Like human beings, commodity market investments can behave differently. Some of them are calm, slow, conservative. Others are jumpy, nervous, tense. Some of them I found easy to predict. They were consistent in their moves, logical in their behavior. commodity market investments were like dependable friends to me.
Some commodity market investments I could not handle. Each time I bought them they did me an injury. There was something almost human in the commodity market investments behavior. They did not seem to want me. They reminded me of a man to whom you try to be friendly but who thinks you have insulted him and so he slaps you.
I began to take the view that if these commodity market investments slapped me twice I would refuse to touch them any more. I would just shake off the blow and go away to buy something I could handle better. This does not mean, of course, that other people with a different temperament from mine were not able to get on well with the commodity market investments - just as some people get along with one set of people better than they do with others.
The experience I gained through my cause-of-error tables became one of the most important of all my qualifications. I now realized I could never have learned it from books. I began to see that it is like driving a car. The driver can be taught how to use the accelerator, the steering wheel and the brakes, but he still has to develop his own feeling for driving. No one can tell him how to judge whether he is too close to the car in front of him or when he should slow down. This he can only learn through experience.
As I flew around the world and operated in Wall Street by cables, I slowly came to see that though I was becoming a diagnostician I could not be a prophet. When I examined some commodity market investments and found them strong, all I could say was: It is healthy now, today, at this hour. I could not guarantee it would not catch a cold tomorrow. My educated guesses, no matter how cautious they were, many times turned out to be wrong. But this did not upset me any more. After all, I thought, who was I to say what commodity market investments should or should not do?
Even my mistakes did not make me unhappy. If I was right about my commodity market investments, so much the better. If I was wrong - I was sold out. This happened automatically as something apart from me. I was no longer proud if the commodity market investments went up, nor did I feel wounded if it fell.
I knew now that the word "value" cannot be used in relation to commodity market investments. The value of certain commodity market investments is their quoted price. This in turn is entirely dependent on supply and demand. I finally learned that there is no such thing as $50 commodity market investments. If a $50 commodity went to $49 - it was now a $49 commodity. Being thousands of miles away from Wall Street, I succeeded in disassociating myself emotionally from all of the commodity market investments I held.
I also decided not to be influenced by the tax problem. Many people hold on to commodity market investments for six months to obtain long-term capital gain. This I considered dangerous. I might lose money by holding on to falling commodity market investments just for tax reasons.