Thursday, June 11, 2009

Laws of Psychological Energy and Secrets to Life Success

Values reflect what is important to us; what is meaningful.

Strengths reflect our talents (inborn abilities) and skills (acquired competencies).

Efforts that are aligned with our values and strengths *give* energy: they are psychologically affirming.

Efforts that are not aligned with our values and strengths *sap* our energy: they render us psychologically invisible.

Highly productive people are those who spend much of their effort time in alignment with their values and strengths. Their energy and efforts yield further energy and efforts.

Disorders of psychological energy--laziness, procrastination--come less from internal conflict than from a misalignment with respect to one's values and strengths.

To motivate yourself to do something, you generally don't need counseling or therapy; you just need to find creative ways to undertake and accomplish your goals in ways that draw upon your values and strengths.

If you're not very productive or successful in your work, you're probably not in your sweet spot of values and strengths.

If you operate within the sweet spot of your values and strengths, you're more likely to be successful and productive.

Relationships are more likely to be successful if they draw upon our values and strengths. Those relationships give energy.

Much of trading success consists of finding a niche--a set of markets, strategies, and ways of viewing markets and strategies--that fit with internal values and strengths and external opportunities. More generally framed, that is probably also a formula for life success.


Alan Power said...

Inspiring post.

Bryan said...

Hi Brett, I've gained a lot from your posts on this subject. For example, your ideas on the heroic, the Devon Principle and flow.

I recently read Collins and Porras's book Built to Last which I bought because I thought it might help me identify good companies to invest in. In fact I found the book more interesting in terms of my own trading/ investing as it's all about identifying the values that truly matter to you and about how they can be used to drive your business forward. To my mind it complements your ideas on the importance of values and may be of interest to other traders, especially in helping to develop annual trading plans.

Similar to you, they ask "What are you passionate about and what are you genetically coded for?". From there they provide exercises to help people identify values that are authentic and not fake to them. They then show how to design businesses and organisations that are driven by core values and provide lots interesting examples drawn from their research on top companies.

Tahoe said...

brilliant. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and insight to the markets, to trading, and to life. I don't know if you have read a poem - The Invitation by Oriah Mountaindreamer - also a powerful piece. Thank you for sharing those thoughts and principles.

Ian said...

Thank you so much Brett. I enjoy and appreciate your comments, insight, and overall contributions.

ivanhoff said...

Insightful, as always.
I have a slightly different observation. Imagine that steak is your favorite meal and someone forces you to eat it 4 times a day, every day. In the beginning you are happy, because, after all, this is your most favorite meal. As the time passes, you are getting colder and colder for the steak to the point where you don't want to see steak anymore. Is it possible for a human being to focus his/her attention on doing one thing all the time if a desire for creativity and change in wired in its brain.

The Financial Philosopher said...

Very well said, Dr. Brett. I have observed that most people hyper-intentionally attempt to create success by building skills via the accumulation of external knowledge; all in the attempt to be something other than their true self.

There is no knowledge more important or more powerful than self-knowledge.

Once we know ourselves, the answers to questions and the pathways to success become apparent and much easier to travel, respectively.

To use trading as an example, tension is often created because the underlying objective of many traders is monetary in nature.

If the individual receives fulfillment primarily from the act of trading, then making money at it is a secondary or unintended consequence of the fulfilling act.

"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are." ~ Chinese Proverb

"I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money." ~ Socrates

JimRI said...

Dr. Brett,

Your blog is very valuable to me, and I very much appreciate your doing it. I do have your book on Daily Trading Coach.

This particula post, along with many of your others, causes me to look into myself and chart a course to being a successful trader.

Jorge said...

Dr. Steenbarger,

Excellent post and links, as usual.

Hi Ivanhoff,

You raise a very interesting point. When I first started studying the markets I too wondered if I would get tired or burn out, considering I'm more the artsy/creative type than the data/financial/economic kind of guy.

Think of a kid that starts learning to play the violin. At first he is very excited, he's got a new toy, he's meeting new people, every day he learns something new. Although at first it seems quite hard, he makes progress relatively fast (from zero to a little). Then he hits a plateau, the novelty is gone, he has to put in more and more hours for (apparently) smaller results.

At that point, the kid is going to be faced with whether learning to play the violin is something that is inside of him, or whether it was somehow imposed on him by his parents, peer pressure or fancy dreams of fame and fortune. However, if it's inside of him, he'll not only progress as a performer, but eventually will move on to become an artist and a creator.

No great piece of art or creative work has ever come out of a fleeting interest. Great artists will explore other fields of art and will try to "cook the steak" in a hundred different ways, but will not change from one endeavor to another; why would they when they love what they do?

Regarding creativity and the markets, what I love the most is that not only you progress in your learning curve, but the markets change as well, becoming a moving target and making it all the more interesting. After all, Shakespeare - fascinating as it is - has not changed one iota in the last few centuries.

Best trading to all,


Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Thanks to all for the comments and observations. Jorge, that is a great analogy with learning the violin and the importance of creativity in sustaining interest and energy--