I have written about this before but it is something I can’t stop contemplating
Trading is a mirror to allow me to see my inner man. When I sit down at my trade station, what ever is inside comes out whether I want it to or not.
Trading exposes an individual the way the falling into the water at high speed usually takes a bathing suit. It is sudden and mortifying. It exposes the fact that “in control” is a myth and that things can change faster than we can react to them, and then we are left swimming naked and waiting for our friends to return our suit and our dignity. Now it is true that trading will usually not cause you to look down in your chair and find your physically naked, it will however expose the inner most flaws of a persons belief about life and money. I have known this for years but choose to ignore it thinking the opposite, that changing the way I traded would change the inside. Its a fundamentally misguided notion.
And that is why I refer to trading as a mirror
What does a mirror do? It gives direct, instant feedback on how something actually is. It has no bias or preconceived opinion of what is standing in front of it (unless its a carnival mirror and I hate those). To try and make myself a better trader by “figuring out my charts better” is to attempt to manipulate that image reflected is to stand in front of my bathroom mirror in the morning and draw hair on my head where it is missing or paint out the places where I see imperfections so that I can walk up to that mirror every day to stand in the exact same place and not have to face the reality of the situation which is: change is hard, but the only true way to make things better. I can attempt to contort the mirror so as to see what I want to see, I can hate the mirror and walk away from it or even break it so I never have to look at it again but it doesn’t fix the problem, I am over weight and bald.
So what is this? Its a transfer of risk. Studying ways to make changes to the mirror: what kind of paint sticks to a mirror without coming off? How do I make sure that I stand in the same place every day so as not to have to look at my problem areas? All of these actions transfer energy away from the where is should be. It’s not the mirrors fault I’m fat and bald, IT’S MINE! The mirror is just going to show me what is actually going on. My trade station is not the problem, how I view money and process is.
What is the proper function of a mirror?
Instead of drawing on the mirror to hide things, or in my case, trading to change my life, maybe the mirror is simply to expose those these things and it is then my responsibility to figure out ways to change them, and then come back to that mirror periodically to get a progress report. Am I getting stronger? Am I losing weight? (Kind of just screwed on the hair thing) In trading, am I being more consistent and controlled and paying attention to my probabilities more than the need to be right?
My Real Question
What do I want? That is a tough question to answer for me. Three years ago, there was only one thing I wanted: to be a full time trader. I wanted to get the charts to do something magical and then find a way to be proud of it. What do I want? I find myself asking a different kind of question these days through: whats inside that is using trading as it’s mirror? Self Control? Persistent Adherence to Process? Learning the ability to commit and stay in a fight to win a battle? Something is trying to gain strength, time will tell what it will become but remember, trading is just the mirror. That means there is something more.