/ Trading

Trading is not complicated. Traders are complicated.

Trading is not complicated. We just make it complicated.

As traders we can do one of three things when placing a trade. Buy, sell or do nothing at all.

If you trade some markets you can only do two of those things. As traders, we make what is essentially a simple task into something that has a “holy grail” as it’s pinnacle.

But let’s not confine it to only trading.

Cleaning isn’t that hard

Cleaning is not hard. Photo: Huffington Post

I have come to a ground breaking revelation recently. It is something that may redefine my essence as a man. It is certainly something that may require me to hand in my “manly man” license.

The image to the right is my attempt to keep a hold of that license.

The revelation? That cleaning the house isn’t that hard. Put things away when you are finished. Don’t ever walk over something, pick it up instead, and nothing ever takes as long as you think it does when you do it straight away.

Our house sparkles, my wife is wondering what my ulterior motive is.

It is now obvious that in over 12 years of marriage, and another 4 years living alone that I made cleaning out to be way too complicated.

Trading isn’t that hard

As a full time trader, the physical act of trading is simple. We sit, we watch porn charts, we sit some more, we click a button and we are done. We have nothing else to do after all. It is our profession.

Of course that is not what we are referring to when we say “trading”. It is the mental act of trading. The analysis. The patterns. The economics. The art of filtering on average 70,000 thoughts per day[1]. That is 70,000 times you have to decide whether your thoughts are matching what you deem the facts are when placing a trade.

On average we think 70,000 thoughts a day!

We know trading shouldn’t be as hard as we make it, and we know it every time we look back over a chart. It is confirmed every time someone says “well it is easy with hindsight”. It is the reason why so many traders have high stress levels and palm imprints on their foreheads.

Self sabotage and the new age

So why do we do it? Clearly 70,000 thoughts is a lot to deal with. Add to that the effects of dehydration, outside distractions and sleep deprivation that is so common with traders, and no wonder the actual act of trading seems so overwhelming to most.

Thankfully we are in a new age. The age where awareness of ourselves is coming to the forefront, and diet, meditation, or anything with the word “zen” in it is not so taboo any more. Zen habits, zen living, zen diets, even zen trading. The age of removing distraction, complication and mental clutter is coming to the forefront.

If we are to refine trading back to it’s core, to something that is essentially simple, we need to concentrate on those things that hinder our chance to filter through those 70,000 thoughts each trading day.

Embrace risk, ignore the scoreboard

Win percentages? Who gives a flying fantail. So much complication comes from the belief that we are being judged. That there is a scoreboard you need to climb and until you do, you have failed as a trader. There is no scoreboard, there is only you. This quote, from the inventor of the (insane) Hawaiian Iron-man Triathlon, John Collins says it better than I can:

You can quit and they don’t care … but you will always know.

You want to simplify trading even more? Accept risk. We do it every day. We hurl large, computer controlled pieces of metal through the streets inches from other large destructive pieces of metal.

We will sit, in a seat, in the sky going 1000km/hr for goodness sakes!

We take on risk every day. Accept it, embrace it, make it waffles. You can still fear it, but once you embrace it, you control it.

Trading should be a passion

You can’t fail at a passion because passions are judged on enjoyment, not mathematics.

You should be trading because it is a passion. If it is a passion, it is something you love just because you are doing it. You can’t fail at a passion because passions are judged on enjoyment, not mathematics.

I will prove all this to you.

Happy trading.


  1. Fun facts about the brain – http://www.brainhealthandpuzzles.com/fun_facts_about_the_brain.html ↩︎