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Psychology contd... Michel Pireu     | Streetdogs Tuesday, January 8, 2019
From Psychology of the Stock Market by GC Selden published in 1912:

The non-professional will do well not to let his mind stray too far into the unknown territory of what others may do … it is dangerous ground in that it leads toward the abdication of common sense; and after all, others may not prove to be such fools as we think they are.

As a rule we can find plenty of reasons for doing what we very much want to do, and we are still more prolific with excuses for not doing what we don’t want to do.

Talleyrand said that language was given to us for the purpose of concealing thought. Likewise many seem to think that logic was given to us for the purpose of backing our desires.

Few people are so introspective as to be able to tell where this bias in favour of their own interests begins and where it leaves off. Still fewer bother to make the effort to tell.

If you already have a position in the market, do not attempt to bolster up your failing faith by resorting to intellectual subtleties in the interpretation of obvious facts. If you are long or short of the market, you are not an unprejudiced judge, and you will be greatly tempted to put such an interpretation upon current events as will coincide with your preconceived opinion.

The question with us is not so much whether we have the facts of a situation correctly in mind, as whether we can “put it over.” But when it comes to buying and selling stocks, there is no such thing as “putting it over.” The market is relentless. It cannot be budged by our sophistries. It will respond exactly to the forces and personalities which are working upon it, with no more regard for our opinions than if we couldn’t vote.
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