How Can I Become a Trend Follower?

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Many people come through here and ask:

“How did you figure this all out?”

Followed by:

“How do I know I can do this?”

And followed by:

“How do I know you can help me to do this?”

Great questions and what follows is an explanation from many different angles and vantages, along with many resources. Let me start with a personal story. I have had the chance to learn from some of the greatest traders of our generation. No hyperbole there, just a fact. However, it did not start that way. It all started while I was in London finishing graduate school in 1994. A book by Anthony Robbins (first published in 1987) convinced me that to break into money-making, I had to get close to the great ones. Sounds easy, but how was I going to do it? One part of Robbins’ book really hit me:

“Consider Steven Spielberg. At the age of thirty-six, he had become the most successful filmmaker in history. He’s already responsible for four of the ten top-grossing films of all time, including E. T., The Extra-Terrestrial, the highest-grossing film ever. How did he reach that point at such a young age? It’s a remarkable story. From the age of twelve or thirteen, Spielberg knew he wanted to be a movie director. His life changed when he took a tour of Universal Studios one afternoon when he was seventeen years old. The tour didn’t quite make it to the sound stages, where all the action was, so Spielberg, knowing his outcome, took action. He snuck off by himself to watch the filming of a real movie. He ended up meeting the head of Universal’s editorial department, who talked with him for an hour and expressed an interest in Spielberg’s films. For most people that’s where the story would have ended. But Spielberg wasn’t like most people. He had personal power. He knew what he wanted. He learned from his first visit, so he changed his approach. The next day, he put on a suit, brought along his father’s briefcase, loaded with only a sandwich and two candy bars, and returned to the lot as if he belonged there. He strode purposefully past the gate guard that day. He found an abandoned trailer and, using some plastic letters, put Steven Spielberg, Director, on the door. Then he went on to spend his summer meeting directors, writers, and editors, lingering at the edges of the world he craved, learning from every conversation, observing and developing more and more sensory acuity about what worked in moviemaking. Finally, at age twenty, after becoming a regular on the lot, Steven showed Universal a modest film he had put together, and he was offered a seven-year contract to direct a TV series. He’d made his dream come true. Did Spielberg follow the Ultimate Success Formula? He sure did. He had the specialized knowledge to know what he wanted. He took action. He had the sensory acuity to know what results he was getting, whether his actions were moving him closer to or farther from his goal. And he had the flexibility to change his behavior to get what he wanted. Virtually every successful person I know of does the same thing. Those who succeed are committed to changing and being flexible until they do create the life that they desire.”

That Spielberg story was all the motivation I needed. A few months later I heard about a conference where many great traders would be attending. Volunteering at the conference allowed me access to all of the small group meetings where I initially met many top traders. Attendance at these conferences was the trigger for my Wall Street career

Once my trend following educational business started more and more interesting people appeared. Two who heavily influenced our business in early 2001 were Ed Seykota and Charles Faulkner. While we had successfully taught many for years, while Robbins’ influence was always front and center, Seykota and Faulkner brought ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming’ even more forcefully into my teaching methods:

“Many commentators refer to the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming as the Science of Success. The reason for this epithet is that people engaged in Neuro-Linguistic Programming concern themselves with modeling what it is about the ‘leaders’ in every field of human endeavour that sets those leaders apart from everyone else. Why is it that one actor can walk on a stage, stand absolutely still, and yet have an audience transfixed, when another actor can jump around and barely command our attention? What is it about some sports competitors that makes it so impossible for an adversary to beat them? How is it that in a war some people appear to have a sixth sense that enables them to avoid danger? How is it that some detectives can intuit when someone is telling lies? How is it that children respect one teacher and yet misbehave for another? Now, via a range of NLP techniques, everyone has access to a simple set of methodologies by which to derive the answers they need to improve performance in any area of life — both personal and professional.”

Why can’t you be a trend follower? More.


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