If you have even a modicum of education you quickly begin to understand that the notion of free will is a nothing but an illusion. We are subject to so many physical and mental triggers beyond our understanding that the idea of free will is frankly a cruel joke.
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Yet that fact should not stop us from constantly trying to exert some control over own existence.
This week Barry Ritholtz has a very column on his blog where he makes the argument that we can earn our free will through education and enlightenment. He writes, “In other words, you are not born with Free Will, it is something you must earn. Call it self-enlightenment through study and thought. I suspect there is about a year’s worth of critical thinking lessons that could be pulled out of the three years of legal course work, and made useful for high school and college students. Society would be much better off for it. No, we do not need more lawyers, but we do need more people who can think rationally, critically and have analytical skills.”
Barry’s rumination on Free Will made me think of the market. There is perhaps no greater real life example of vagaries of life than the forex market. Only the most arrogant and the foolish amongst us can believe that they can exercise control over its direction. Those who have been trading for any period of time know that we can be blindsided at any moment by any number of events.
Yet it is exactly in the forex market that Barry’s exaltation to self-enlightenment carries the most meaning. By constantly learning from the market we can adjust our approach and refine our methods of controlling risk. Indeed, the longer I trade the more I realize that the focus on profit is utterly futile. All we can try to do is to assiduously ask ourselves every single day – what could I have done better to minimize my losses? If we can answer that question well – the rest should take of itself.