Constraints on developing expertise

Recently I discovered by chance, Forex trading. Well, I actually re-discovered it.  I had explored it about 8 years ago but it was difficult to get into because it was basically a closed shop. By that I mean, that one needed lots of money, special computers and software to get into. So I shelved the idea and did not look closely at it again. I mean I did keep an eye on it but not taken a deep look.

About 3 weeks ago, totally by chance some popup flashed on my screen and I clicked on it. It took me to a Forex related concept that I shan’t go deeper into. Yawwwnn…I’m about to be advised why I should not click on popups – so I’ll distract myself for a moment. Well, I click what I like because I pays a fair sum of money for security software that will protect me from website hacks and attacks. And yes – I know these things are not perfect.

Right – back to what I was saying. Forex trading has changed tremendously in recent years. Developments with web technologies, computers and different business models have brought much change. I’m not going into it here.

So I began to explore the Forex related concept. BTW – Forex is about making money. Some people don’t need to make money – and some don’t like a regular job and hey, that’s fine for them. Others want to prescribe to others how they should make money.  Oh and I’ve been properly infantilised and warned that Forex and any related thing is gambling.

Well, the last few weeks has been truly interesting. Of course I used to get into debates with people – with me trying to provide evidence as to why Forex related trading is not gambling. I soon realised that I was wasting my time – and the reason for that realisation is something I had to revisit. What? That the average human being comes to conclusions based on attitudinal override i.e. conclusions are decided by attitudes instead of logical appraisal of evidence. Evidence has weak penetrative capacity into the stone walls of attitude – and penetration is not sufficient to take down walls.

The other day I had mentioned my venture into this new area – and I had the complimentary “Gosh I really wish you make it rich.. do give me a call when you get there.”  That made me think very much more carefully about human nature at a number of levels.

  1. Do people really wish me to get rich?
  2. Why would anybody want me to contact them when I get rich?
  3. Am I currently not rich?
  4. What does rich mean?
  5. How does one know if one is rich, or if another is rich?
  6. Does one have to show if one is rich?
  7. Is rich a relative thing? Relative to what/who?

But of all the above, I think the contacting others ‘when you get rich’ is the most laughable. I’m not even going into it.

There is another dimension to this whole new experience that baffles me. People seem to think about financial markets etc as gambling. But few ever think about brain-surgery as gambling. Trips to the casino are surely seen as gambling, I have no argument with that.

A neurosurgeon would probably take about 15 years to acquire the requisite expertise to safely manage the odds of doing damage to a human brain in the course of a proper surgical procedure. The risk of making a mistake by a fraction of a millimetre means that there could be significant damage to brain or vascular structure, if there is a slight indecision or slip of the fingers. But we all know that everyday people have brain surgery and certainly not a majority are caused brain damage through carelessness. Look, I’m not even debating this. It could well be an open heart surgeon I’m talking about. The point is that expertise and training lead to management of complex situations and risk. Ok – if you don’t like brain or heart surgeons, think about airline pilots.

The main point is that you don’t put an untrained anybody into the cockpit of a plane or to operate on a human being. These activities are fraught with serious risks – which are more often than not managed successfully by training and acquired expertise. However, when it comes to Forex trading, in general people are unable to see that there is any skill in doing that sort of business. In fact people in general don’t know what Forex trading is. How I know this? Most people start telling me about stocks and shares – which really has nothing to do with Forex.

But the title of this blog was about ‘constraints’. So what’s that about? Well, most people will acquire skill or expertise in one particular aspect of work related activity. Think about doctors, lawyers or plumbers. Of course these people exist dime a dozen. Only a small percentage in any field achieve high functioning expertise. It’s been thrown around that about 10,000 hours of work, study and experience in a particular field are required to make a person an expert. Most people can be expected to be controlled by their daily working lives to managing one area of expertise, so as to feed and shelter themselves and their families. That’s just life. The devotion of approximately 10 hours of day to one line of acquired expertise leaves little time to train and acquire expertise in another field.

It’s only exceptionally therefore one will find someone who has real expertise in two or three aspects of work related life. It’s rare for example to have a doctor being a barrister and an atomic physicist all in one lifetime.  10,000 hours takes about 5 years of constant devotion to one area of operation. That’s about right for a person to become a doctor, or a lawyer. But to become really top of the league in a micro-speciality means probably another 5 years of devotion.  So it’s easy to see how time constraints prohibit developing expertise in other areas of activity. Each area of expertise also requires investment of money and other sacrifices which also become hindrances.

What all this means is that most people will find one main area of activity that leads them to earn most of their money for living. So what’s this got to do with the topic of Forex trading? Everything! How many people would spend another 5 years learning a new skill that could make them a significant earning? And that’s what Forex is about.

Forex Trading requires a significant investment of time and training before skill and expertise develop to the point that one can earn a significant amount of money. In as much as an average pleb in charge of operating on ‘your’ brain will be likely to cause serious damage, so too will such a pleb lose money like nobody’s business having a go at Forex. If you ain’t got the skill at almost anything – from baking a cake to brain surgery – you’re likely to fail. By contrast though, probably nobody will say to an aspiring medical student, “Oh when you make it rich as an orthopaedic surgeon contact me!”. But if it’s Forex trading or any similar hardly known thing, then everybody is entitled to wish best of luck etc.

So – why have I written all this? I really wanted to document initial responses of people to me, and what I think about them. It’s interesting though how human beings make a number of contradictory statements and actions. Most people need more money, but most people go “money isn’t everything”, and most people don’t actually do anything that brings them consistently more money. People enjoy the security of their current ‘occupations’ and earning activities.

Yes – there may be a few waiting to ‘wish me luck’. Such people of course need a kicking – because I don’t need luck. I have always created my own luck. I’ve decided to learn and invest much time and effort in learning Forex Trading. I’ll of course be warned about investing money – in contrast to how nobody warns any medical student about amassing £50,000 in debt before they start earning near a decent wage. But such is life – logic does not rule the world. Trust me on that, at least. [Oops.. somebody is about to conclude that I’m going to invest £50,000 in Forex – I just know it – I can read minds before they even start thinking!!!]

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