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Investor Lessons from the World Cup in Qatar

Excellence that we investors can learn from and utilize in our trades is all around us. I encourage you to harness that energy. Here’s how to use it to motivate yourself to become better as a trader and investor.

As I watched the World Cup Soccer matches in Qatar, two essential ingredients regularly percolated to the surface. The announcers constantly point these out. The top soccer stars — no matter their teams — combine two essential attributes. The excellence of their soccer skills is an obvious prerequisite, but that alone is not enough. The top stars who are the “go-to” players for coaches have an emotional stability that lesser players lack.

A case in point was the Brazilian national team’s Coach Tite who said in the shoot-out with Croatia that he was saving his best player Neymar da Silva Santos to take the 5th and final penalty shot because “Neymar is the player with the most quality and mental preparedness to take such a high pressure shot.”

As investors, I’m certain that we’ve all experienced situations when the markets shuffle our emotional deck pretty good — a situation that requires stability, not panic. Top sports stars and top traders excel far beyond average at being more resilient in stressful situations. They’ve been there before, and they know how to cope and adapt to the moment. They have an unwavering confidence and belief in their skills, their consistency and their ability to remain calm and composed. Their positive attitude often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or, as they say in soccer, they produce that “magic moment.”

Contrast that to some of the lesser players who are hot-tempered personalities, easily provoked and too often disheartened by setbacks. My experience is that impulsive anger and frustration will beat you down and lead to inferior results — whether on the soccer field or in your trading room.

With respect to the soccer stars, I’ve been struck by the dichotomies between their passionate all consuming on-field personalities versus their everyday real-life personalities. It’s as if they have developed a powerful personal avatar who takes the field with both the skills and emotional characteristics necessary to play at the highest levels. When they exit the stadium, a transformation happens. This separation of personalities — being on the street versus on the pitch — is often misunderstood by those witnessing these differences. Some stars are labeled aloof or haughty, or they’re accused of embracing the dark side.

The Wall Street Journal (12/13/2022) accused Argentina’s Lionel Messi of changing from a quiet genius to a snarling avenger embracing that dark side. Not every soccer star’s spicy sauce is like Messi, but the transformations apply to the majority of stars.

I’ve written a number of blogs over the years about my “trading vest.” It essentially empowers me with the investment personality I need when I’m in the stock market arena. Not unlike “the game face’ put on by most professional athletes. The bottom line is that with our private life, we can fly by the seat of our pants and get by okay. But this is the antithesis of our investing life.

Your personal life may be an ensemble comedy, but when you put on your trading vest, you best engage and completely embrace your personal investing avatar.

Trade well; trade with discipline!

Gatis Roze, MBA, CMT

Author, “Tensile Trading: The 10 Essential Stages of Stock Market Mastery” (Wiley, 2016)Developer of the “Stock Market Mastery” ChartPack for StockCharts membersPresenter of the best-selling “Tensile Trading” DVD seminarPresenter of the “How to Master Your Asset Allocation Profile DVD” seminar
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