Things I Learned/Re-Learned in 2011

We’re nearing the end of the year, so you know all the “lists” are gonna start popping up summarizing the year that was and the year that’s coming. I’m getting a jump on the bandwagon early. What follows is a lightly edited, very flowing stream-of-consciousness list created on my iPhone while sitting in a coffee shop this evening. There is no rhyme or reason or organization to this list. I just typed things down as I thought of them.

  • Trading is hard, duh.
  • Building and maintaining a social community is far harder than it looks from the outside.
  • Reading headlines is the surest way to insanity. This Euro mess is simply that – a mess.
  • I’m rarely as smart as I think I am.
  • The best trading strategy in the world won’t work for me if it doesn’t
    fit my lifestyle/workflow.
  • The first loss is usually the best loss.
  • Just because something doesn’t make sense to me doesn’t necessarily
    make it wrong.
  • Keep bad habits in check. They can often have spillover effects into
    other areas of work, family, friends, life.
  • I don’t like being around downers. So when things aren’t well for me,
    I should be cognizant of my body language and attitude around others
    so as not to become what I dislike in others.
  • Being around people who are passionate about whatever it is that fires
    them up is inspiring and their company should be sought out at all
  • Focus on risk and the minimization of it whenever feasible. My job is
    to survive, not hit home runs every trade.
  • The economic lessons of the post bubble Japan and the current
    situation of Europe should be closely studied. If things don’t change,
    the US might find itself in similar situations. And where there is
    chaos there is opportunity. Be ready.
  • Social media brings out the best in real people. But also brings out the
    worst in people with bad intentions.
  • There is nothing cooler than watching an athlete, artist, performer, actor, musician, or trader performing at the Top of their ability.
  • If I keep holding out for the next great thing, I’ll be waiting
    forever. Live in the now. It’s waiting for me.
  • It’s ok to say no.
  • It’s ok to ask questions.
  • Spend money on the things that matter: experiences, meals, and products
    that make my life simpler/easier. Save the rest. Be vigilant.
  • I’m getting tired of long winters. I can only tolerate it through the
    holidays. Need to have dual residences.
  • Despite trading for nearly 14 years, there is so much I still need to
    learn. Particularly in the world of options. I’m embarrassingly
    ignorant of so many important nuances of volatility and certain
  • My wife is right under my nose, yet sometimes I forget how amazing she
    is. I should focus on this more often.
  • The Buffalo Bills are guilty until proven innocent. Despite knowing in
    my heart that they would totally blow it, it still hurt and I was
    still surprised when I was right. Wide right.
  • If I could apply the same conviction I’ve had in both Tim Tebow being
    successful and the Bills blowing it again to my trading, I think my
    results would be markedly different. Better.
  • A lifetime of goodwill and good deeds can be undone by one stupid and
    careless mistake. The lessons of Joe Paterno, Jon Corzine, and nearly
    every Chicago politician should serve as inspiration to always choose
    to do the right thing. The cover-up is nearly always worse than the crime.
  • I should seek out a trading mentor.
  • I should eat healthier. Be more consistent with my exercise.
  • I should see more theater, symphony, and live music.
  • I should read more.
  • There are few things that warm my heart more than hearing my wife let
    out a belly-aching laugh. I hope I can cause her to do it more often.
  • The @MayorEmanuel spoof twitter account leading up to his election as Mayor of Chicago was one of the most brilliant displays of creativity I’d witnessed in a
    long time. I hung on every tweet.
  • I don’t focus as hard as I should.
  • Need to be more spontaneous. But also more responsible when doing so.
  • Remember to turn every loss into a win by internalizing the lesson
    that was offered. If I keep repeating the same mistakes, then stop
    fooling myself into believing I’ve learned the lesson and take a
    deeper dive into understanding my error.
  • It hurts to see people excelling at whatever, but being cut down by
    haters for no other reason than obvious jealously and their own
    inadequacy. Celebrate success.
  • I wish more companies could execute like Apple.
  • I should be more appreciative of everything I have, and less longing
    for things I want.
  • It’s so great to reconnect with old friends. I need to do more of it.
  • I love being an Uncle. Just wish I could do it in person more often.
  • I should give more – in all areas of life.
  • I should stop saying all the shit I’ve said above and actually start DOING and

2012 is going to be amazing. Onward and upward.






– Sean McLaughlin, December 9, 2011.


The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

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