Sunday, March 19, 2023

Making Passion Your Purpose

This post begins with a music video, old concert footage of Neil Young and company doing "Like a Hurricane".  It's a great song, but the important thing is to watch Neil during the two extended guitar solos.  This is not someone playing a song; it's the song playing itself through him.  The passion with which he plays is tangible.  Living life passionately is not easy, but as Neil observed, "It's better to burn out than to fade away".

A lot of us are fading away.  We're doing the same things.  We do the same things the same way and glorify it as "discipline" and "process".  We focus on working harder until we forget how to truly play.  We track all that we do in efforts at improvement until little is left to spontaneity.  If we approached romantic relationships the way the approach markets, we would quickly lose all passion and life together would become little more than a well-oiled routine.

If we are to make passion our purpose, then we have to make time for the new and different:  new experiences, fresh perspectives, expanded relationships, and opportunities to truly feel what we're doing.  The challenge of peak performance is maintaining the spirit and energy of what we're doing even as we work on improvement and mastery.  That is why the practice sessions of great teams--athletic teams, military teams--combine exercises that rouse motivation and teamwork with exercises that build skills.  Go into any locker room at halftime:  the great teams will fire themselves up, not unlike Neil Young's absorption in his music.

Wanting to make money is not passion.  Filling out trading journals and reviewing performance is not passion.  All these are necessary, but not sufficient for peak performance.  Passion comes from absorbing ourselves in what we love.

What do you love about markets?  How can you so absorb yourself in that love that your trading takes on the quality of Neil Young's guitar solos?  

Or are you working so hard to take emotion out of your trading that your trading career is fast-becoming a passionless romance?

This past week I've created a historical database of breadth statistics for a wide variety of market sectors, so that it's possible to see where money is flowing in and out of the market--and then backtest the significance of such shifts.  That is leading to new discoveries--new ways of detecting market regime changes in real time--and that fires up the passion.  More to come--

Further Reading:

Passion, Purpose, and Why Traders Fail