The Importance of Education and Finding a Mentor

In this article Chris Conway discusses the importance of education and finding a mentor, and the impact those factors have had on his career and as a trader. I have written at length about how I consider Stuart McPhee my mentor when it comes to the stockmarket. The funny thing is, there was probably a time when he was my mentor without even knowing it. When people say ‘mentor’ they often think of someone who has close and constant contact with the mentee. But this does not have to be the case. Mentor simply means and experienced and trusted advisor. My first contact with Stuart was in the early- to mid-2000’s, when Stuart would visit the research team of the company I was working for and teach technical analysis. I was very junior at the time and he probably didn’t know who I was for quite some time. But I would stand at the back, listen intently to what he was saying, and then go away and do my own research. This led me to attending one of Stuart’s workshops. Again, whilst he recognised my face, he probably didn’t really know who I was… and that’s OK, because I was a nobody. Just a young face in a sea of faces.
Stuart McPhee

My mentor Stuart McPhee

Then came the questions. Suddenly the kid up the back, who had either been listening intently or phoning it in, started asking questions. Lots of questions. Like machine gun fire. Stuart figured out pretty quickly that I had been paying attention and was very interested in what he had to say. Lengthy conversations about trading ensued. Stuart was always willing to share with me everything he knew. He never held anything back. He was willing to share it all. A lot of traders are protective of their IP… and fair enough. A lot of it is very valuable and built over years in the market. But Stuart was as generous with his time as he was with his knowledge. A friendship blossomed and eventually, we were presenting workshops together. Not quite as equals but certainly as comrades. Having a mentor – or at least someone who I looked up to and trusted, and who had experience – was a blessing early on. And it continues to be a blessing today. Equally, education has always been something which I’ve sought out and has been incredibly valuable. In my humble opinion, the day you stop learning is the day you stop living.

‘The day you stop learning is the day you stop living’

From the day I finished school until I was 35, I never stopped studying. 30 years of hitting the books – as they say, the more you know, the more you realise that you don’t know. I’m now 39 and I have the itch once again. I already know what I am going to do next. So my advice to anyone who is interested, is to invest in yourself and seek out education. Spend the time. Spend the money. Make yourself better. A little better each day adds up over a year, a decade, a lifetime. And seek out a mentor as soon as possible, someone who is experienced and someone who you can trust, and have them be your mentor… even if they might not know it 😊

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