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impulses to frastrate, outwit, or defeat others in personal relations. I call this drive "vindic tive" because the motivating force stems from impulses to take revenge for humiliations suffered in childhood-impulses which are reinforced during the later neurotic development.

A perfect example of the need for vindictive triumph was concretized in the charac ter of Gordon Gecko in the movie. Wall Street, written by Oliver Stone. Gecko rose to a position of wealth and power primarily out of the need for vindictive triumph. His measure of success and failure wasnt even as mundane as how much money he made. Rather, he measured success by his ability to manipu late the markets and to hurt and control people of his choosing in the process. Under the guise of taking an overly (and neurotically) ambitious young trader under his wing. Gecko actively used him to destroy and displace people who represented a challenge to his idealized view of himself.

Before I proceed, I want to state for the record that the movie Wall Street made me angry because it painted a false picture of the way Wall Street works. It implied that most people who rise to the top, especially during takeovers, are cold, ruthless, and vindictive. There is an element of the Gordon Gecko type on Wall Street, but it is not predominant and, in general, the people who rise to the top do so on the basis of ability, not parasitism. I heard on a TV program th at Oliver Stones father was a stock broker. I find it interesting that an author should so compellingly berate his fathers profession. Maybe vindictive triumph was at the root of his motivation, but who knows?

Nevertheless, Gecko did concretize the vindictive element in many people that gives rise to "political" manipulation and "back stabbing" within many corporate structures. He also concretizes that element in many of us that desires to hurt back when we feel hurt by someone or something.

This need for vindictive triumph is inherently destructive, both to the individ ual with the need and to the people he deals with. It can be blatant. For example, I worked with a trader whose favorite book was The Prince, by Machiavelli; he literally slept with it at his bedside. I watched him cultivate a co-workers friendship and trust, only to use it to get the -worker fired. When I challenged him about

the ethics of his actions he would say, "If you want to get ahead in this world, youve got to operate thi s way."

I by no means think that the search for glory is dominant in everyone; I do not believe that the world is full of hopeless neurotics. What I do believe is that the elements of the search for glory operate to some degree in almost everyone and are the cause of many unnecessary mistakes, failures, and pains; especially among traders. But they are most often deeply hidden from awareness and mixed with healthy motivations based on positive values. It is important, therefore, to be able to identify motivations bom in the search for glory.


Motivations arising from the search for glory have two characteristics that distinguish them from healthy motivation: their compulsive nature and what Dr. Homey calls their "imaginative character."

Actions are compulsive if the motivation for them arises out of the need to avoid a falsely perceived pain. In Dr. Homeys words:

When we call a drive compulsive we mean the opposite of spontaneous wishes or strivings. The latter are an expression of the real self; the former are determined by the inner necessities of the neurotic structure. The individual must abide by them regardless of his real wishes, feelings, or interests lest he incur anxiety, feel tom by conflicts, be overwhelmed by guilt feelings, feel rejected by others, etc. In other words, the difference between spontaneous and compulsive is one between "I want" and "I must" in order to avoid some danger.

This observation fits nicely with the model of the brain I presented in Chapters 14 and 15. In spite of our conscious intent, we are often driven by inner motivations which arise from subconsciously held values and disvalues we arent aware of. In the search for glory, we are compelled to act in order to keep intact our idealized self-image. Thus, a key indicator that we are driven by the search for glory is when we act compulsively, with disregard for our best interests.

The compulsive nature of the search for glory can make a person "indifferent to the truth, whether concerning himself, others, or facts." For example, in Chapter 13, when I told the story of John Trader, he said in reference to the movement of bond prices, "It has to go down." What he was really saying is, "I have to be right!" As another example, I doubt that anyone reading this book has not been in or observed an argument that degraded to the point where each person was far more concemed with "being tight" than discovering the tmth.

Aside from the compulsive aspect, the imaginative nature of the search for glory is worth some mention. Imagination is a wonderful gift. It allows us to project ourselves into the future and mentally rearrange elements of reality for the purposes of setting goals, making them feel viable, and for creative purposes. But when the object of our actions becomes that which is purely imaginary, imagination becomes a destmctive agent.


The idealized self-image and the resulting search for glory are constmcts of the imagination, and only through the continued use of imagination can we sustain them. Imagination used this way becomes an agent of self-deception and rationalization. In effect, to the extent that we engage in the search for glory, we are living in fantasy land. When this fantasy land is experienced as reality by the gullible subconscious mind, then wishes become claims on reality.

In the last chapter, I mentioned that it is important to pay attention to the way you speak to yourself, and in particular, to the questions you ask. I advised to beware of qu estions like, "How can this be happening to me? How can he (she) treat me like this? Why is the world so unfair?" Consider the implications of those questions.

When you ask, "How can this be happening to me?" doesnt it imply that you deserve more, that somehow providence, fate, or whatever you want to call it, owes you something? When you ask, "How can he (she) treat me like this?" doesnt it imply that the other person should automatically understand you and provide you with what you need? Doesnt it imply that the person ought to cater to your needs? When you ask, "Why is the world so unfair?" arent you saying that the actual world doesnt meet with your definition of what the world should be.

I think so, and I think all of these implications point directly to wishes that have become claims on reality. They indicate, at minimum, a subconscious belief that reality should conform to your needs as opposed to your needs being a response to reality, to your goals, and to the facts of your unique experience.

The distinguishing characteristic of all wishes that are claims is that people holding them feel like exceptions to the mles. They are somehow different; they belong to the rare few who understand love, justice, human nature, and on and on and on. They are the traders who understand that trading mles are necessary, but their "superior wisdom" releases them from being bound by the mles. They are the ones who react with a feeling of righteous injustice when the market goes against them.

Rather than taking re sponsibility for their failures and dealing directly with their problems, people whose needs are claims rely on their constellation of wishes to judge tmth and falsehood, tight and wrong, friend and foe. Wishes that are totally unrelated to reality become the standard for evaluation in all things.

I said in the introduction to this chapter that the human capacity for self delusion puzzled me for a long time. Now I realize that self-delusion, while apparent to an outside observer, is so deeply embedded in wishes that are claims-in an imaginary experience driven by the search for glory-that the person caught up in it is virtually incapable of distinguishing between a rationalization and the tmth. In Dr. Homeys words:

Neurotic claims ... are concemed with the world outside himself: he tries to assert the exceptional

rights to which his uniqueness entitles him whenever, and in whatever

ways, he can. His feeling entitled to be above necessities and laws allows him to live

in a world of fiction as if he were indeed above them. And whenever he falls palpably

short of being his idealized self, his claims enable him to make factors outside himself responsible

for such "failures."

You can talk to someone caught in this trap about their errors until you are blue in the face, but no matter how rational, calm, and convincing your argument may seem to you, the person simply wont hear you; his or her awareness and perception is filtered by a distorted version of reality.

The self-delusion isnt consciously chosen, it is the result of an elaborate and hidden subconscious system developed over a period of many, many years. It is guarded and self righteously defended as the truth in the peoples minds except in moments of despair when reality slaps them in the face . But even then, they often cling to their idealized visions thinking, in effect, "Im not there yet, but someday, when I achieve perfection, then Ill get my just rewards."

It is a common observation that "you cant change people, they have to change them selves." It is also typical that many people dont change until their whole world comes crashing down on them, until their backs are against the wall and there is no longer anywhere to go but forward. My purpose in discussing all these things is to urge you not to let yourself get caught in the downward spiral of the search for glory. Dont wait until your back is against the wall.

Desperation doesnt have to precede change. Start now and look for some of the symptoms Ive described. It all comes down to leaming to own your problems and take responsibility for them.

Making mistakes is part of the business of trading. In those moments when reality slaps you in the face, try to ask yourself what you have done to make them happen; not in context of self -reproach or punishment, but in the context of the opportunity for positive change and growth.


From what Ive said so far, it is possible to conclude that both self-idealization and its result, the search for glory, would create an arrogant egomaniac, but that is because I only cursorily discussed the need for perfection. Assuming that, to some degree, people create a self-image of a supreme being, they are then subconsciously "forced" to attempt to live up to that image, however unre al:

He holds before his soul his image of perfection and unconsciously tells himself: "Forget about the disgraceful creature you actually are; this is how you should be; and to be this idealized self is all that matters. You should be able to endure everything, to understand everything, to like everybody, to be always productive"-to mention only a few of these inner dictates. Since they are inexorable, I call them "the tyranny of the should."

Beneath the surface of the need for perfection is a fundamental sense of discontent and lack of self-esteem. The quest to become perfect is a shield that guards

against awareness of this fundamental discontent. As long as people hold up this image of perfection and strive for it, they feel worthy, even superior. They are able to think of themselves as some of the rare few who are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to actualize their "true" potential. The happiness that they see in others is written off as "superficial" or "phony." Only they, and a few othe rs like them, such as their "ideal woman" or "ideal man" (whom they have never met, but long for), understand the glory that is attainable if you work hard enough at it. But, at root, the lack of real self-esteem is there, and it will surface in various ways.

Of all the drives in the search for glory, I believe that the need for perfection is the most pervasive, and it shows itself in the tyranny of the should. In place of genuine, self -chosen values and strivings, the person driven by the need for perfection subconsciously adopts a rigid system of inner dictates that "comprise all that... [the person] should be able to do, to be, to feel, to know-and taboos on how and what he should not be."

Once again, there is often a fine line between this rigid syste m and a genuinely held hierarchy of values and disvalues which everyone needs to guide their actions. It is therefore very important to understand several of the key differences between genuine, life-serving values and beliefs and the shoulds or inner dictates associated with the need for perfection.

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