Friday, October 7, 2011


The Question
Before I traded my corporate cubicle for a home office, I had to do some research.  The primary question I was attempting to answer was, am I the  kind of person who would be successful at being self-employed?  For instance, it made no sense to me to take a person who loves to be around other people and expect them to enjoy driving a truck by themselves on long hauls, days and weeks at a time.  How suited was I for self-employment?

Everything I had learned to that point suggested there were, basically, four personality types, and three motivational styles.  Most people seem to be motivated through an affiliation with other people they like and enjoy.  Next are those who derive the most self-satisfaction from achieving and accomplishing.  The other two personality types can more, or less, be seen as people who have a strong need to be recognized within their sphere(s) of influence.

The problem with categorizing people is that it is a simplistic approach, at best.  It is impossible to say people are this, or that, without exception, and without giving consideration to the melding of various traits - sometimes depending on the circumstances involved.  In my own case, my research was so overwhelmingly in favour of making the change, I only regretted not asking the question much earlier.

My spiritual beliefs suggest that we are a unique combination of interests, talents, skills, abilities, and purpose.  Yes, I believe that we all have a purpose - one which is directly related to our interests, abilities, and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Who Is In The Driver's Seat?
For all these same reasons, I also have to ask, should people actively manage their own investment portfolio?

First, let me ask a different question.  Should most people learn to drive a car?  Most would say, why not?  There are good drivers, and not so good drivers.  There are different reasons for wanting the ability to drive oneself, and others.  There are some that should never drive, and others who are unable to.  For those who can't, would you suggest they get a ride with an unsafe driver, or in an unsafe car?  If they don't know about driving, or cars, how are they going to tell the safe ones from the not-so-safe ones?  We can provide alternatives for them by making public transit available, and through the use of taxis, but the need for education remains.

Not being a driver is no reason for not being educated about what constitutes good driving and what the characteristics of a safe vehicle are.  A failure to make good decisions is to put one's life in jeopardy.  As a different example, I don't want to be the one to fix the roof of my house, but I need to be educated about when it is time to do so.  If we don't have any interest or desire in who or what we invest in, then we had better find someone we can absolutely trust with our very survival!

Success Traits
For the rest of us, I am going to write a couple of future posts identifying what I feel are the traits that make people successful in the stock markets.  There has been much written on the topic, but most seem to confuse personality traits with skills.  I want to concentrate on the few personality traits which I think make for success.  Like the classifications used for personality types and motivational styles, I'm not sure anyone is the perfect fit.  The real key is to employ our strengths, and to identify weaknesses and their potential for causing us to lose money.  With that awareness, we can play to our strengths and begin to mitigate the possibility of loss.

What is your opinion?  What are the traits you feel would lead to success in the stock markets?     

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