Maybe one of the most important things in colleting is merely knowing the the trends followed by an average modern or `contemporary' collector. There are more choices, more options with trading cards. A card with a piece of a player's equipment may still have novelty, but it isn't considered as a serious card collectible anymore. Parallels of rookie cards, 1/1 autographs of legends and icons, take on more importance.
My mentality is more to collect to hoard. I've been conditioned by looking back at stories of lost treasures thrown away by mothers.
Still, at times it doesn't matter to me anymore.
You find that you really have no foundation for your collection. It is all crap because you've collected for novelty and lose out because you are collecting for frivolity. There is no theme. For whatever reason, you aren't really able to outspend.
No matter what, you are the Pittsburgh Pirates or Montreal Expos of collecting anything. You make some transactions, sign several players of mediocre or middling talent. You are content with potentially serviceable talent, but you see the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox and realize you have no realistic shot at greatness.