The Gift of Learning

“In almost all problem areas of your life,
You are the problem and you are the solution.”
John Kehoe

          The good news is that if we are the problem as well as the solution, then we are in control of the situation.  It has been said that when God wants to give us a gift, he gives it wrapped up in a problem. When we take responsibility for the problem, we begin the search for a solution.  First we need to recognize the problem and define it. Then we can explore possible resolutions.  Difficulties are the rungs on the ladder of success.

          Many traders keep trading journals.  It helps them identify problems and solutions.  Personally, I can’t trade all day and record it all. So here is what I do.  I stop and write down what I learned in any difficult or easy aspect of my trading.  I won’t just let it drift through my mind.  No, I stop and write it down. Then at the end of the trading day, I ask myself two questions:  “What did I learn today?” Then, “How will I utilize that tomorrow?”

          We want to be in  constant and never ending quest for improvement in understanding and increased skills.  The pursuit of amelioration keeps a trader looing forward with optimism.  As you look for new and better ways to do things, you won’t get stuck in past regrets. Regrets don’t move you forward, and you can get stuck in pessimism and even low grade depression.

          Set your intention to master what you learned.  Allow for relearning as well.  Think of great athletes who never stop learning and honing their skills.  If you already knew everything you need to know, what would happen to the amazing adventure of each day’s trading?

          Where are you the problem in your trading?  What are some possible solutions?

Are You Looing for Certainty in the Midst of the Unknowable?

The past is over.  The future is not yet. The exact nature of the unfolding future is basically unknowable to traders and investors. Probabilities are all we have.  Unfortunately, too many long for certainty in an uncertain game.

Probabilities are enough.  We don’t get anything more.  Probabilities are more than possibilities.  They are likely to occur.  Hopefully, we’ve put the probabilities in our favor.  We know the wildness lies in wait.  We calculate the risk before we take the trade, and we make peace with the possibility of loss.  We accept the risk, and turn it over to the market to do whatever it’s going to do.  We accept the uncertainty.  There is no other way.

Then where is our certainty?  It lies in trusting the probabilities to work over time.  We know our research is solidly based.  We also know that past research never guaranties future outcomes.  Nevertheless, in controlling the risk, we assure future viability.

The real certainty comes in trusting ourselves to do the right thing in the right way right on time.  We’ve trained ourselves strategically, mentally, and emotionally.  We rejoice in curiosity.  We delight in the excitement of the unknowable.

Like all champions, we have what William James called precursive faith; i.e.,  faith that runs ahead of the actual event.  No matter what happens, we keep ourselves on track by asking the ubiquitously useful question:  what is the right thing to do now?  We rise above the need to know the final outcome.  Now is the point of power.  What is the market telling us?  What is the best thing to do right now?

All we can do is all we can do, and all we can do is enough.  We stand comfortably on that knowledge.

Balancing Thought and Action in Trading

I have often thought that I could divide my trading clients into two groups:  The Thinkers and The Doers. The thinkers love to research and explore ways of trading, but when it comes to actually trade, they hesitate or avoid it completely.  On the other hand, the doers love to trade and often do so with insufficient planning or research.

As Ayn Rand said, “Action without thought is mindlessness, and thought without action is hypocritical.”

Consistently successful traders balance thought with action and action with thought.  The balanced trader researches methods and fundamentals thoroughly, and then acts in a timely and disciplined manner.

Discipline is doing effectively whatever it takes to get you to your goals–whether or not you feel like it.  Set a strong intention to pay attention to both preparation and execution. Thinking and action are your partners in successful trading.

For more on this visit my article “Thought + Action = Success” on my website