You don’t need to fill your head with brainy quotes from other people or to live your life by what others have said. That said, sometimes a few words of wisdom from some of the world’s best trading minds can help get you out of a rut and inspire you to go on, rethink and restart.
There are a lot of quotes out there—many of them cliché. But, there are plenty of great ones from some of the greatest thinkers in the world, past and present. Some are inspirational and motivational enough to give you a bit of a lift, just when you need it. Let’s face it, trading has its ups and downs. Others are not there to inspire us, but to offer us wisdom and help to get us back on track.
It’s always best to start with inspiration, so here are our favorites—and while they’re not specific to traders, they are specific to success, achievement and making the most of life. Enjoy our picks of great quotes from everyone: Frederick Nietzsche to George Carlin, from Bernard Shaw to Henry David Thoreau and many more …
Table of Contents
On Greatness, Success and Achievement
- “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” – George Bernard Shaw
In other words, you have to understand who you are and what you are capable of. You have to start with what you have—not with what you think you should have—and you have to start NOW and follow it through to the end.
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He also said:
- “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
The biggest weakness that most people have is a lack of confidence in their abilities. This is what holds most people back from getting into trading. Why not make today the day that you astound yourself? And, if you think you can’t, change your state of mind ….
- “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” –William James
On fulfillment, reason, living in the present and making the most of your life:
- “One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” –Dale Carnegie
Impressing others is a distraction—and a dangerous one. Reaching your trading nirvana has to be on your own terms and through your own hard work and genuine thought processes. Your success cannot be measured against the material gains of others. Create your own standards and achieve them. Don’t be set off course by others.
On losing, and dealing with it:
- “Always do whatever’s next.” – George Carlin
Sometimes simple is funny. Sometimes simple is best. We tend to complicate things for no reason. From a trading perspective, you can look at it this way: “You lost a bit of money. Get over it. Take what you learned and move on. Now.” Remember, when you’re trading, you’re always learning and when you start out, you might have to suck up quite a few losses before you start making money. (Just keep it small until you’ve learned enough).
The ability to shrug it off and move on is a key facet of successful trading. Don’t get caught doing things that aren’t ‘next.’ If you’re not doing what’s next, then you’re not doing anything at all, except wallowing in self-pity. It might sound harsh, but it’s what Carlin would say. It’s kind of like dating: Are you the type who gets dumped and then begs to be taken back, calls a million times, gets angry, resentful and then revengeful, for no other reason than the inability to accept loss? Or, are you the type who says “fine” and just walks away, taking what you’ve learned and moving on? If you want to be a trader, it’s this latter mindset that you need to have and that’s usually determined by how you respond to all life situations. Let loss be a strength, rather than a weakness.
- “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” –George S. Patton
Again, if you’ve had a bad day, think of all of your losses as future investments. If you aren’t willing to lose, you will never win.
- “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” –Henry David Thoreau
You get the theme, by now and it’s an important one, so we’re trying to really hit it hard. You absolutely cannot learn if you don’t risk something. It is with this theme that you determine whether you have what it takes to be a trader. But, Thoreau’s quote is about more than this: It’s about patience and contentment, as opposed to haste, greed and desperation.
Words of Trading Wisdom
- “A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
How much is emotion or desire controlling your trading? Can you see beyond these? Just because you’re infatuated in the latest biotech doesn’t mean it’s a good trade. Look at the numbers and the patterns and don’t be deceived by your own desires. Put on some Nietzsche glasses.
- “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas”. –Nobel Laureate for Economics, Paul Samuelson
This is great advice for the novice trader: Don’t be an adrenaline junkie. Keep calm, shelf the emotion and understand that trading is a game of patience. It sounds dull, but it’s not meant to be. It’s a cautionary quote that’s telling you to take a deep breath and focus on smart decision-making. Gambling is gambling. Trading is much more than plunking a bunch of money down, tossing the dice, closing your eyes and hoping for the best.
- “Unless you can watch your stock holding decline by 50 per cent without becoming panic stricken, you should not be in the stock market.” –Warren Buffett
Find your nerves of steel, because there’s no room for panic here. You’ve probably all heard the quote “There’s no crying in baseball!” Well, there’s no panicking in trading. You’ll have to learn to control your panic. More importantly, you need to understand what your panic threshold is and trade accordingly. It might sound a bit harsh, coming from Buffett, but he’s trying to make a point—and a good one. Be prepared to lose or you won’t be able to win. Then again, he also has famously said …
- “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1:” – Warren Buffett
So does this mean never lose? Not exactly. You have lose to learn, but make sure that you come out ahead at the end. As a trader, you haven’t truly lost unless you quit.
Let these words of wisdom inspire you to reach your financial freedom through the Stock Market. If you’re new to the world of stock trading, be sure to see StocksToTrades’ blog post on getting started. Happy trading!