The Fascinating Hardship Of Winning Big

How many times have we heard that 96% of all traders don't succeed?

Too many.

And it's not just trading. Have you heard that only 3 percent of all basketball players (male and female) go on to play college basketball and only 1 percent of all basketball players turn pro?

That's depressing.

So why all this failure?

The biggest problem is lack of winning. If something isn't fun, you stop it. If a sport becomes drudgery, you quit it. If your account is losing money, you bag it.

The success statistics are so low because most people can't take the losing.

But winning won't solve every problem. The diabolical truth is: sometimes winning itself is the problem.

Wait, what?

Think about it. Do you know how many lottery winners are broke in just a few years? 70%. Do you know how many pro football millionaires are bankrupt within five years? 78%. Do you know how many bands featured featured on VH1's Behind The Music made it to the big time and then lost it all? 105% (statistic not verified).

All of these people were winners. All of these people went on some form of winning streak. And all of them still failed.

Why?

Because winning is extremely difficult.

Here's an example.

As I write this, the EURAUD Hornet robot has won over 20 trades in a row. That's a good thing, isn't it?

It sure seems like it. But it's also a good thing to win the lottery and it's also a good thing to sign multi-million dollar contracts and it's also a good thing to have a string of hit records. Yet all of those people fail.

Again: why?

Because winning does crazy things to our heads.

Imagine someone coming up to you on the street today and offering you a million dollar modeling contract? What would you do?

I know what I'd do. I'd say no.

Why? Because I don't think I'm a model. I'm just a barely normal-looking person. And because I think that, I would turn down that offer because it's just not me.

For lottery winners, athletes, and musicians, it's the same thing. If a lottery winner thinks of himself as a poor person, he will, in essence, turn down that money by losing it all. If an athlete thinks he's just a simple ballplayer, he will waste the money because he doesn't think he deserves it. If a musician thinks of herself as a small-time entertainer, she will engage in self-destructive behavior until that image of herself come true.

But that's not all. Many people don't want the burden of winning. Lottery winners become miserable due to the sudden vampiric demands from "friends" and family. Athletes and musicians get the money leeches, too, and also the pressure of their fans to keep performing.

That pressure is significant. If you're winning a bunch of trades in a row, it's easy to think, "Okay, now I have to win like this all the time." That's not easy to live with.

Plus, like the athletes and musicians, a trader who goes on big winning streaks all of a sudden may find herself besieged by requests to "Teach me to trade!" There are money leeches, sure, but there are also time and emotional vacuums out there attaching themselves to winners.

Not to mention, it's lonely at the top. The people who win all the time are judged, criticized, ostracized, plagiarized, and burglarized. As Prince once said, "I've been to the mountaintop. There's nothing there."

If that weren't enough, winning can also cause us to overdo it. When we're on a winning streak, it's easy to think we're superhuman and that the winning will last forever. Think how much money I can make if I triple my trade size! And, as you can guess, that sort of thinking doesn't end well.

Or we can tinker with it. When we're on a winning streak, it's easy to think we can do even better.  I won 20 in a row, if I did this-or-that, I could win 50 in a row! And, as you can guess, that sort of thinking doesn't end well.

In all of these cases, what's an easy thing to do? Lose. If we lose, all the pressure goes away and/or our low self image remains intact.

At the same time, misery loves company--and so does failure. An easy way to get a lot of companionship is to sabotage our winning streak. No more judging, no more stress. Everything goes back to normal (the way it was before the winning showed up) and there are a lot of people to keep me company.

So how can we go the other direction? How can we handle the winning?

First, we must believe in ourselves. If we think good things can happen to us, they will. And we won't reject them.

Second, be happy being a winner. Accept the responsibility that comes with added prestige, fame, and/or money. It's fun to win and be the best. Don't run from it.

Third, take everything in stride. Don't get too high, don't get too low. We're not terrible when we lose, and we're not geniuses when we win. We're just committed to working hard every day. And don't mess with a winning streak. No tinkering!

So when that winning streak comes around, like it has for the EURAUD, just leave it alone. Let the streak go as far as it wants to go. When it ends, accept it, and go right back to work.

Winning can be a good thing, maybe the best of things.

When we're prepared for it.