Monday, April 26, 2010

Minding Our Selves: How Body Becomes Soul

In the past, I've written about how life experiences serve as mirrors: they reflect to us something of who we are, which we then internalize as part of our identities. This is particularly true of relationships: we continually experience ourselves through the people in our lives: in a very real sense, who we allow into our lives helps shape who we become.

We also have relationships with our bodies, in a sense. Our bodies are constantly sending us signals about their state: whether we are tense or relaxed, energetic or fatigued, fit or falling apart. A common problem with sedentary occupations such as trading (and a common problem as people become older) is that they stop taking care of their bodies and focus on more "practical" things, like making money, raising children, and keeping up a home.

Over time, a divergence develops: the mind is trying to stay sharp and the person is trying to stay focused, energetic, and motivated, and the body is sending a completely contrary set of signals. It is very difficult to stay at the top of one's game if the other side in our mind/body relationship is sending frequent signals of exhaustion or deconditioning.

I see this often among traders--and too often in myself: neglecting the body and then not having enough fuel in the tank to sustain a crucial piece of motivation or optimism that could lead to that good career decision, that extra effort that gets noticed, or that one good trade after a couple of losers.

If our bodies are mirrors to our selves, what experience of your self are you living with and internalizing each day? A promising strategy for working on the mind might just be minding the body.