Recently LB and I have been doing the Short Term Trading Magic seminars in a few places and it has been sometime since I did any form of presentation on a semi regular basis. As such it has been interesting to observe people as they work through various trading issues. One of the things I have noted is that people take trading far too seriously and this is reflected in a form of desperation. Desperation is the antithesis of the state of mind you need to be in to trade effectively.
There is no deny that this is a phase everyone enters at some stage in their career but to be successful you need to move beyond this and begin to treat trading as the game that it is. Once I started treating trading as a game then it became so much easier on the soul and my results reflected this. I even have a t-shirt that says that the fewer fucks I give the more I make. This is not to say that I am reckless but rather that I am in no way wedded to the outcome of any trade. At its core my life will not change if a trade or even a cluster of trades are winners or losers – they are simply not that important. When compared to real life, trading is nowhere near as important as people think it is.
It is often commented that children are better are learning new things than adults who seem set in their ways. I am not so certain that this is a reflection of any great cognitive superiority or plasticity that the young may have but rather a reflection of their willingness to be both wrong and to play. Young children have no ego therefore the mistakes that their play generate have no impact upon their sense of self worth. As adults we lose this resilience because we believe that it is somehow catastrophic to our self image if we do make mistakes. But in trading your mistakes are your own – no one else can see them so you are insulated from the judgement of others. This isolation gives you the freedom to be wrong but the only thing you have to cope with is your own judgement.
Markets are a wonderful universes for exploration and for play. The presence of micro contracts in various instruments and online trading mean that you experiment very cheaply. The price of admission to the fun park is much lower than it used to be and the number of rides has gone through the roof. It is a shame that more traders dont view trading as little more than a theme park where you can play to your hearts content and during the process of playing you learn much more than you would if you were consumed by seriousness and desperation.