So today, my students have found my blog and started asking about trading. My students are young adults, and I felt comfortable to let them go ahead and explore.
The first worry that came to my mind was whether it was “wrong”. Well, certainly the management of the school, who would rather students focus on good grades, good skills, and co-curriculum activities, may frown on me sharing openly, almost encouraging them, to explore trading.
I also realized it is not uncommon, from the students telling me, that there are students who are already trading, and are in school “just to get a diploma”. I remember a past student who was doing the same, coming into class, opening the charts, and trading right in front of me, revealing he was making 5 digits a month, and was just attending classes for the bare minimum to get a diploma.
My opinion is that, just as what the image about Jack Ma above is telling (I do not claim that it truly is his quote), young adults, undergraduates, are at the best place in their life to learn about trading. Here’s why:
The Spirit of Exploration
Students at the age group are exploring. They are wondering what lies in the future. While having fun in a safe environment in school. They experiment. They wonder. They dream. They are also clueless, unsure. Most are bred to focus on the academics, the KPIs, the requirements, the datelines, which is very good to get great grades…but pretty much..nothing much else, with so much time and effort, and stress, put into getting to the top.
The average student, is carefree, and satisfied with their lot. They are happy with Bs, Cs even, and do “just enough”, because they find value in other things. Some work part-time, and thus learn about the value of money. And through that experience, they explore, and learn what the school experience cannot give you: The reality outside the safe zones of the school environment.
Should such students, who don’t aim for the As, and are just “good enough”, explore concrete skills and knowledge, money-sense, risk management, and find their special skills outside of school with their extra time and energy, I feel it as an asset. Of course, let’s not include the delinquents, the “heck care” students, who either way, would waste time and energy in many other distractions.
Students of this age group, with exceptions, certainly, are open minded. There are little biases planted in their minds. They don’t discriminate, because their values have not been whitewashed. They are in a potpourri environment. Sure, they banter, and sometimes yes, extreme bullying happens. But that’s the role of the school, to set the right values, and to inculcate an inclusive mindset, so that when they graduate, and become their own people, on their own solo journeys, to carry such values with them.
Talk about trading to a 40 year old mid career person, and he may already have biases from unbased rumours or anecdotes, and deem it as hogwash. Perhaps, they themselves have been ripped apart by going into trading blindly, thinking it is a quick rich method, because at his age, he may be stagnant in his career, and desperate for a change. His mind is closed. He has no choice. No chance. No space to explore.
Developing the right values
Schools must have the ethos to inculcate the right values. Setting examples by the teachers, values about hard work, values about consequences of choices, values about just doing the right thing, regardless of differences. Of course, the role of the family is mostly important, but the schools do to, and must have a goal to develop right values through things like a code of honour, a motto, a school anthem.
So, as students at this age become educated in the importance of values, they are also open to learn and explore about the values that are pertinent in trading: It’s not an easy, quick rich way. It’s not risk-free. It requires discipline. It requires emotional control. It requires respect, for oneself, and respect, for others. In terms of the market, it’s respecting the market. The most important value I feel, that students can pick up at this age, is about the value of risk management. The more time and experience they are exposed to learn about this, not only will they be better traders, they will be better people, for risk exists everywhere.
Space, and time, to fail, with little consequence
While schools, til now, continue to frown on failure, despite the evidence that failures are key to success, true success, students at this age must explore, and experience failure, to develop resilience. Educators must be comfortable to fail students. Management must embrace failure as an important step towards success. And while in school, truly, failure in a module, or a test, is hardly close to a failure in a real life experience: failure to get a job. Failure to get a promotion. Failure in a project that results in getting fired or downgraded. Failure in love. Failure to have children.
Failing a test is nothing compared to the painful, personal failures in life.
And here we come back to the main theme: to make use of the opportunity and time, to explore, to fail, to trial and error, to learn risk, and develop resilience towards failure, because failure is not the opposite of success. Failure IS THE PATH to success.
These are the lessons, I feel, students at the age, in early adulthood, exploring and thinking about their careers, should invest more in. And you can only do so, if you open the mind a little, and take that eye off the A grade, which in reality, is reserved for a small percentage of students.
There is no need to be part of that small percentage of students. There are more important values, lessons, and skills, to learn. And the greatest asset you have right now to learn all these that can lead to you true success is this.
All the best to my students should you read this post.