June 27, 2015 – Trading Diaries – Trading as a Calling

I wrote this many years ago.  Perhaps 5 years or 6 years ago.  I’m not sure when.  I’ve handwritten it but I don’t know what date so this is just digitizing it.

*****

When the Greek philosophers referred to happiness, they didn’t simply mean a positive, sunny mood.  Instead happiness was intimately tied to fulfilment – the sense of actualising one’s potentials and being the person you are capable of becoming.  A happy person in this sense can go through periods of sadness and loss , anxiety and frustration.  Indeed it is difficult to imagine a goal-directed life that doesn’t encounter such obstacles.

What contributes to happiness, however, is the deep sense of being on the right path in life; the sense that you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing.  

In that context, the opposite of Aristotle’s happiness isn’t sadness but rather a certain kind of emotional disease; a vague but pervasive existential guilt that you’re letting life’s opportunities slip by; that you’re settling for less than you rightfully should.

To prepare a challenging trade idea, execute it with a plan, and then see it make money yield a kind of happiness that can’t be achieved by the same profits from a dumb-luck trade.  Pride, not as in overweening arrogance, but as an inner sense of conviction about the rightness of one’s choices is an important manifestation of Aristotle’s happiness.

We profit from our life’s endeavours when we pursue our happiness.

You will know you’re pursuing your happiness when you’re so involved in what you’re doing that you don’t want it to be limited to business hours.

Trading can be a great job and a potentially lucrative career, but only if it’s also a calling.

This is a psychological paradox; to best focus on any single performance, it helped to be diversified among performances.

Diversification, in life and markets, reduces performance pressure and allows us to become immersed in what we are doing.

It’s not necessary that one feels great after every single trading day.  Much of psychological well-being is a function of the fit between a person and her social and work environments.  Risk and reward is proportional.  Pursuing large gains invariably brings large drawdowns.  The key to success is trading within one’s risk tolerance so that swings won’t change how one views markets and makes decisions.  How one manages trading depends on how one manages the rest of his life.

Emotional Checklist:

How are you feeling right now?

1.) Happy Neutral Unhappy

2.) Satisfied Neutral Dissatisfied

3.) Energetic Neutral Run Down

4.) Optimistic Neutral Pessimistic

5.) Focused Neutral Scattered

6.) Calm Neutral Stressed Out

7.) Competent Neutral Incompetent

8.) Growing Neutral Stagnant

-Faceless Trader

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