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.

.

9 comments:

TraderSmarts said...

Once again you have hit the nail on the head. Simple yet so powerful. Good stuff Dr. Brett!

Inga said...

Dr. Brett,
so true - life gets a new meaning when you have an inspiring purpose. I try to apply the same to trading - to have a purpose and to have goals, which, Thanks to your "The Daily Trading Coach" book, I learned how to do much better.

It's neat that you mention The Little Prince. Now I'm inspired to read it again...

Robert said...

Wow! Very good post! It is posts like these that make me come back to the site again and again. Thank you Dr. Brett

Vish said...

Dr. Brett,

Very nice article.

Do you have any tips on how to come up with goals that inspire us? I am talking about goals in general (not necessarily trading goals)?

Thanks,
Vish

Charles said...

"Inspiration is for amateurs. Some of us just wake up and get to work." -??

Not sure what I think about that yet but I came across it last night.

adan said...

"A big part of middle age is getting so caught up in putting out fires that you forget all about setting the world ablaze...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...." -

wow, yes!

Thomas said...

Another excellent post. Somewhat off point, it seems that more doctors working with patients diagnosed as depressed should implement the use of daily journals and goal setting by said patients. Completing daily and longer term goals would seem to give the feeling of control, often lacking among depressed individuals.

ramps said...

True as we get older we tend to find that our get-up-and-go has in fact got-up-and-gone. Certainly I rarely leap out of bed bursting to meet the day! And sometimes I do get a bit nostalgic for that unstoppable enthusiasm of childhood. That said, every fruit has it's season. While the summer berries may be sweeter, the autumn vine has much to offer too!! Life is what you make of it.

Gustavo's Trades said...

Brett, your postings are so great and inspiring that I started recording them recently so I can listen on my car as I drive to and from work.

Another one that goes into my "audio library" :)

Thank you!
Gustavo