One of the good things about trading is that you have a lot of time on your hands and I mean a lot of time on your hands. As such you are free to engage in whatever pursuits you want. For me, this often involves exploring various scientific debates that are going on that might be of interest. What you find in following these debates is that most people don’t have a considered opinion based upon data, instead, they have a religious opinion that is amplified by their own ego. For example, I have a lay interest in nutrition science but the noisiest people in nutrition are those with a religious view, that is they are obsessed by various diet subgroups such as veganism, keto, paleo or whatever. They are in effect their diet therefore they cling to their world view in the almost total absence of any evidence to support their opinion. What you get instead of logic and reason are emotion and ego defensiveness
Within this ecology of beliefs are the longevity gurus and functional medicine crowd. I still don’t know what functional medicine is – although I do put it in the same category as functionally lifting. That is marketing and not reality. It is here that we get to the tinkering or what I would call hypervigilance over irrelevancies. I will often see questions pop up on social media directed to these people about aging and the like and the questions are generally along the lines of should I take rapamycin prophylactically, should my fast be 16 hours or 17 hours, should I get my telomeres measured What is interesting to me as someone who likes models and analogues as the basis for solving problems is that the answers to these questions have already been given by natural systems and populations. We already know the promotors of longevity, we only have to look at the Okinawans who have the highest percentage of centenarians in the world. It is a fairly simple model, don’t eat processed food, exercise regularly, find meaning in work and community. It’s not that hard, but people want to make it hard. My analogy for the questions people ask are akin to asking if you shut the fridge door on a supertanker quickly will you change the course of the supertanker.
People like to fiddle around the edges of a problem without actually looking at the foundational aspects of the problem. So if we returned to our hypothetical answers for our wellness and diet guru’ the answers should be don’t eat anything that comes out of a cardboard box, exercise regularly and intensely no dawdling around the block to buy a muffin, when you eat do so with friends and family, find a job you can do until you die and join a choir. You will note there are no fancy prescriptions, no magic, and no secret knowledge – this is all stuff you could find out in 30 minutes of reading. Which why so much of the academic debate around diet and health does amuse me since we have a natural model we can observe and copy.
However, it is my view that the very simplicity of the concept that defeats people – they are not looking for simplicity and marketing guru’s seeking sales and academics seeking funding certainly don’t want simplicity and the same is true of trading. Traders are the ultimate consumers of the complex and the irrelevant. Consider the rancorous debates you can hear at meetings of technical analysts as to whether your RSI should be set to 12 and not 15, or that a weighted moving average is far superior to the exponential moving average or that sunspots are valid way of taking trades and my favourite hearing Elliot Wave pundits argue over what the wave count should be in a given move. Here’s a hint boys if you are arguing over such things you don’t have a trading system you have a religious belief and you need to get out more. The fact that your moving average might be set to 45 and mine might be set to 60 are total irrelevancies and in no way predictive of any form of success because like our long-lived Okinawans the longevity of a trader is not to be found in such extraneous arguments but rather in the understanding that traders have as to the broad concepts of trading – the most important being that the individual is the greatest source of friction within their trading universe.
In reviewing hundreds of trading plans, their associated results and interviewing he traders behind the systems I accept no argument that once the basic tenets of trend trading and money management are understood it is entirely down to the trader. Everything else is an irrelevancy and a distraction generated by the trader in an attempt to avoid looking at the core issues that might bedevil them. Traders succeed because of the people they are, likewise, most traders fail because of the people they are. If your tools are grounded in a basic common sense then your cock ups are down to you and that is something you have to deal with. No amount of searching on the periphery will solve this problem.