Our perspective–on life and on trading–shapes our experience. We can make trading a stressful roller coaster or we can make trading a rewarding development of our character virtues. Here are four pieces of trading wisdom that have offered me the perspective to approach markets in a healthy, constructive, challenging, and fulfilling way:
1) Your uniqueness shapes your success – We are wired to find the exercise of our strengths to be energizing and rewarding. The best thing we can do in our trading is try lots of things and discover what we do well and what speaks to us. Your greatness can be found in the patterns of your success. Yes, it’s helpful to correct our weaknesses, but no one ever reached their potential by becoming less bad at something.
2) If you want a fulfilling and successful career, lead a fulfilling and successful life – No one can live an impoverished life and expect success in their work. The lives we lead are mirrors, and we internalize the images that we experience. When we live good, generous, and caring lives, we experience ourselves as good, generous, and caring–and that naturally leads to our being good, generous, and caring toward ourselves. We’re most likely to find success if we lead lives that make us feel worthy of success.
3) We become who and what we love – When we truly love another, we give them our best selves. That leads us to constantly exercise the qualities that define us at our best. When we focus on ourselves and our profits become our greatest love, we train ourselves to live self-absorbed lives. Love for another person pushes us to step outside of ourselves and internalize the best of the one we care about. It is difficult to overreact to markets if we have people in our lives so much more important that the ups and downs of profitability.
Sadly, many traders look to tweaks in their “process” to find success and fulfillment in their work. Of course, it’s always important to learn from experience and improve what we do. But no amount of tweaks will add up to living the right kind of life. At some times, in some situations, you have been truly happy and fulfilled: you have been your best self. That–not any self-help platitudes–is your best starting point for turning your trading psychology around.