Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Changing Our Doing By Changing Our Viewing

How we perceive the world determines how we respond to events.  If we view markets as unpredictable, dangerous places, that will help shape our risk management.  If we perceive excitement in directional price movement, we will respond quite differently.  Our doing is a function of our viewing:  we respond to the world, not just as it is, but as we perceive it to be.

A corollary of this perspective is that we cannot change our doing if we remain rooted in the same viewing.  We need to see the world differently to generate fresh response patterns.  The power of human relationships--whether romantic ones, therapeutic ones, or close friendships--is that they enable us to experience ourselves through another person.  Children are not born with a self-concept; they internalize experiences from parents and peers.  Good relationships help us see aspects of ourselves that we might not otherwise appreciate--and those fresh perspectives open the door to new action patterns.

Relationships are not the only ways in which we shift our viewing.  The right kinds of vacations expose us to new regions, new cultures, and new experiences--and those can open fresh life directions.  A recent trip to Alaska (see above) took us completely out of our daily routines and into a world of incredible beauty and glacier-filled adventure.  Not so surprisingly, the free time and inspiring setting led to reflections about life and markets that have stimulated my most recent research and trading.  

The power of books is that they enable us to experience a topic through the eyes of another.  I recall my first reading of Ilmanen's text "Expected Returns".  Viewing markets through the lens of various factors opened the door to structural ways of thinking that permeate how I approach markets to this day.  Far earlier, an encounter with Rand's classic The Fountainhead stimulated an interest in heroic perspectives on human development that would later shape my work as a psychologist.  One of the features I enjoy on the Abnormal Returns site is a listing of the books being read by readers.  It's a great way to source new perspectives from knowledgeable sources.

There is an important role for habit and routine.  It's difficult to imagine that any of us could be efficient without having automatic processes that take care of daily responsibilities.  The problem occurs when those automatic processes take so much of our time and energy that we live life on auto-pilot.  With no fresh viewing, we remain stuck in the same doing--and that's how we are left behind when markets change.

What we read, who we speak with, what we study, how we spend our time--all, at times, need to take us out of our comfort zones.  If we're not stretching ourselves, we'll never expand our dimensions.

Further Reading:  Greatness, Creativity, and Trading