Don’t wait for the magic penny to drop

THURSDAY, 22 MAY 2014

Sometimes you are missing a piece of the puzzle, or you have a strong suspicion that you’re overlooking something. But – you understand enough to take action, to do what you’ve got to do more or less right, even if your success is limited.

In some cases, though, these missing pieces of the puzzle transform in your head into the mythical “magic penny” that you hope will drop sooner or later. When this magical knowledge finally also descends on your head, so you believe, every little part of the proverbial machine is going to fall into place, the machine is going to spring to life with a clang and a whistle and a few ringing bells, and everything is going to work out exactly as it should.

This persistent belief in Something that will be Wonderful to Know can become an obstacle to success. Instead of going into action, you wait. Or you keep dabbling, but you don’t want to take what you do too seriously. Certainly there must be more to it, you think to yourself. Certainly those already successful who claim to share what they know are holding back the gems, the really important stuff.

Since the end of last year, I have been looking into the possibility of making money by trading prices on the UK horse racing market. I have read everything I could find on the subject, from £37 e-books to forum posts to articles, and I have watched dozens of videos that explain what you should do and how things work. Still, every now and then I catch myself waiting for a magic penny to drop into my lap – one piece of information that will make it abundantly clear why some people are successful and some not.

I might be wrong, but I am getting the distinct impression that I am waiting in vain, that there are no more lost pieces of information without which no mere mortal can ever expect to be successful, or deeply hidden secrets only certain successful people know.

I reckon the only penny that has to drop for me is that I have to accept that a good strategy makes more money than it loses, but that it doesn’t make all the money, and that it doesn’t make money every time.

I believe if you can internalise this and apply it to your financial speculations, but also if you apply the principle behind it to other areas of your life, you are ready to play with the big boys or girls. If you can accept this principle, you are no longer a child, because you no longer think like one.

This also highlights an understanding of success: successful people are not successful because they possess all the information or because they know all the tricks. They simply make the best of what they do have, and what they do know and understand. They are successful because they took action while many others are still waiting for that final penny to drop – still waiting for perfect understanding, or for a plan or strategy that will almost guarantee success every time they take a risk.

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