Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading. Now that grad school is over, I feel like I can finally start reading for leisure again. My desire to be a life-long student burns bright and I feel like a reading machine at the moment.
Something I’ve been very interested in over the last few weeks is investing. I’ve always made pretty poor decisions with money and I always attributed it to hating capitalism but the truth is, I don’t hate capitalism; I just don’t know how the game is played.
One interesting concept I’ve read in a couple of different books is that of how emotions often influence poor investment decisions. In other words, when a stock price is going up, everyone wants to buy and then when the stock bottoms out, people get scared and bail. The end result is a net-loss. To truly succeed is to buy low and sell high, right?
Now, I can spend all day talking about how little I know about money and how it works. My brain operates a little better with regard to Jiu-Jitsu so I will use this opportunity to segue into what I realized about my Jiu-jitsu practice.
I have always been the type to experiment, particularly with bad positions. I like putting myself in bad spots for quite a few reasons:
1) It helps me develop my defense.
2) It truly tests my ability to remain calm under pressure.
and last, not least, and very relevant to the scope of this post
3) It allows me to win the emotional battle over my training partner/opponent when I can escape.
This last one here really resonated with me. Putting myself in bad positions, I’ve noticed a lot of patterns. A very prevalent pattern is that when I’m in a bad position, it is my training partner/opponent that is working a LOT harder than I am…
The more I delved into it, the more I started to realize that being in good positions tended to gas people out way more than being in bad positions. In other words, people tended to gas themselves out looking for the submission way more than they probably should be. At first I thought this should be the opposite but it makes complete sense when you take a look at the emotions involved in the process. This is similar to buying high.
When one perceives the illusion of victory, one has a tendency to go for it, almost like when you see the finish line up ahead in the distance. You essentially know how much you have left in the tank and you maximize your output to reach the finish as soon as possible. The fallacy here is that Jiu-Jitsu is not a race to the finish. It is an obstacle course and the finish line is an illusion. A million and one things can happen between the start and finish of a match. How often do you see someone nearly tap by lifting their hand only to withdraw it last minute and escape by the hair on their chin (so to speak).
It has happened to me and I am sure it has happened to you too.
This is actually a picture of me gassing myself out looking for a triangle choke. My legs got completely burnt out and luckily I was able to squeeze out a win.
Photo credit by Mike Calimbas of TXMMA.com!
I liken this phenomenon to the greed and emotional experience of “buying high” in stocks. You see a profitable gain because of the great spot you are in and you expect the position to only get better, never preparing for it to get worse. The problem is, what goes up, must come down: This is the importance of staying calm.
Sell high, don’t buy high.
When you are in a good spot, remember that you are in a good spot. This is the time to relax and work smart to get a better position/advantage/submission. Don’t gas yourself out on your position just because you think it will only get better. Save your energy and remain calm because just like losing your cool in bad spots, losing your cool in good spots will hurt you severely.