Thursday, July 21, 2011

One charactaristic

A frequent topic I've discussed with others is about if there are any defining characteristics that indicated whether someone would succeed as a trader both in the pit or on the screen.  It's tough to find anything definitive because any characteristic always had an exception or two of guys who proved it wrong.  However, as I'm currently near Coronado Island, which is one of two locations where recruits undergo Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training which is part of the process of becoming a Navy SEAL, it brought to mind a quote from a great book that has some parallels.  

The Warrior Elite by Dick Couch was written by a Vietnam era SEAL who underwent BUD/S training 30 years ago and follows a BUD/S class through modern training.  The following quote I thought was the most interesting of the entire book:

"Perhaps as I watch Class 228 in the coming weeks, I'll learn more about those who chose not to quit.  As Joe Burns so eloqently put it, Hell Week is only a speed bump in BUD/S training.  There were two things I did notice as I watched Class 228 finish Hell Week.  They were also true in Class 45 some thirty years ago.  First, small men seem to get through the training easier and in larger numbers than big men.  The second has to do with tattoos.  With Class 228, success in BUD/S and in Hell Week was inversely proportional to the number of tattoos on a trainee's body.  Almost a third of the men who began with Class 228 had tattoos.  Some were extensive.  All but a very few of these trainees were gone by the end of Hell Week---and those who survived, have small ones.  Perhaps this is not too surprising.  Many young people get tattoos because they yield to peer pressure, or because they lack self-confidence or a strong personal identity.  These are not traits I saw in the men who finished Hell Week."

Similarly I don't know any traders who are still trading that have more than a very small tattoo and even that is rare.  Granted I haven't looked much into this but just a general observation.  In the pits, a handful of guys had noticeable tattoos but the ones I can recall were always executing brokers.  Like everything else, I'm sure there's plenty of exceptions to this but just an observation that came to mind.
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