Thursday, February 27, 2014

Doing Well and Doing Good: Trading as a Gymnasium

Some would have it that there is little ethical good in trading, implicitly or explicitly accepting the premise that what is good is what we do for others.  This creates a schism between doing well--earning profits in markets--and doing good.  Not a few traders in my experience have been caught in that dichotomy, undermining both their trading and personal success.

Wealth, Ayn Rand once observed, is the product of our capacity to think.  There is no surer road to ruin in markets than to follow the herd.  It is the independent mind, the capacity to see what others don't, that brings trading and investing success.  As markets continually evolve, success requires that we evolve with them.  Who among us has not known the once-successful trader who now cannot make money in changed markets?  Trading requires not just the ability to make ourselves, but also the capacity to continually remake our viewing and our doing.

Once we see trading--or any great performance field--as a crucible for self-development, then there is no schism between what makes us good and what makes us successful.  My capacity to make decisions in fast market conditions has often come in handy in difficult family circumstances.  Principles of risk management that inform my trading have also helped me hold winners and exit losers in career opportunities.  Recognition that I cannot digest everything in markets daily has pushed me to find like-minded others and build mutually rewarding collegial relationships.  I have learned to become a more patient parent and spouse by markets that required my patience.

Any performance domain is a gymnasium that gives us the opportunity to exercise the best within us.  The right workouts help us earn the status of the 1%--in our relationships and careers, as in our bank accounts.

Further Reading:  Objectivism and Trading