Sunday, November 24, 2019

Is Your Trading Purpose-Full?

What is the purpose of your trading?

For many market participants, this would seem to be a foolish question.  "Of course!", they might exclaim, "The purpose of my trading is to make money!!"

Is it that simple, however?

The purpose of a job is to make money.  But is that the purpose of a career?  Is it the purpose of a calling?

If someone were to suggest that the purpose of my being a psychologist is to make money, that would strike me as absurd.  Do I make a living from my profession?  Of course.  But is that the *purpose* of what I do?  Of course not.  Show me an artist whose aim is to make money and I'll show you a mediocre artist.  A priest, minister, or rabbi?  A physician?  The good ones aren't in it for the money, even though it is their primary source of income.

When a trader approaches his or her craft to make money, what they're really saying is that markets are their job, not a career, and most certainly not a calling.  We shouldn't be surprised, therefore, when they treat trading as an activity limited to market hours, and we shouldn't be surprised by the lack of true passion and effort that goes into their market preparation, review, and journals.

Purpose breeds passion.  Passion without purpose is mere emotion and drama.

The most recent Forbes article is based on eye-opening research that reveals the emotional, health, and productivity benefits of living with a sense of purpose.  Purpose gives us resilience--the ability to bounce back from setbacks.  Purpose also enables us to draw upon hidden reservoirs of energy.  All of these are key to success in markets.  

The trader who trades for money has nothing to energize them during inevitable periods of drawdown.  As the Forbes article makes clear, many of the greats of trading have been motivated by a sense of purpose beyond immediate P/L.  Teaching/training others; learning new modes of self-mastery; discovering new patterns and creative sources of edge--all of these are purposes associated with the process of trading, rather than the outcome.

If there isn't an overarching point to your trading process, trading will eventually feel pointless.  That is not a formula for success.

Further Reading: