any investment decision.
The interesting part of this story is not the arrow or the film clips, but 12 months after the course; we had a reunion of attendees. Out of the 100 people there, only 2 had actively traded. (Co-incidentally, these 2 were some of the first to jump into the Arrow Exercise).This was the beginning of my understanding that knowledge is only part of the requirements of trading. Understanding your mind and how it works is so important.
The people who stood out during the course and who intellectually understood “how to trade” were the ones who had every excuse of why they weren’t trading 12 months later. By this time, I knew the excuses were just that, the inability to understand how important your mind is in any decisions throughout your life.
Therefore since undertaking this option course, I have spent a great deal of time and energy learning to understand my own thought processes and why I make the decisions I do. Since undertaking this course, there have been others I have attended. One of these included a “firewalk”. This was another example of breaking through fears, and seeing what is possible once you make the decision.
I now realise that a “Broken Arrow” had everything to do with Option Trading. What is your “Arrow” and what are you doing to break through it?