When Winning Is Harmful

In sports

Suppose your team is in a hockey tournament and wins their first game 20-0. Does that improve your chances of winning the whole thing?

Not likely. It more probably reduces your chances. Bad habits are anxious to appear and hubris is your enemy.

In Investing.

Suppose your first trade was to buy Bitcoin at $10 and sell it at $10,000. How long do you suppose it would be until the profit was consumed by more trading? Probably not long.

I recall a currency trader talking discussing a newspaper story about a high school teacher in Windsor who had turned $500 into $129,000+ trading the Canadian/US dollar. His reaction. “If he does it for six months more, he won’t have the $129,000 or the $500.”

We learn very little when we are right.

It’s like the weather.

There are always variables that have not been considered, or there are variables that have not been adequately considered. Saturday will be a sunny day, unless it isn’t.

Life matters more than a ruined golf game. Discover more variables.

The best you can hope for.

Expose yourself to many situations and learn from each. The failures will teach you more because they expose the holes in your thinking. The successes teach too, but most people use them as confirmation of their brilliance.

As you gain skill and experience, you learn there is no certainty of outcome. The best you can do is have a process that tends to work.

A good process is directionally accurate, even if it does not produce ideal results at every application. Skilled people learn to trust their processes and find pleasure in surprises. The surprises help them to learn and improve.

Who fails?

The ones who focus on results and not on the method of achieving them. People who are swayed by the pundits and current events, risk more than they think.

“If you eat, invest, and think according to what the ‘news’ advocates, you’ll end up nutritionally, financially, and morally bankrupt” Naval Ravikant

In most things success comes from not failing catastrophically. Avoid unforced errors. Build your process.


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