New York, New York

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“If I can make it there

I’ll make it anywhere

It’s up to you, New York, New York.”

Barry at the Nasdaq

For some reason, people have a relationship with New York – good or bad. In many, many movies and TV shows over the years, New York is actually a character, almost a person in the script.

I totally get that.

I just returned from a wonderful 2 week trip there … and boy was it a blast.

We saw 3 Broadway plays, ate at wonderful restaurants, took a horse and buggy ride through Central Park … and downtown (where else can you take a carriage ride through the middle of a huge city?), had lots of New York style cheesecake, New York style pizza and New York Delis, and even went to Mars (there’s a cool restaurant that makes you feel like you’re on Mars, complete with aliens – great for everyone, not just the kids).

Our hotel was just blocks away from Times Square, so we were in the thick of it.

New York is my favorite city in the world. I absolutely love it. Even though I don’t visit it very often, I consider it my home away from home because I resonate with it so much.

Kind of surprising since my introduction to New York was literally a horror story.

It was back in 1964 and I was only 5 years old. My parents took me there for the World’s Fair. A wonderful trip … except for one incident that would stand out as one of the traumatic in my life.

One day, among the THRONGS of people, my parents were wrestling with their tokens and the subway turnstile. They told me to duck under the turnstile and save them a seat on the train (in retrospect: “What were they thinking?!”).

Being the perfectly obedient child, I did as they said, and after getting on the train, the doors closed behind me … and my parents were still back at the turnstile … SCREAMING!

The train took off with me in it, going God knows where.

There I was, 5 years old, all alone in the middle of New York, surrounded by masses of people, and all alone.

I had a type of “life flashing before your eyes” experience. Except it was my future life. I still remember vividly imaging what my life would be like from that point on.

I would grow up an orphan living on the streets. I befriended a scruffy homeless dog with 3 legs and we became pals and hang around together for the rest of our days. We went to trash cans to find food and beg for the rest. The story goes on … it was like a dream, and I still remember every bit of it.

After my daydreaming, I came back to reality and started looking around the car for an adult to help me. As I looked up for help, I found that everyone was staring at me (I had been balling my eyes out screaming “Mommy, Mommy”), but as soon as our eyes met, their faces quickly turned away!

That was the loneliest moment of my life.

I had no idea what to do. So I just stayed on the subway train and figured I’d stay on it until someone kicked me off because my Mother always told me to stay put if we got separated (she never thought that I’d be “staying put” on a moving object!

After several stops, a woman came up to me and asked if I was lost. She took my hand and got me off at the next stop where we waited for my parents to arrive on the following train.

The kindness of strangers.

It was a reunion of unimaginable proportions.

My Dad offered to give the woman some money for her help. But she declined saying, “I wouldn’t have done it, but I didn’t have anything else to do,” and then she walked away.

Nice.

You’d think after that experience, I’d be sour on the city. But for some reason, I never held it against her. In some strange way it actually was the beginning of an intimate relationship.

My friend New York used to be loud, rude and obnoxious, while at the same time being wild, exciting and unpredictable. Exotic, untamed, and not a little “crazy” … but that can be very attractive.

It would be unrealistic to think that I could change New York. That is beyond my power. It’s like getting into a relationship with a person and then trying to change them. The only power you have is to change yourself … and that’s hard enough!

Over the years New York has done a great job of changing herself.

She’s had her rough edges smoothed. Still exotic, but more refined and polite now. Heck, they even have street signs threatening a $350 fine for honking your car horn! Am I in the right city?

And who ever thought that smoking in a NYC restaurant would ever be outlawed?!

It’s nice to see the city “cleaned up.” You feel safer walking the streets, it’s cleaner, and there are many, many benefits.

So what does this story have to do with trading?

Just this …

Most every trader’s initial experience with trading is a negative one. They lose money.

Money is a very emotional thing to people, and the loss of it impacts us tremendously. We often personify the “the market” and accuse her of taking our money. It’s a bad way to begin a relationship.

If you read the stories of famous and successful traders in the landmark book Market Wizards [disclosure: affiliate link], you will find that most of them had a financial crisis with the market early in their career … some of them losing everything they had.

This “Market” we are in relationship with is loud, rude and obnoxious, while at the same time being wild, exciting and unpredictable. It’s exotic, untamed, and not a little “crazy” … but that can be very attractive.

Most people look for a way to “tame” the market by finding the perfect indicator, price pattern or strategy. But that’s not the path to success. The market is beyond your power. The only way to become a successful trader, is to tame yourself!

Keeping control of yourself, you can control your own destiny. Then you’re free to enjoy the market in all its wildness and unpredictability.

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