Fake It Till You Make It: The Difference Between Expert Traders

When I was 18, my friends and I went snowboarding for the first time and instantly fell in love with the sport. Every dollar I made, and every spare weekend I had went into snowboarding.

It wasn’t long before I started to outgrow the groomed runs and wanted to move into the untouched backcountry territory. I loved not knowing what I was about to face and having to react to any obstacle.

By the time I reached my mid-late 20s, there wasn’t a spot on the mountain I wouldn’t want to take on. I traveled to some of the top mountains in the world, such as Vail or Whistler Blackcomb, and immediately sought out the scariest terrain I could find.

Becoming an expert snowboarder wasn’t easy… I worked hard at it and endured many legendary wipeouts along the way. But in the end, I loved every second of it.

By my mid-30s, I had calmed down quite a bit. I generally wasn’t seeking out the mountain’s skull and cross-bones area and had new friends to ride with. Riding with new people was a lot of fun. It always made the day way better if I could take somebody into a part of the mountain that was maybe a little more advanced than what they were used to.

A new friend that I was riding with and who was a few years younger than me was named Lee. I immediately clicked with Lee because he was athletic and determined. We rode together plenty of times, hitting great snow all over the mountain.

One day, Lee and I were having a great time hitting fresh powder. While riding the chairlift up, Lee turns to me and says, “who do you think is better, me or Henry.” Henry was one of the good friends I rode with in my 20s. Henry and I now lived in different states, and he was a family man, so we hadn’t ridden together in several years.

Without hesitation, I turned to Lee and immediately said, “Henry.”

To say Lee wasn’t happy with my answer was an understatement. “You didn’t even have to think about it,” Lee replied.

 “I didn’t have to think about it at all.”

Lee then explained that he and I were at the same skill level, so it wouldn’t make sense that Henry would be that much better than him.

I immediately laughed at his response and followed up with, “Okay, Lee, let’s put that to the test.”

He wanted to prove me wrong with every breath he took. My initial reaction was to take Lee to one of the skull and cross-bone areas of the mountain, but that just would’ve been nice, and I couldn’t risk him getting injured. Another consideration was that I’m not in my 20s anymore. These areas are typically steep, filled with small cliffs, and you must navigate through random rocks and trees.

Nonetheless, I took Lee to one of my favorite old spots where I would rank an eight on the ten difficulty scales.

Since it was a fresh powder day, it takes a lot of energy and leg strength to navigate your way through all the obstacles, but it’s the most fun you can have snowboarding, in my opinion.

Lee and I stayed together for a bit, but eventually, I had to leave him because I couldn’t risk stopping in the powder. Once you fall or stop in powder, lifting yourself is nothing short of a nightmare. You’re trying to push yourself up, but everything you push sinks.

I ended up blasting through all the terrain, zipping through all the trees, and launching off all the jumps, only to fly out of the wooded area where I would take a seat on the ledge next to the chairlift.

I sat there for about 20 minutes until finally, I saw Lee slowly pull out of the wooded area with his whole body covered in snow. He then pulled up next to me and collapsed.

Lee then looked over at me and saw that I was laughing my ass off! I looked at him and said, “that’s the difference.”

This was a fun trip down memory lane, but why am I telling you this story?

You need to know who you’re following and how good they are. When Lee and I were on the groomed runs, no one could probably tell the difference between us. Lee couldn’t even tell the difference between us. We both looked like we knew exactly what we were doing, and we did it for that particular stretch of runway.

It wasn’t until things got difficult that you could see the difference in skill. Too many investors at the start of 2022 thought they knew what they were doing, but later, when things got complicated, they didn’t have the financial knowledge to trade anything other than a bull market.

There is an endless amount of investing advisories out there. Unfortunately, many of these businesses received a dose of reality when the bear market hit.

It’s not that hard to make money in a bull market if you have a basic understanding of investing and put in the time to find winning investments. And although that may work the majority of the time, when the bear market hits, fundamental and technical financial knowledge is the only way to get through it without losing your shirt. This is where you see the investors with real skill stand out.

Ensure you know who you’re getting when signing up for an advisory. Since we are in the business, I know one popular advisory run by a guy who used to work in IT without any business experience. Another is run by a guy who used to work in mergers and acquisitions. How do you think their portfolio performed in the bear market?

The market questioned many investors in 2022, and as it turned out, they didn’t even have the equivalent options financial knowledge of what Lee had, and as a result, things got tough. Most of them got buried just like Lee did.

It’s easy to look good when things are easy, but it’s hard to look good when things are hard.

As a result, most advisories out there today lost money 2022.

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Chris Douthit
Chris Douthit

Chris Douthit, MBA, CSPO, is a former professional trader for Goldman Sachs and the founder of OptionStrategiesInsider.com. His work, market predictions, and options strategies approach has been featured on NASDAQ, Seeking Alpha, Marketplace, and Hackernoon.