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Finding Life's Trading Lessons, In the Strangest Places
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Finding Life's Trading Lessons, In the Strangest Places

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Finding Life's Trading Lessons, In the Strangest Places

While on a trip to Havana in the summer of 2002, I wandered onto the patio of the Hotel Nacional in search of the perfect Mojito, albeit ever vigilant for the perfect senorita, for which to share my refresca. Sitting at a table overlooking the Malecon, was then Governor Jesse Ventura and an armed bodyguard/ Minnesota State Trooper. I was unaware that he was visiting the island for trade talks on behalf of Midwestern farmers, so surprised by his presence, I loudly exclaimed, "Jesse Ventura !!! " "Who are you?", he returned. All I could think of was, "Nobody. Mind if I join you?" He of course, asked me why I was in Cuba, and what I did for a living. I informed him I was floor trader, (and with tongue planted firmly in cheek) likened it to being a Navy Seal. This "subtle" segue led to a very long and interesting conversation that was essentially the highlight of my visit.

Later that evening, my cohorts and I, journeyed to La Lisa on the outskirts of Havana to the Makumba nightclub. The club was frequented by the Cuban "elite", and very few if any tourists ever made it there. Once again, sitting at a table was someone I did not expect to meet so serendipitously - Diego Maradona. He was in Cuba for treatment of his cocaine addiction, but nevertheless was in Makumba, famously drunk, partying with his entourage. It took all of about 5 minutes before I was shaking "the hand of God", smoking Robainas, and pounding Cuba Libres, with Diego and some of Cuba's finest mujeres.

The evening I spent celebrating with Maradona was the polar opposite of the afternoon I spent conversing with Governor Ventura. Here were 2 men (at similar stages in their lives) in 2 very different situations, yet with more in common, than one could see, prima facie. Both of them were particularly outspoken men with a palpable passion for life and a drive for success; one had perpetuated these qualities and had manged to maintain his discipline, while the other had lost control because of addiction, and slipped through the cracks.

Attitude, emotional control, discipline, and the ability to handle success and failure, were just as important as knowing how to mange risk, if you were going to be profitable, trading on the floor. Ex- athletes, at almost every level, seemed to possess these qualities coming into the (trading) game; others had to acquire these skills. If these traits were non-existent in your personal life, the odds were this shortcoming, would transfer over to your professional life on the floor. Nevertheless, even when an emotionally prepared trader walked into the pit, he had to magnify these extant skills, and step-up his focus and drive.

Last edited by tigertrader; February 5th, 2012 at 03:14 PM.
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