A great trader is not only great because of how he accepts losses or handles reward/risk, but also because of the many unique experiences that shape his mind. Bill shares some of his insights on this aspect.
"For me personally, the early part of my professional trading career was influenced by some important factors. Many senior traders took care of me and gave me a lot of guidance. Gil Rhyndike was my first boss at Solomon, and he held the position of head of the global foreign exchange department for seven years before I took over. He had a big impact on me. His background was fixed income rather than foreign exchange, but what made Gil different was his way of dealing with people and his leadership skills."
"Regarding the ethics and interpersonal relationships of the market, Gil was my model, including personal coping behavior and how to get along with colleagues. Traders are very focused, a bit neurotic, you push yourself to the limit, and you feel exhausted. You often say things that you regret afterward, and take actions that you regret afterward. Gil taught the traders in the department how to treat the opponents and peers in the market."
"Some of Gil's words are very memorable, such as: 'There are many gray areas in the market, especially the over-the-counter market.' Gray areas mean that people occasionally make mistakes. If a trader reports the wrong price, do you force him to admit it? Gil often said: 'Think about it, do you want your mother to read this news in the New York Times tomorrow, if you don't, don't do it.'"
"Gil said a lot of such words. I remember a period when I had high expectations for myself, and therefore high expectations for everything around me. But the career-mindedness and focus of others may not meet my standards."
"For example, one Friday night happened to be the wedding anniversary of an assistant, you want to stay in the office until 10 o'clock, and you think that the assistant should do the same if he is not, you will be furious. Gil told me: 'Bill, you have to know that during normal working hours, you can yell and scream at your colleagues, and you can expect them to pay what they are not prepared to pay; but after the day is over, people just want to enjoy the day."
"For you, Bill Lipschutz, enjoying the day may mean something, but for the assistant or another trader, it is completely another matter. You should think carefully about what it means to enjoy the day for everyone.' In short, he taught me a lot about interpersonal interactions in the market. Young traders nowadays don't pay much attention to this 'mutual care'. This has been very helpful for my entire trading career."
"There was another person who had a great influence on me. He was a senior trader at Marine Midland Bank in New York at the time. His name was Tony Mastromonte. We probably had lunch together once a month. For traders, going out for lunch is a big deal, because you usually shouldn't leave the trading room during the trading session, but Tony's charm was too great."
"The topics we talked about were mostly forward exchange rates, the impact of options on foreign exchange trading, and of course the general trend of the dollar. He was a great mentor. So, I was very lucky to be able to get a lot of guidance from different fields, not limited to 'this is how you buy, this is how you sell'. Their teachings involved more human aspects, telling you how to survive in this industry. For me, this is also part of success."
Whether you can meet a good teacher often exceeds the scope of your control. Therefore, you still need to rely on some luck. These aspects of the impact on trading success are often overlooked or forgotten.
"So, luck is a big factor. Everything often requires the cooperation of timing, location, and people. When you meet someone who has a great impact on you, your life may change as a result, and you will embark on a completely different path, just like a sculpted tree. If left to develop, a tree will never grow into that shape. I often remember what some people said, but the people who said these words probably forgot them."
We can probably empathize with the tone of Bill Lipschutz. In life, we will always meet some people who have a great impact on us and make us take a path that we would not normally take. For example, I remember a political science lecturer at Oxford University, Dr. Nigel Bowles, who once told me: "Among the students at Oxford University, 90% are dull, boring, timid, not adventurous, and safety first.
The rest are first-class talents." This comment has been lingering in my mind for years, but Dr. Bowles probably forgot that he said it. As Bill described, this is the "turning point of life". The same is true for trading. If possible, you should seek a good teacher, ask for guidance, and enable us to embark on a brighter path.