I always love to see comments related to the psychological and philosophical aspect of trading as it shows how serious the readers are about trading. In my opinion, when you think beyond the rewards of the profession you are trying to master, you are on the right path.
I have received the following comment from a reader and that pushed me to put the answer in a separate article as the answer is going to be lengthy. Here is his comment.
Another philosophical question…
What are the learnings from trading ( or market has taught you) that can be applied in life?
My profession affected my lifestyle in both ways. It made a lot of things simple and it equally complicated few other things. As a positive start, I answer the good things first. 😀
1) Personality :-
I thought I was a conservative guy. I was raised by a middle class Indian orthodox family in a village. I was shy to talk to strangers, you can state me as a perfect example of a guy with high inferiority complex if I am the same like before. But once I started trading in live markets, I realized a completely different color of mine. When my emotions got triggered, I am as aggressive as a bull hit with a nail. I was not making consistent profits when I first realized this as my approach was conservative and a mismatch of the trading strategy with the personality completely degrades the performance.
You cannot live two lives outside and inside trading. Your true personality pops out and your emotions are tested to the maximum level. Stop fighting the personality and focus on remodelling the strategy to suit your personality. You cannot stop your emotions but you can stop the actions caused by emotions. Let your spiritual journey take care of that.
2)Decision making and Patience :-
These two are must if you want to be successful in trading. But how can I be patient when my personality is aggressive? This question forced me to stay away from the markets for quite some time until I came across the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. In that book, the author talks about the industrial age and the information age. We are now in the information age and each and every part of the world is connected. An event at some part of the world will affect the economy in a different part. We have access to news and information at the fingertips. How to get the information is not the right question to ask now. How to discard irrelevant information is the real question. Once you know what information to discard and what information to take as inputs for decision making, you can be patient until the information needed exposes itself irrespective of the type of personality you have. It isn’t that easy as it sounds. People start to rub their opinions when you say you want to go into a profession which is normally considered as risky (like trading) and you freeze listening to them as you don’t know whose words to discard. Markets (continuous flow of information) keep on teasing you giving an illusion of the best entry on earth which finally ends up in a loss as you don’t know which information to discard at the time of taking the trade. Simply put, you cannot be patient if you don’t know what you want and what you don’t want.
Our society made patience and some emotional intelligence stuff as supernatural accomplishments. But all the EI related stuff will have answers if you know what information to discard. Now, when I am supposed to take a decision in my life ( and in trading), these are the questions I ask,
What is the available information at the present moment?
What is the relevant information?
What is irrelevant information?
Do I have enough information to react?
It made my life simple and practical. It also affected my personal life to a great extent in a bad way, causing some misunderstandings with my parents and my girlfriend as this is not the normal way people live. But I am ok with it as I know what I am doing.
3) Risk taking:-
I used to be risk-averse and always wanted a safe and secured life with a paycheque at the month-end. But markets taught me to push myself and take chances in life when the risk is minimal and the fruits of the taking the risk are satisfactory. After all, taking chances in life is the only thing that makes us different from the remaining humans. Trading is all about taking chances.
4) Got rid of the illusions created by emotions and the world :-
I guess this is a common quality which everyone who is consistent in getting profits from markets learns. We normally look at things in the outside world with our perceptions, not how they actually are. The perceptions, in turn, are affected by the emotional state we are in. This whole biological process creates a projector screen inside which stops us from seeing things the way they are. This is a disaster in trading and in real life too.
I started maintaining a personal journal. I am trying to improve myself every day by reviewing the things I have done professionally and spiritually. I am accepting life situations with ease as I realized that I have no control over them. I learn to do the things I love to do without thinking about others. I am staying disciplined in my life. I am planning things before actually start doing them. I found my interest in helping others which is the reason behind starting this website. My life completely turned process-oriented from a result-oriented mindset. I found interest in spirituality because of trading. I am working out regularly. Trading improved my skill of reading minds. This list goes long and long. Trading has taught me and changed my lifestyle in a lot of aspects.
Now lets look at some bad things. I know you will be interested in these.. 😀
1) Stubbornness :
I turned so stubborn unconsciously. I am relying totally on my decisions without even listening to my parents and my girlfriend. I found it funny when my mother once said that she wants my trading account to be wiped out so that I will take a job in the IT sector again. 😀 That was not rude actually as that is how parents think. I would prefer teaching trading to make my living when a financial disaster happens rather than taking a job in the IT sector again. 😀 Even this is a stubborn decision. 😉
2) Lost faith in words:-
Seriously!!! I lost faith in words from others. I am in a belief that the damage caused by listening to the suggestions from others in the past is enough. So, I am thinking twice to believe what others are saying which is not always the wise thing when things are a bit sensible.
3) Work life balance:-
This is the scariest thing that I am witnessing in my present life. I actually don’t know where it gonna end in the long run and it has caused a lot of damage already. I am still not matured enough to quantify the level of focus on two different aspects of life, personal and professional, which I equally love. But I must do what I have to keep the long term goals in my mind.
4) Missing Social Life:-
Trading is a lonely world as there is not much interaction with people every day like other professions. This is something that can be avoided by activating the creative muscle of the brain. This website solved that to some extent. 🙂
5) Turned extra honest and practical:-
Honesty is good. But that punches us when we are extra honest. The same is true with being practical. As I am not giving a damn about others, extra honesty evil possessed me and even this is causing a lot of troubles. But I am perfectly ok with it.
These are the things that came into my mind looking at the comment. But I am sure that there are many others which I forgot to mention. I guess it gives an idea of how the profession we love affects the way we live. It might not be the same for everyone. But it will definitely affect in good and bad ways and we are responsible to get back things under control.
There is a Buddhist saying which gives an ahaa moment everytime I read it. I made it as my personal goal. It goes like this..
“Live without pretending
Love without depending
Listen without defending
and speak without offending..” – Anonymous…
I hope I will get there after all this..