Friday, July 17, 2009

What Is The Value Of Trading?

An interesting question that arose during the Chicago trading seminar today was: What is the value of trading beyond making money?

It's a question that arises for many traders. So many occupations derive their nobility from contributing to the welfare of others in direct ways. Where is the nobility in trading?

In my reply, echoing Ayn Rand, I challenged the notion that nobility is solely or primarily a function of assisting others.

In mastering risk and uncertainty; in learning to pursue opportunity in effortful ways; in making ourselves better as decision makers; in becoming more disciplined actors; we improve ourselves as human beings. That carries over to many areas of life, so that we can become better business partners, spouses, parents, and friends.

Indeed, this might be the most important distinction between trading well and trading poorly: When we trade well, we make ourselves stronger, better; we tap into the best within us. When we trade poorly, we succumb to our lowest common denominators.

The value of trading is the value of any competitive performance activity: in its mastery, we become just a bit closer to our ideals--and that ripples throughout our lives.