Types of Incompetence


November 23, 2006 in Psychology

Feedback from an old pro trader:

After over 30 years of being involved in the futures markets I have now
come to the conclusion that the old cliche about trading being 90% mental is
really true. As I have stated before Trend Following may not be
everyone’s cup of tea either because of emotional or perhaps financial issues,
but I can guarantee you one thing-trading AGAINST the trend in any time frame
will lead to a very short and painful trading career be it hourly or weekly. I
have been listening to some of my old "mental" tapes and here are the "Mental
Levels" of trading successfully.

Unconscious Incompetence: You don’t know it and you don’t
know you don’t know it.

Conscious Incompetence: You finally figure out you don’t
know it and are aware there is something you need to learn.

Conscious Competence: You now know it for the most part and
frankly this can be a difficult stage for some like me. I knew that I knew it
but if you still have to think about it "as in pulling the trigger" on a trade
things can still be difficult.

Unconscious Competence: Where I am now I don’t even think
about "it" I just do "it"! There are no parts of my brain screaming, "Is this
really a set up?" or "What if this does not work?” I have found myself in the
"flow" and have accepted that losing trades simply put me closer to winning
trades. I have also become more humble realizing what I had to go through to get
"here" and the funny thing is that I truly feel I have only scratched the
surface of what I have yet to know! Have a great trip to the Far East!

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Rules for Real Estate Agents

We sold our house last year — priced it reasonably, and at our first open house (Thanksgiving weekend!), got a reasonable bid. We ended up selling the house to that couple.

Whenever you hear talk of a Real Estate bubble, remember that it matters much less if you own (versus rent). In effect, we rolled out of one over-priced property and into the next over-priced property. When you are a homeowner, actual prices matter less than the spread between properties.

We closed yesterday.

In the process, we dealt with a lot of different agents on our buy and the sell. Some were terrific (who we would not hesitate to recommend and/or use again), a few were jackals, and one or two were deeply disturbed psychopaths who were obviously off their meds, likely violating a condition of their parole.

Along the way, we developed somes Do’s and Don’ts. (I’m sure readers have their own suggestions; use comments and let fly!)

This is a free lesson for the smarter, blog reading agents out there. Its a tough residential housing market, and if you want to earn your living selling real estate, pay attention and heed this advice:


1. Don’t waste our time.

I know some people do not know what they want, and you should feel free to schlep those poor bastards all over creation, burning valuable weekend time in the process.

However, when someone
gives you a very specific list of attributes and a broad price range, don’t drag
them around town(s) showing them everything but.

This is rule #1 for a reason: If you waste my time, I won’t do business with you PERIOD. If I tell you I DO NOT want a house with X and Y characteristics, and you drag me to 3 X & Y houses in a row, you are toast. Next agent, please.   

2. Don’t lie to us

In nearly every real estate transaction, the truth will eventually reveal itself. If a prior deal fell thru due to an engineer’s report, I will find that out. If the prior owner paid 1/10 of the selling price 25 years ago, that will be discovered also (not that it matters).

Some of the lies were so transparent as to be laughable. Others were more skillfully concealed. If I ask you a direct question, and you lie directly back, and I discover this lie via an expensive engineer’s report (which would have been unneccessary had you told the truth when asked), I will present the bill to you — and your corporate HQ. (Then collect in small claims court on a theory  of fraudulent misrepresentation).

Stop bullshitting, start adding value, and you might get a sales commission out of it.

3. Don’t tell us what is right before our eyes.

This is one of those nervous R/E habits: chattering on and on about the obvious. If you want to point out small details we might miss — for example, the kitchen drawers pull out all-the-way, or there is a built-in water filter in the kitchen sink, that’s fine. Even telling me the floors under the wall to wall are all hardwood adds something.

But seriously, I have two good eyes and so does my wife. I can see that THIS IS A BATHROOM; I can tell that THIS IS A WALK IN CLOSET.  We actually had one agent solemnly intone: THIS IS THE KITCHEN. Really, how can you tell? Were the fridge, stove and dishwasher clues?

Its not helpful and is actually very annoying. STF up occasionally.

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