Friday, April 26, 2019

Follow Your Joy...And Your Pain

The SMB Blog recently posted its 10 top trading tweets of the week.  There are excellent insights here, including reflections on "What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Trading".  One of the tweets pointed to the importance of feeling pain when we're trading poorly.

This past week, I've been teaching psychology and psychiatry trainees in techniques for helping people make changes.  A major theme I've touched upon is that, in our normal, routine states of mind, we tend to think routine things and engage in routine actions.  If we're looking to make changes, we need to get out of our habitual consciousness and access new ways of experiencing ourselves.  Interestingly, joy and pain are both helpful in that regard.

When we feel joy and gratitude, we focus on what we've done well; when we feel pain, we focus on how we've fallen short of our ideals.  Both states of mind cement our perceptions and help them stand out from routine.  We change via powerful emotional experiences, not simply by writing things in journal and talking them aloud.  

Many of our most powerful learning experiences occur in the context of meaningful relationships.  The experiences we provide our children as parents; that are part of our romantic relationships; and that occur in counseling and therapy are processed deeply because of their emotional power.  Because they are also part of ongoing relationships, we achieve the repetition that helps us internalize those new experiences of ourselves.  Many of our most powerful changes occur within the context of (new) social roles.

What is your relationship with markets?  How do you experience yourself in your trading?  What emotional experiences are you internalizing over time during your trading?  There is a role for joy in trading and a role for pain.  Both help us learn from our experience and, together, they help keep us confident and humble.

Further Reading: