The Entitled Trader

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Peter Shankman, founder of HARO, wrote an interesting post today on the poison of entitlement.

There is nothing worse than entitlement. It reeks of caustic, old-way-of-doing-things attitude. It screams “Don’t you know who I am?” And nothing, absolutely nothing, can ruin your chances faster, both in life or in business.

This is a great lesson for us as traders. You do not want to be that person. That trader becomes a failed trader.

What does an entitled trader look like?

The entitled trader thinks because they walked in the door that the market owes them a six-figure-plus reward.

The entitled trader thinks that because he has decided (in his infinite wisdom) this is a good trade that it must work. And if it doesn’t this some great injustice. (Can you get over yourself already? You are one trader, making up a trading universe of millions. How the f*** do you know what all those other participants are doing? You are only a risk manager. That’s all. Deal with it. I’m sorry the Financial Media Entertainment Complex pretends that others know with certainty where the market is going. And that you want to be like that no-responsibility-for-a-wrong-call guru on cable TV. Breaking news flash…… they don’t and neither do you. )

The entitled trader thinks because they have made money in the past that the market owes them money in the future. I am not sure what the market owes you but it’s not that.

The entitled trader thinks that their firm, software provider, the government, trading buddy, significant other is not doing enough to help their trading career. From Shankman:

It’s never the entitled person’s fault. This one is huge. Doesn’t matter how badly the entitled person has screwed up, it’s always, always, always someone else’s fault. Excuses range from “I wasn’t trained well enough,” to “I was distracted by ____” to anything else they can think of. Instead of taking responsibility, they can’t fathom, for a second, how it could possibly be their fault. They’ll even go out of their way to recall a former argument, or something someone else did wrong at another time, instead of taking responsibility for their actions. Fact: People screw up. Own it, take responsibility, and move on.

When writing The Playbook I noticed a common theme amongst many of the top traders highlighted in my book, such as Rudders from South Africa. Here is a draft passage from The PlayBook:

One more quick observation about Rudders that is also so true of Shark. I shot Rudders a few emails for help on this chapter and he responded promptly. I have been known to circumvent Shark’s normal review process and ask him for something special and specific that I can then share with the desk. For example a LULU options trade  special request from me, or an example of an All-In trade.  I am not sure what it is. GMan is this way as well. In fact this is true of all of the top traders in this book. If you ask them for help they help.  They enjoy the process of work. If as a trader you ask them a question after the close they sit and are generous. Good traders are givers. In this giving they are learning, working on their game, internalizing the best of their trading. Give like Rudders, you will become a better trader, with the added benefit of being a better person.

Be the trader who shares and expects nothing but an opportunity to work hard. I like that trader. And most importantly, you will like being that trader.

Tomorrow you can be better than you are today!

Mike Bellafiore

The PlayBook

One Good Trade


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