Flexibility…No I’m Not Talking About Stretching

Successful trading is very much a counter intuitive game. It often requires you to be extremely mentally flexible and rigid in that flexibility. Yes, I did just use the words flexible and rigid in the same sentence. On top of that, I said you need to be rigidly flexible to be successful in trading.

The markets ebb and flow and are constantly changing and evolving. In order to be successful you must learn to move with the markets, rather than resist them. Traders that try to fight the markets or impose their will on them lose, lose quickly, and badly.

Being flexible is often much easier said than done and the reason is because most of us are mentally inflexible. This mental inflexibility often stems from our ego’s need to be right and defend itself. If you haven’t already experienced this, you will and it won’t end well. Think about stubborn people you know, do they live with ease or resistance?

So, the question becomes, how do we become more flexible? While I could go into all kinds of trading semantics about how to do this or that, the real answer is to surrender your ego. How do you do that? By reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth among other eastern spiritual books. Why eastern spiritual books? Because most of them all have to do with the ego and the mind. They have to do with embracing and accepting life as it is rather than resisting it. This is not about religion, it’s about human functioning. Humans make up markets and last time I checked we are all human.

These books will teach you so much more about the organic nature of life and the markets than the lame western psychology books and teachings. Western psychology is largely based on how to coddle, repair, and trick the ego rather than to move beyond it. I am not interested in playing with the ego at all, been there done that…

The concept that most of us have yet to grasp is that “CHAOS IS THE NORM,” not the other way around. Once you really understand what that means only then will the markets begin to make sense to you. That still doesn’t mean that you’ll understand what is happening you’ll just resist it less.

While a lot of this may sound esoteric to many people, I can assure it is not. Trade for as many years as I have and go through the ups and downs in life and in the market as I have and you’ll understand. I am not putting myself on a pedestal, I am trying to wake you up and show you how to succeed in life and in trading. My point is that I have already had to learn the hard way, so why should you try to reinvent the wheel?

You probably won’t hear what I am saying from many people. In fact, I have read about and heard a few market psychologists that say many of the best traders are often egoic, totally out of control, over emotional, and that gives them their edge. Don’t waste your time with this non-sense!

I would counter their argument by saying, I was once one of those traders and while it worked for a while, it doesn’t work long term. I have lived it and experienced it firsthand and I can tell you definitively, that personality type will crash and burn. There are so many great traders that have crashed and burned because of exactly this type of personality.

I am not afraid to say I was once one of them and after riding the roller coaster one too many times..I said enough is enough. Einstein once said, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. While, I learned that one the hard way…

Now, my trading is better than it’s ever been and it’s because I am not fighting with myself, the markets, my strategy, or any goals or expectations. I am mostly, completely free of all that mental noise and I just let the markets, in their great wisdom, lead me and show me what to do rather than let my ego try to prove to them who is right or wrong.

Tiger Woods and Trading

Recently, Tiger Woods apologized to the world for being unfaithful to his wife and for letting his ego get the best of him. For a guy that seemed infallible, the world now realizes that he is human too. Everyone, including the best in the world, go through set backs and bumps in the road in this journey called life. I know that I have experienced them and I am sure you have as well.

These moments tend to be very polarizing and awakening. The key is to use these events to grow and become more conscious. In trading, events like this happen all the time. Traders have a strategy and their ego gets the best of them and they deviate, or cheat on their system or strategy so to speak. When this happens it inevitably leads to losses and sometimes failure.

I have lived these experiences in the markets and in life, and I can tell you firsthand that they are very humbling. Trading in my ways is a metaphor for life. It requires commitment, continual growth, humility, and most of all consciousness. Consciousness can be extremely brutal on the psyche. It can easily bring you to your knees and it will if you are not willing to learn from the events of your life. One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Caroline Myss, says consciousness can only be learned through wisdom or woe. Unfortunately, woe is the typical path for 95% us.

For this reason, I have spent a lot of time studying eastern spirituality. Eastern spirituality is deeply rooted in consciousness and freedom from egoic thinking and behavior. I tend to find implementing these concepts in my life makes me a much better trader and more importantly a much better person. Take the time to improve your life and your trading by learning from others experiences.

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