I was doing a thorough review of my journals from over the past five plus years, and over and over again in mind two key insights popped up that I would like to share with you.
#1 – Forgetting About The Past:
“Every moment of your life is a new beginning, for now is eternity.” – Lao Russell
The first insight is that no matter what horrible things may have happened, no matter what successes I have had, I don’t care much about the past.
Sure the past successes give you some joy as you can remember those moments. You remember where you were, how you felt, who you were with etc.
And the past mistakes can also give you joy if you extracted the lesson learned which helped you move forward.
But still, nothing gives me as much joy as going after new adventures and trades in the present moment.
Nothing can give you as much excitement as feeling that you have something powerful and purposeful and exciting to work on in the present moment.
This is something that I noticed over time in both myself and in the reading of other great traders.
One story that illustrates this is of a hedge fund manager who was being interviewed and asked a question about a trade that he placed a decade ago. I was filled with wonderful anticipation that he would describe it blow by blow, what price he got in, how big, what his reasons were, etc. In the end he gave some vague answers and I was a bit disappointed. I thought about it a bit more. I realized the reason he gave vague answers was not that he was trying to keep things secret. The reason closer to the truth is that he just moved on. It was a very nice trade and on to the next trade, the next adventure, the next opportunity.
As Paul Tudor Jones said in Market Wizards:
“I think one of my strengths is that I view anything that has happened up to the present point in time as history. I really don’t care about the mistake I made three seconds ago in the market. What I care about is what I am going to do from the next moment on.”
Which is also very similar to what the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, Otto Graham said, of the most important characteristic of a great pass receiver in football:
“A damned short memory.”
You can’t carry around a guilt or mistake with you forever, unless you want to and keep thinking about it. Apologize if you need to. Gather new information and knowledge and extract the insights if you need to. Then onward towards the tasks and projects and adventures and trades in the present moment. Sometimes it is only weeks, months or years later than you realize the insight from what happened a while back. That happens as well and is OK. Just make sure that you have been living life in the present moment to the fullest.
When you can forget about the past, you will pick up speed in the present moment.
It lifts tons of weight off your shoulders. You start feeling free to fly to wherever you want to go.
Therefore, remember, that no matter what mixture of successes and failures are recorded in your journals, the best is yet to come!
The show must go on…
As Steve Jobs said:
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
#2 – Always Keep Learning
The second insight was that I had to keep learning and growing.
My trading habits and strategies are not the same as they were five years ago. I had to keep learning and growing and asking questions and reading and testing, etc. I never knew it all back then. And today I don’t know it all.
No matter how much money you make, you never know it all.
For that is one of the surest things in life: You never know it all.
If you think you know everything… you don’t.
If you think you know all the market timing strategies… you don’t.
If you think you know all the different ways you can extract profits from the market… you don’t.
Not that you have to know everything in order to get so much of what you want. You don’t have to know everything. But, for the aspiring trader, or for those already on the journey but not yet achieving the results they seek, the principle of always be learning is suitable.
As Paul Tudor Jones said:
“If life ever ceased to be an educational experience, I probably wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.”
The reason that you see some traders succeed and stay in the game for years and decades and others do not, is that the ones that do are constantly learning. Constant improvement.
“I still feel I have room to improve. I’m never complacent with what I’ve achieved.” – Michael Jordan
There is a great importance of new, and useful, and relevant information for you and your trading needs.
Continue your learning of purposeful things.
Get 1% or 2% better every day and every week and it builds and feeds on itself.
The Slight Edge principle.
That is assuming you are moving towards the truth of trading the financial markets. Sometimes you go in a straight line to your destination, other times you zig zag your way there. But always forward, never backwards.
Those who keep learning stay young and vibrant and can be a human dynamo.
Those who don’t keep learning, they just keep having the same exact conversations – same exact excuses, same exact problems, etc as decades ago.
Those who keep learning solve problems, and move on to a fresh set of adventures and challenges of their choosing.
I, like everyone else has had problems to overcome and challenges, etc. I had my list of excuses and still do. The key is that I am always growing. I don’t have the exact same set of challenges as a few years ago.
When one person came into my “command center” and saw all the information and books and charts I had around. They were surprised and impressed about my desire and love of learning and growth. It looks like a war room.
Well, obviously! That is what I had to do. To learn and grow and implement. Especially to nurture my lucrative “interpretation advantage.”
Because that is what A Lot of Trading is about:
You interpret information, whether in the form of charts or news sources, etc. And then you decide what, if anything you should do.
The technical analysts develop the interpretation advantage of studying the charts.
The global macro trader develops the interpretation advantage of studying the global macroeconomic information flow.
There is a phrase to remember: All Leaders are Readers.
That doesn’t mean that everyone who reads is a leader. For there are people who just like to amass information and not do anything with it. But it is true that most leaders and great people are readers. They consume information, from multiple sources.
Here is another sure thing in life: You can get so much of what you want, and you don’t have to know it all. You just have to know some of it, the key elements of it to start generating the results you seek. Once you attain mastery, it is about a half dozen to a dozen secrets and techniques you use. Though, on the journey to mastery, it certainly seems as though you have to learn one hundred different things.
There are some things that I don’t know, but I am happy I don’t know about them, because my mind is consumed with other, more relevant and useful thoughts, etc. I may not need to know them at this stage in my life. At another stage they may be more timely and useful to my life.
Which brings me to the challenge that most people have:
They know so many things which just aren’t true.
And they know so many things which are true, but they are not useful for this stage in their life.
Other people know so many things which are true, but aren’t useful for any stage of their life!
Walter Russell gave us a profound quote that you should use in this age of information explosion and overload:
“Your ability to put your information together in valuable combinations is what counts.”
Another man said:
“Why clutter my mind with a lot of facts which I do not need today and may never need?”
Do Something…. Differently
There are those who are not getting the results they seek… but they are not searching for new, relevant and powerful information. They are not doing anything different. No new mindset. No new actions.
Well, that is not acceptable. There is such a thing as market conditions not being conducive to your strategy and thus patience is needed to wait for a big fat trade.
But there is also such a thing as market conditions as being very good, but you still are not making money. And in these cases, you need to ask: How can I think differently? What can I do differently?
There is a book with the wonderful title called: Do One Thing Different.
As a final parting insight, here are four questions to ask yourself when you meet a challenge:
What is important here?
What should stay the same?
What should be slightly different?
What should be drastically different?
In all the major accomplishments of my life, I have always had to do some things slightly different, and some things drastically different. Or else I would not have gotten the results I was seeking.
For those of you with a hunger for doing somethings differently in your trading career, then click here for the Order Flow Mastery Course.