Pro's 10 signs you've been on Wall Street too long

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Scott Mlyn | CNBC

To say Wall Streeters are not like ordinary humans is hardly a universe-shattering observation on social behavioral norms.

Everybody knows people on the Street are ... different.

How different?

Nick Colas, chief market strategist at New York-based brokerage ConvergEx and someone who has devoted quite a bit of time in his daily missives to piercing through not only market action but also the behavior that drives it, has a top 10 list that seeks to quantify some of the ways in which his colleagues are ... unique.

In much the same way that "reformed broker" Josh Brown a few weeks ago dissected 10 "insane things" that Wall Streeters believe, Colas delves into 10 signs of someone who's been on the Street for too long.

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The list, for your perusal:

1. You start personal conversations with "I have three points to make today." Anyone who's spent time with a TV producer or in a PowerPoint presentation knows this one all too well.

2. Emotions are life's "beta." As Colas says, "Sometimes you are the windshield, sometimes you're the bug," Beta is all about relative terms, and if you've spent too long on the Street, sometimes winning as compared to something else is all that matters.

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3. You ponder the time series correlation between your spouse's/significant other's emotional state and your own. In life, as in the market, you seek noncorrelated assets. So if you're in a bad mood, you hope your wife is in a good mood.

4. A fight with your spouse/SO is like a management call after a big earnings miss. Colas: "Happiness is all about beating expectations to anyone who spends their lives analyzing companies and markets. And when the people around us 'Miss the number' we have a lot of trouble remembering that they aren't a losing position in an otherwise perfectly fine portfolio of relationships."

5. Momentum drives life. "The Wall Street trained mind will always look for that pattern—are things getting better or worse, and how fast? That's not the way the world works all the time. There are plenty of days where nothing actually happens and you'll go nuts looking for inflection points that don't exist."

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6. You try to look for comps in everything. "A good approach in the office, but a horrible one anywhere else. On any given day someone else's child will seem better mannered or another person's spouse kinder to their partner."

7. You are openly jealous when you watch "House Hunters" and realize not every house in the United States lists at $2.0 million for a tear down on a quarter acre. "The most convenient conversation is with someone who probably looks and sounds a lot like you. Seeing that the rest of the world is very different is an important touchstone to maintain any sense of balance."

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8. You mark your whole life to market every day. To paraphrase: Put your smartphone down, stop checking asset prices and pay more attention to the rest of the world.

9. "Reversion to the mean" should work for everything, right? "Works well in investing, but in life you are often better off staying with the best in class rather than bottom feeding for the reversion trade."

10. You can make more money; you can't make more time. This one seems less what Wall Streeters believe but rather what they should believe. Anyway, Colas explains: "The wealthiest guy I ever worked for told me that one day, and I have never forgotten it. Those of us fortunate enough to work in this business have many options and are paid well to work with clever people. It is a privilege. Time is the scarce resource in the equation, and spending it wisely is the real challenge. Family, friends and colleagues are the real assets in our lives. Just don't use your day-job skills to keep them close to you."