My Answers to 5 Questions from Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

I’m currently reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss and thought it would be a good idea to answer a few questions from the book in the context of trading because I think it could be helpful to other traders.

For those that are unfamiliar, Tribe of Mentors was compiled from the answers of 11 questions put to  over 100 world class performers. The responses come from well known names such as Terry Crews, Ariana Huffington and Ray Dalio as well as lesser known (niche specific) names such as Vitalik Buterin, Daniel Negraneu and Dan Gable.

Here are five questions that I’ve chosen to answer as I believe they are the most relevant to trading:

  1. What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the past 6 months (or in recent memory).
  2. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up later for success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?
  3. In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour or habit has most improved your life?
  4. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
  5. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

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What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the past 6 months (or in recent memory).

It’s difficult to choose just one purchase because I’m always looking for things that will positively impact my life. In most recent memory, I would say a subscription to the audiobook service, Audible, has given a good return. I’ve learnt a lot from the books I’ve read over the past year and I’ve found listening to books to be a faster way to consume them. Some of the titles that I’ve read in the past few months include “Principles” by Ray Dalio, “Finding My Virginity” by Richard Branson and “Unstoppable” by Maria Sharapova.

I would like to mention a few more priceless items though because I wouldn’t be doing justice to the other important purchases that I use every day.

In second place, I’d say a gym membership. As you will probably already know, regular exercise is very important for physical and mental health and, therefore, performance so having access to some exercise equipment is vital.

If you don’t want to join a gym, you can get similar results working out at home. It doesn’t need to be fancy and you don’t need a lot of space, it’s possible to work all major muscle groups with just a pull up bar, a portable squat rack and a set of dumbbells. There’s a ton of resources on Youtube about workout routines and how to perform exercises correctly.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up later for success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

If you are a consistently profitable trader then no doubt you have experienced a fair amount of failure before finally putting the pieces together. Some traders lose money for weeks, months and even years before finally turning it around and most never really get to see the other side. Traders are specialists in failure so instead of going through some of my failures, I’d like to, instead, write a little about what to do about them.

To stop failing in trading, you have to have a methodical way to record all the things that don’t work so that you can find the things that do. You can generate ideas by yourself (i.e. testing patterns, candlesticks, etc) and/or find other profitable traders and learn from them before fine tuning it into your own method.

I trade using a method that I haven’t seen people write about yet but some elements of my strategy are borrowed and adapted from things that I have read or talked to other traders about. I kept testing until I found my niche.

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field” – Niels Bohr (Physicist and Nobel Prize winner)

In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour or habit has most improved your life?

If I had to pick one thing, it would be reading. I’ve always been an avid reader but the past few years, I’ve increased the amount I’ve been reading. Not only by volume but also by breadth and depth of material. I don’t actually read a lot about trading but I do apply lessons and transferable skills learnt from fields like science, biology and finance to my trading.

I would say I have developed quite a few positive beliefs and habits over the past few years too but they have only been possible because of discipline. I’ve always been a disciplined person – I had no problem following rules or doing things because that’s what other people do – but the past few years I have been doing things because I want to do them which hasn’t always been easy. As careers in my social circle have diverged, I find myself doing many different things from my peers so I’ve had to develop unwavering conviction and self-belief in order to forge the path ahead.

I started trading quite young (before I was 30) so everything that I learned from trading also helped shaped my formative years which I’m quite grateful for because I don’t think I would be as self aware or have such a strong growth mindset if it wasn’t for it.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

X works and X doesn’t is something that comes to mind immediately. Very few things in trading are black and white. Everything is based on context and the rules as to when it is used. I think many people are misled by trading gurus that say things like “don’t trade on X day” or “you shouldn’t use X indicator/method”. This goes back to the previous answer about testing things so that you can find the truth yourself.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

As I’ve gotten older, I think I’m much better at noticing when I’m losing focus, tired or need to take a break. My preferred way to recharge is to take a 20 minute nap which is usually in the afternoon after lunch.

I’ve found taking a 20 min nap in the afternoon to be a great way to refocus and improve my productivity for the rest of the day. I get up at around 5am most days so, if I don’t do this, I find that by 9pm I’m usually a zombie.

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I hope that answering these questions have provided an insight into how I go about managing some aspects of my trading and hopefully it will inspire some new ideas in you.

 

 

 

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