Michel Pireu Columnist
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From Mark Sellers the founder of Sellers Capital, seven traits shared by great investors that maybe can’t be learned at all:

 The ability to buy when others are panicking and sell when others are euphoric.

"Everyone thinks they can do this, but when the market is crashing almost no one has the stomach to buy. When the market is going up almost every day, you can’t bring yourself to sell."

An obsession with playing the game. "These people don’t just enjoy investing; they live it. They wake up in the morning and the first thing they think about is a stock they have been researching. Unfortunately, you can’t learn to be obsessive about something. You either are or you aren’t."

The willingness to learn from past mistakes. The thing that is so hard for most people to do, and sets some investors apart, is an intense desire to learn from their own mistakes.

"Most of us would much rather just move on and ignore the dumb things we’ve done."

An inherent sense of risk.

"I believe the greatest risk control is common sense, but people fall into the habit of sleeping well at night because the computer says they can."

A strong belief in one’s convictions. "I’m amazed at how little conviction most investors have in the stocks they buy. Instead of putting 20% of their portfolio into a stock, they’ll put 2% into it. Why would you waste your time making that bet?"

Having both sides of your brain working. "As an investor, you need to perform calculations and have a logical investment thesis. But you also need to be able to step back and take a big picture view of situations rather than analysing them to death."

The ability to live through volatility without changing your investment thought process. "Something that’s almost impossible for most people to do."

pireum@streetdogs.co.za