10 Things I Learned from Steve Jobs about Trading and Life

Less is more, simple is good.

That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.

Your first loss is your best loss

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

When studying the market and speculating about the future, the past is all we have.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

No one gets paid for originality – you get paid for making money. You should be happy to take other people’s good ideas and run with them, as long as you understand exactly why you are in the trade and take full responsibility of the results. If you don’t know why you are in a trade, you won’t know when to exit.

Ultimately, it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing. Picasso had a saying: good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas, and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.

The market is constantly changing. We should anticipate, not blindly react to what just happened.

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

There is an opportunity cost in everything we do. If you are going to spend any time trading and reading about the market, you better learn how to trump the market, not to merely achieve an average return. Otherwise, a low-cost index can do that for you.

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.

Focus, focus, focus. Every week or every day have a small watchlist of actionable ideas to work with. I like to prune my lists and keep in them primarily stocks with high industry momentum.

I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.

One great risk/reward setup in a currently hot industry is better than 10 mediocre setups from random industries

Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.

Love what you do. Otherwise, don’t even bother. Make trading fit your life, not your life fit your trading.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Don’t give up. There’s always a way.

I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things until you find the right approach for you. Your relationship with trading should be stimulating and pleasurable.

Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

The best time to start to learn is always today. It’ll never be perfect. Just start and do something you enjoy and want to become really good at.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.