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The Value of Trading is Far More Than Money
What do we really do as traders? When you strip away all the technical and fundamental data, all the market knowledge, all the bells and whistles of the latest execution, communication analysis software you end up with just one thing.
We make decisions.
If we day trade we make a LOT of decisions each day. Not only that but we make decisions in a probabilistic manner, knowing that there is absolutely no certainty attached to each choice. Like a man crawling underground in total blindness we only know that we need to move forward if we ever want to see sunlight.
Trading is the ultimate exercise in pragmatism. It does not care who you are, what you look like, what education you have or any other extraneous attribute that so often clouds our thinking. Trading only cares about results and for those that continue to practice it -- it has a marvelous ability to focus us on what really matters.
I have three children -- two nearly full grown and one a toddler. For those of you who have millennials in their midst I need not go any further to explain my conundrum. They are spoiled beyond belief, entitled like never before and utterly incapable of independent life ( I am sure our parents thought the same thing).
My standard way of dealing with these issues was to threaten endless rounds of violence -- I will take away your money, I will take away your freedom, I will throw in the street -- and so on and so on and so on.
These are standard parenting reactions that many of you may still think are quite valid. But of course they are not. Punishment only begets resentment and hatred and rarely motivates any long term change from the person.
This is where trading comes in. Trading only asks one question -- how can I get results? In the case of my Millennial children that have the attention span of a gnat it came down to breaking all behavior patterns to one task at a time. One task, one reward. No grand theories of accomplishment, no grandiose goals. Just basic day to day changes that are starting to take root.
The other thing trading teaches you is that the market doesn’t care. It doesn’t care if you spend 100 hours or 1 second on your trade analysis. It doesn’t care if you don’t feel well. It doesn’t care that you really need this next trade to keep your account from hitting margin. The market is neither fair nor unfair, neither just or unjust. It just is.
For many this is a tough notion to accept and they walk away muttering to themselves that there is no way to win and that the game is rigged. But for those who stick it out this is perhaps the best lesson that trading gives us. For just like the market, life doesn’t care. It doesn’t accept excuses and there is no point in bitching about yesterday’s losses. Yesterday is dead. The focus in trading is always on the next idea just as the focus in life is on what happens next. This is why the value of trading is far more than money.