Monday, May 04, 2020

How Is This Pandemic Making You A Better Person?

I have often written that good traders have two kinds of trades:  one that they profit from and another that they learn from.  In losses, great traders find learning and growth.  The key is managing those losses so that we can ultimately benefit from our learning curves.

Now we have a much more serious crisis on our hands.  Some people I see are frustrated, emotional, and defeated by the prospect of a continuing pandemic.  Others are using the crisis as an opportunity to grow, to do things they normally would never have done.  Sometimes it's by learning new things; sometimes it's by getting closer to family; sometimes it's by finding opportunity in markets despite limited opportunities elsewhere.

Tomorrow I will be speaking with employees at a firm where I work.  I will be making myself available as a psychologist to help them and their families survive and even thrive during the pandemic.  I won't bill the company for these visits.  I won't invoice the families.  It's what I have to do.

I look at myself staying safe at home and then I look at the many nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff that put themselves on the line every day.  It makes me ashamed.  It makes me want to man up and put myself out there in some fashion to make this time better for others.  

So my schedule will get busier.  I'll get less sleep and more calls.  I'll get over it: there are people with real problems, real suffering out there.  This pandemic has led me to reach out to people in ways I never would have before.  I can't control how this will play out ultimately, but I can make sure it makes me a better person.  The virus only wins if it kills our souls as well as our bodies.

How is this pandemic making you a better person?  The goal is to emerge from this difficult period as much better versions of ourselves.  Here are five ways people I'm working with are using this time creatively and constructively:

1)  Trying out a new, different charting platform that gives access to new market information and studying new and different edges in the market.  Imagine you and three other like-minded traders doing this on your own, each coming up with new market approaches and perspectives and sharing those within your group.  

2)  Taking classes and learning totally new things.  So many sources of online learning out there:  we can literally go back to school and become part of a passionate learning community.  Couples can take a class together and share in the learning:  how about a cooking class or an exercise class?  How about learning a new language and preparing for a future trip overseas?

3)  Giving back.  So many religious communities and community groups are holding events and meetings online.  Some of these are social; some are focused on improving the community.  Many communities are focusing efforts on helping out vulnerable populations:  what can you contribute?

4)  Building your fitness.  Most of us have time to be able to take the jogs, do the stretching, lift weights, and raise our level of fitness.  What a great way to make sure that staying-in-place is not a time of passivity and deterioration!  And how about cognitive exercise??  I've returned to new biofeedback routines to improve my concentration.

5)  Building your relationships.  It could be little things, such as the new foreign films Margie and I watch in the evening, or fun projects like a family-wide Mother's Day call coming up.  It could also be larger things, like improving your teamwork at home; doing new and fun things with your children; or using Zoom time to spend quality time with friends.  Social distancing may continue for a while, but we can stay connected and actually deepen our relationships.  

It all starts with a vision:  Creating an image of the better person you'll become at the end of all this!

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