On Friday I saw the latest reality based TV show on CBS. It will follow a group of military pilots as they train to become F15 fighter pilots. As I watched the show I saw some similarities between fighter pilots and traders. Part of the training involves mastering the flight simulator. The students had went through detailed technical training via books and lectures and then on to the simulator. The simulator started to separate the abilities of some of the students. During a simulator flight the instructor would throw all kinds of problems at the student. Engines would catch fire, electronic systems would fail, etc., and the student was expected to handle these multiple events. (Trader - market events, Fed announcements, earnings surprises, political events...) One student did very well. He was confident in his abilities and seemed to handle everything that the instructor tossed his way. The student said that he would mentally practice at home and tried to consider all of the things that could go wrong and what he would do when they went wrong. (Trader - Have a plan. What if the market moves against you? What will you do? You can't develop the plan during the emergency.) Another student did poorly in the simulator. He failed the first attempt and was allowed a second attempt. He felt bad about his original performance and wanted to show everyone that he belonged. His second try was worse than the first. The instructor gave him several emergencies to contend with. Bells and lights were going off everywhere. The student was so overwhelmed with information that he didn't know what to do. He tried several things but to no avail. Although he was an accomplished pilot just to get to this point, it appears he will not be able to continue. (Trader - just wanting to be good will not cut it. Anything can happen. How many times have we froze when the unthinkable happens right before our eyes. Trying things for the sake of trying is not the answer) We want the best in the seats of those F15's. Not everyone can do it. We want to be the best traders we can be. Not everyone can do it. Traders can blow up (money gone). Fighter pilots risk their lives. I have tremendous respect for these brave men and women who strap it on every day in order to protect our freedom. May God bless them all.