The Power of Resilience
Andrew Aziz will never forget the day when the bottom fell out of his life. The honors graduate with a Ph.D. in clean technology loved his job in the development of hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
He had been recognized for several high-impact journal publications and patents in that field and was passionate about helping to steer the automotive industry towards a clean, no-pollution alternative.
Then everything changed. His employer unexpectedly announced that it would no longer be involved in that type of technology and gave severance payments to its researchers.
After 23 years of study and research in his chosen field, Aziz saw little promise in looking for similar positions elsewhere.
He had many friends and a variety of interests outside of his job (including mountain climbing and other outdoor activities), but he had still tended to define himself in terms of his work. Although he appreciated the efforts of his friends and partner to be supportive, he found being unemployed very difficult to deal with.
When Andrew Aziz is asked how he was able to turn what might have been a life-shattering experience into a success story, he sums up his answer in one word: “Resilience.”
“After the fact”
Turning to an area of interest that he’d been exploring as a hobby, Aziz decided to try day trading as a career. At first, his efforts showed dismal results. Within the first few months, he lost over $10,000 as the market gobbled up all of his savings and the severance package. To be able to pay his rent and his other bills, he found a day job, but he was determined to continue trading.
In his recently published book Mastering Trading Psychology: Improve Your Trading with Firsthand Reports by Real-Life Traders, Aziz explains, “ I kept waking up at 5 a.m. in order to be able to trade from 6:30 to 8 a.m. before leaving for work.
I was lucky that I lived on the West Coast, in the Pacific Time Zone, where the market opens at 6:30 a.m., instead of 9:30 a.m. for those living on the East Coast. I could trade and still be at work by 9 a.m. It was not easy, but I managed to handle it. Did I know what was driving me at the time? Not really. Resilience is something you realize you have after the fact.”
Today, Andrew Aziz is the proprietary fund manager of Peak Capital Trading with net worth assets of $20 million, a successful investor and #1 best-selling author.
He has ranked as one of the top 100 authors in the “Business and Finance” category for over four consecutive years (2016 to present). Mastering Trading Psychology is his fifth book, and it quickly became a best seller on Amazon. His previous books have been translated into eight languages and have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. Aziz is the CEO and founder of the multimillion dollar companies Peak Capital Trading and Bear Bull Traders, and a valued mentor to thousands of other traders.
Rising from the Ashes
In his latest book, Aziz shares some observations on resilience. “We all have seen people around us who cannot get their life back on track following a death in their family, the loss of a job, or the end of a marriage or other romantic relationship. Why is it that only some people are able to rise from the ashes like the phoenix and start afresh? What is it about the characteristics of their personalities that set them apart from others? The answer to these questions is resilience, which is in part a measure of a person’s mental toughness. Resilience is one of those mysteries of the human psyche that I have had a fascination with for many years. In trading, you need to be resilient to be able to succeed. You will fail many times, almost every day in fact, and there will rarely be a week in your trading life that you will not have had at least one very bad loss or one very bad trading day. You must be able to recover from those setbacks, but to do so requires a certain level of persistence that is not often found in other elements of life.”
Grateful for the emotional help he received from other people during that difficult period of his life, Andrew Aziz believes that an important contributor to building a resilient personality is being part of a strong supportive community. In fact, he says that this was a major reason he founded Bell Bull Traders. He explains that when one person suffers, a community can be there to support him. “Occasionally, we are on the opposite side of each other’s trades and in direct competition with each other, but during hard times, the desire to genuinely help one another outshines any sense of competition in the community.”
The stories of two musicians
Aziz tells two true-life stories to illustrate the power of resilience. The first is about Dave Mustaine, the original lead guitarist in a professional heavy metal band. He was evicted from that band in 1983 but went on the form what was to become another heavy metal icon, Megadeath. H
He writes, “Today, Dave Mustaine is considered one of the most brilliant and influential musicians in the history of heavy metal music. The band he was fired from was Metallica, one of the best-selling music bands ever. Although Mustaine never reached the same success as the members of Metallica, he did put his life back on track. This is resilience at work.”
In contrast, Aziz tells of Pete Best, one of the original Beatles, who was told to leave the band in 1962 and was replaced by Ringo Star. “The Beatles became the best-selling band in history, even to this date, with estimated sales of over 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide. Meanwhile, Pete Best fell into a deep depression and alcoholism. The rest of the Sixties were not kind to Pete Best. By 1965, he had sued two of the Beatles for slander and, in 1968, he attempted suicide, only to be talked out of it by his mother. Pete Best didn’t have the same redemptive story Dave Mustaine did and, if you ask me, it’s mostly because of his lack of resilience.”
Resilience in trading
In his own area of interest, trading, Aziz maintains that the most prevalent characteristic of successful traders in his community is resilience. “More than trading courses, more than experience and time spent in simulated trading, more than training and mentorship, the level of resilience found in a new trader will determine whether they succeed or fail.”
He has identified three predominant characteristics of the most successful traders. They accept reality. They believe that life is meaningful, learning from and finding meaning in their mistakes. And they are inventive, having the ability to improvise and make the most of what they have.
Andrew Aziz lost his job and was able to find professional success and personal fulfillment in a very different area of endeavor. He attributes this largely to a quality he didn’t even know he had – resilience. He often wonders where he would be today if he didn’t have that quality.