The Same Turtle Principles

Yesterday’s Turtle panel in Chicago yielded expected results: all of the Turtles adhere to long term trend following techniques rooted in those original Turtle lessons from so many decades ago. Many said they sill use the money management guides as taught. I still need to get the exact phrasing, but Turtle Paul Rabar had a fantastic statement on why trends and trend following persists as a great money-making strategy. What separates some Turtles from others? I go into this subject in chapter 11 of my book “The Complete TurtleTrader”, but this quote from Jim Rogers gets to the point:

“Most of us don’t have the discipline to stay focused on a single goal for five, ten, or twenty years, giving up everything to bring it off, but that’s what’s necessary to become an Olympic champion, a world class surgeon, or a Kirov ballerina. Even then, of course, it may be all in vain. You may make a single mistake that wipes out all the work. It may ruin the sweet, lovable self you were at seventeen. That old adage is true: You can do anything in life, you just can’t do everything. That’s what Bacon meant when he said a wife and children were hostages to fortune. If you put them first, you probably won’t run the three-and-a-half-minute-mile, make your first $10 million, write the great American novel, or go around the world on a motorcycle. Such goals take complete dedication.”
-Jim Rogers

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16 thoughts on “The Same Turtle Principles

  1. Jim Rogers is a fool when considering personal life.. Someone making children in his 60’s is not a wise man. You just have to find a right woman that is equally strong as you, even more stronger. Most men try to find meek wussy women because they are even meaker and wussier.. As for children, there is alway a way arround for attaining some life goals, there are grandmothers, personal tutors, baby sitters, personal assistants.. Women are mostly pillars of man’s fortune, that is if the choice is right!

  2. But, alas, one thing i have to say is.. wait till you’r late 20’s to try to settle.. anything marrying before 27 is foolish because most guys are not men but only undecisioned boys. Someone would say that we stay kids in grown up bodies for a long long time and that is good thing but you must find your path first – withut it you are lost.

  3. Jim Rogers is 100 percent right. Most people don’t have what is takes to stick with anything for more than a few weeks, let alone years. It’s like the guy who invented the Dyson vacuum cleaner. He spent more than a decade trying make a better vacuum, with most of the ideas finding their way in the circular file. But, he persisted. And now, he’s a millionaire several times over. I know that may be an odd example, but it just goes to show that no matter what your endeavor, it takes patience, persistence, and passion to make it work. This is what I take out of Rogers’ quote.

  4. That quote I posted is spot on. Your response was clear that you missed the point. He is not talking about the optimal time to start a family, he is talking about what it takes to be great.

  5. The quote from Jim Rogers is EXACTLY on the mark. You can focus all of your available time on the thing you really want, but you’ll probably never make a mark in other areas. The main part of the quote explains it: You can do anything in life, you just can’t do everything. Want to be a world-class trader? Fine, but another area or interest in your life is going to be neglected. The well-known cliche is the businessman that gets to the top of the company, but neglects his/her family to do so.

    Several books have been published lately that look directly at what it takes to be at the top of your chosen craft, such as “Talent is Overrated” by Colvin, or “The Talent Code” by Coyle. The Jim Rogers quote above sums up a basic outline of both of these books.

  6. “If you put them first, you probably won’t run the three-and-a-half-minute-mile, make your first $10 million, write the great American novel, or go around the world on a motorcycle. Such goals take complete dedication.”

    J.K. Rowling had a small child to pamper when she wrote Harry Potter.. she is now a billionaire. I have a close friend that has three kids, works from HOME (he changes diapers every hour or so 🙂 and has fortune of over ten million euros – his age is.. 32.

  7. “J.K. Rowling had a small child to pamper when she wrote Harry Potter.. she is now a billionaire. I have a close friend that has three kids, works from HOME (he changes diapers every hour or so 🙂 and has fortune of over ten million euros – his age is.. 32.”

    Lotteries are a seduction…no doubt about that!

  8. In fact it is this lottery mentality that I address head on in my film. If her path is so smart, where are the other Rowlings? Of course she is smart, but a massive chunk of luck plays a role with her. If you truly believe Rogers’ quote is wrong, I am not about to spend one more second of my life convincing you otherwise!

  9. I agree with Rogers’ quote. When I skeptically investigated trend following and asked myself “why doesn’t everybody do it if it makes a lot of money?”, one of my conclusions is that we live in a society where instant gratification is “normal” and trend following doesn’t meet that goal. So I think as society continues to grow less willing to commit time and energy to just about anything, trend following is likely to remain comfortably out of vogue as the few long-term minded people are willing to pursue it.

  10. Clearly – Jimmys’ strength isn’t marital advice but that’s not the point. Rogers’, admittedly, is more of an investor and less of a trader but he has intense focus and it shows. To focus for great periods of time takes great dedication and no more is it critical than trading w/ a trend following strategy. Love the book Michael!

  11. Patrick, my grandfather smoked two packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day and lived to be 104. Does this mean smoking’s good for you?

    Don’t quote the exceptions…Michael’s right, it’s this “lottery-People Magazine-if they can do it, why can’t I” mentality that has caused the country to go down the sewer with people honestly thinking they can own a million dollar home in two years while working as a secretary. You want to really own a home like that, you better work for it and plan on owning it over decades, not months.

    The personal saving rate in the US is -2.4% (yes, that’s NEGATIVE 2.4%)…in China it’s 50%. In other words, in China they know you can’t get something for nothing; you have to save and buy it when you have the money. As Jim Rogers also says, “Learn Mandarin so you’ll be able to speak with your boss in 20 years”. (I paraphrasse him here).

  12. I still don’t see how any country (like China) that really does nothing more than provides cheap labor can become the leader of the world. It’s just labor arbitrage. And like in all arbitrage deals the gap eventually shrinks and disappears.
    It’s better to ride the long term trend of innovation and creativity.

  13. True that Ken, but I am not so sure the vast majority of Americans have entrepreneurship in their blood anymore. They just want a “job” — code for “just take care of me.”

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