Trading is not complicated. We, as humans, make it complicated. As traders, we can do one of three things when placing a trade. Buy, sell, or do nothing at all. If you trade some markets, you can only do two of those things. As traders, we make what is essentially a simple task into something with a “holy grail” as its pinnacle.
But let’s not confine it to only trading.
Cleaning isn’t that hard
I have come to a groundbreaking revelation recently. It is something that may redefine my essence as a man. It is certainly something that may require me to hand in my “manly man” license.
The revelation? Cleaning the house isn’t that hard.
Put things away when you are finished. Don’t ever walk over something; pick it up instead, and nothing takes as long as you think it does when you do it immediately.
Our house sparkles and my wife is wondering what my ulterior motive is.
It is now obvious that in over 12 years of marriage, and another four years living alone, I made cleaning out way too complicated.
Trading isn’t that hard
As a full-time trader, the physical act of trading is simple. We sit, watch porn charts, sit some more, click a button and you are done. We have nothing else to do after all. It is our profession.
Of course, that is not what we are referring to when we say “trading”. It is the mental act of trading. The analysis. The patterns. The economics. The art of filtering on average 70,000 thoughts per day1. That is 70,000 times you must decide whether your thoughts match the facts when placing a trade.
On average, we think 70,000 thoughts a day!
We know trading shouldn’t be as hard as we make it, and we know it every time we look back over a chart. It is confirmed every time someone says, “well, it is easy with hindsight”. It is the reason why so many traders have high-stress levels and palm imprints on their foreheads.
Self-sabotage and the New Age
So why do we do it? Clearly, 70,000 thoughts is a lot to deal with. Add to that the effects of dehydration, outside distractions, and sleep deprivation that are so common with traders, and no wonder the actual act of trading seems so overwhelming to most.
Thankfully we are in a new age. The age where awareness of ourselves is coming to the forefront, and diet, meditation, or anything with the word “zen” in it is not so taboo anymore. Zen habits, zen living, zen diets, even zen trading. The age of removing distraction, complication, and mental clutter is coming to the forefront.
If we are to refine trading back to its core, to something that is essentially simple, we need to concentrate on those things that hinder our chance to filter through those 70,000 thoughts each trading day.
Embrace risk, ignore the scoreboard
Win percentages? Who gives a flying fantail? So much complication comes from the belief that we are being judged. There is a scoreboard you need to climb, and until you do, you have failed as a trader. There is no scoreboard. There is only you. This quote, from the inventor of the (insane) Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon, John Collins, says it better than I can:
You can quit, and they don’t care … but you will always know.
You want to simplify trading even more? Accept risk. We do it every day. We hurl large, computer controlled pieces of metal through the streets inches from other large destructive pieces of metal.
We will sit, in a seat, in the sky going 1000km/hr for goodness sakes!
We take on risk every day. Accept it, embrace it, make it waffles. You can still fear it, but once you embrace it, you control it.
Trading should be a passion
You can’t fail at a passion. Passions are judged on enjoyment,
You should be trading because it is a passion. If it is a passion, it is something you love just because you are doing it. You can’t fail at a passion because passions are judged on enjoyment, not mathematics.
1 Fun Facts About The Brain — http://www.brainhealthandpuzzles.com/fun_facts_about_the_brain.html