Daily Speculations

The Web Site of Victor Niederhoffer & Laurel Kenner

Dedicated to the scientific method, free markets, deflating ballyhoo, creating value, and laughter;  a forum for us to use our meager abilities to make the world of specinvestments a better place.

 

Home

Write to us at: (address is not clickable)

The Misery/Mediocrity Meme

1/14/05
By Janice

Waiting is among the most difficult things for a trader to do. Difficult and essential for success. Every day I am dealing with traders who are desperately looking for the next trade. The greatest lesson they learn is that patience will be rewarded, whereas addiction to adrenalin will end in sorrow. Chasing the next trade is waiting for the next loss so that they can be even more unhappy than they were when they started. AND- have reinforced that they are worthless losers, so they can go tell everyone how worthless they are and how miserable they are so that people will feel sorry for them. Duh!!

This is not just a financial issue, but a moral, ethical and spiritual bankruptcy and among the most pathetic and least admirable of behaviors. Which reminds me of the addiction to misery so commonplace these days. Why do people chose losing over winning? Why do people hang out with losers and eschew winners? Why do people see what is right and good for them, and turn blindly away to embrace something or someone which is desperately wrong and potentially destructive for them? It is because they are weak and without courage and held back by fear. It is because they use negativity to get attention. There is no self-esteem, just the shell of a person who elects to fill lacunae with mediocrity and fear rather than with excellence and faith. Misery and mediocrity love company, and there is plenty of each to go around. Misery/mediocrity is a self-propagating meme these days....both in the markets and in life.

1/14/05
More on the Misery and Losers, by Anonymous

Janice's post on misery and mediocrity touches on Vic's query related to guaranteed losers, as well as many of the themes Mr. E is gracious enough to challenge the list with. For example, so much of what our children are taught in school and what we ourselves take from life is a constant theme of repressing our true selves and the ideals that we strive to reach. I believe this is true for a variety of complex reasons; foremost among them is society's natural impulse to diminish everything into a pile of mediocrity, to make everyone an achiever whether they deserve to be or not, and to reward people for simply doing what they should be doing in the first place. This is not new, though the daily discovery of it by individuals creates a glow of resurrected hope that stretches from the present, back to the beginning of time, and well into the future.

In real life there are winners and losers, and not much else in between. The winners are those who are uncompromising in developing and reaching their goals. People, society, they have always found that dichotomy between winners and losers dangerous, an assault against the group's self-esteem, and rightly so. Canetti describes how the group, the crowd, encourages and feeds off the lowest common denominator. The group is as necessary as the mighty individual. Sill, the reality of winning and losing is hard to accept. Everyone doesn't win. Everyone doesn't succeed. Everyone is not right. Some children are indeed left behind. Someone once said that what is truly valuable for us as traders, as people, is studying and developing our goals, studying and developing our selves, studying and developing our knowledge of what we pursue, facing our ignorance. For some that is an end. It is enough. But for just a few, it is more than an end. It is a path to discovery; discovering whether we can muster the courage to set about with single-minded determination to make those goals and those idealizations possible.

Sounds easy. It's even easier to write it out like I just did, like a preacher, or a lecturer. I confess it even feels good to have done it, resolves some of the responsibility I feel for pursuing it. Very few people have what it takes to honestly pursue success. Because it is easier to fail than to succeed. It is easier to run with the crowd than to rise above it. I wonder if that is not what true nobility is; never sacrificing our intelligence, never dumbing ourselves down to make another feel better, never finding ways to fail so that we can be embraced by the many who are only too eager to take and give comfort in our failures. People like to tell themselves they are afraid to fail. We hear it every day. But the hard truth is that people are more afraid of success than failure. They always will be afraid of succeeding. The harshest realization is not that there are people out there who may be better than we are, or smarter, or more capable, but that there is NO ONE out there who is better than we are, or smarter, or more capable. Those who can handle that awesome responsibility, that difficult point of recognition, without collapsing from it and retreating to the comfort of the crowd, are the true heroes. Without them there would be no hope.