Thursday, April 01, 2010

Reflections on Life, Motivation, and Impotent Goals

Motivational guru Tony Robbins once observed, "People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals - that is, goals that do not inspire them." My experience is that this is very true of traders: many of their goals are impotent. They are written in a journal or a post-it note attached to the computer monitor, but they are not inspiring goals. They don't bring a hunger for action.

We chastise ourselves for lack of discipline when we don't follow through on our goals, but we never stop to think that maybe our goals sell us short.

Show me a person who has trouble getting out of bed in the morning and I'll show you a person with impotent goals. A child has no problem leaping out of bed early Christmas morning to see what Santa has brought. That same child on a school morning? It might take a few rousings to get out of the sack.

A big part of middle age is getting so caught up in putting out fires that you forget all about setting the world ablaze. Kids have no problem dreaming about hitting that 9th inning home run for the Yankees or being a superhero. Somehow that gets lost in concerns over "practical" matters, as The Little Prince realized. But an impotent life is not a practical life at all.

Your job isn't to find the next great market trend or setup. It's to find the goals that inspire you, that will get you springing out of bed in the morning and excited to be tackling life through the day. As long as you have those, you'll stay young at heart--and spirit. And you'll persist and find those trends and setups.