Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Finding the Opportunity in Obstacles

A reader recently asked me about how to handle a challenging situation at his trading setting. Conditions at the firm, including a lack of clarity about risk management and position sizing, were making it difficult to focus on trading.

One mindset that I have found especially helpful in such occasions is to consider the possibility that the obstacles I'm facing are there for a reason. As with weightlifting, we only get stronger by challenging ourselves to tackle more than we're comfortable with. Without obstacles and challenges in life, we would never develop.

Sometimes life provides us with obstacles apart from trading that nonetheless can affect our trading. I wonder to myself at those times: What am I supposed to learn from this challenge? What can I get out of this situation that will make me better as a person, a parent, a psychologist, a trader?

That which does not kill us makes us stronger, Nietzsche asserted. Obstacles in life can only stress us out if we view them as threats. If they're tools that enable us to push past our comfort zones and extend our limits, then we can actually look forward to them as opportunities. That's how Navy SEALs get through their training; how Olympians hone themselves to greatness.

At my recent presentation to traders in Auckland, I mentioned a trader I work with who videotapes his trading when he's having problems and then reviews the tapes at night before the next session. He's a very successful trader, but he still thrives on surmounting obstacles and challenges.

Whatever your challenge, consider the possibility that you're meant to learn something from it. Obstacles point the way to your development. What in your current situation will make you more than who you are now?


Life's Formula for Success