This new years celebration is bringing that weird, tingly sensation that something is actually changing in the world. I can’t explain it, but it’s palpable. A lightness and freshness in an air space that used to be filled with doubt and reaching, lack and want.
Something is changing…
That’s exactly what this whole “plateau journey” is about right? Long periods of time where change and growth is almost completely not perceptible, where every meaningless task and thought and step seems to lack the steadfastness that we hoped it would bring when we planned it. But again, that’s the plateau journey. Not every event needs to shake the foundations of our lives and not every win needs to be the last. It’s just another step.
It makes me think of one of the greatest plateau stories I know of: Chinese bamboo.
Unlike most other plants, Chinese bamboo is quite unique on its own. When this bamboo is planted, watered, and nurtured for the whole growing season, it does not outwardly develop even just for an inch. Then, on the next growing season, the farmer must continue to irrigate, fertilize and care for the bamboo tree and yet nothing happens – it fails to sprout just the same.
And as the seasons go in and out, the farmer has to continue caring for the bamboo for four consecutive years. What could really be discouraging is the farmer has nothing substantial to demonstrate for all of his labor in caring and growing the tree. Four lonely years of hard work and caring and yet you have nothing!
And then on the fifth year, something so amazing and incredible Happens!
All the hard work seems to be paid off on the fifth year because that Chinese bamboo tree seed at last grows and not just growing as we normally see with other plants. The bamboo tree shoots up to more than 80 feet all in just one growing season!
The plateau changes us. It causes our growth even when we think that it is doing nothing but holding us back. “Why can’t I just do this?” “Why can’t I just get it and move on and walk into my season as a success?” The question haunts us for so long.
And then, in the fifth year, it happens. Maybe you have been working ten years. Maybe it’s been 3 and your tired and don’t want to continue to water that stupid seed you planted, but you have to, because the growth will be very much worth it.
I did some unexpected reflecting last night on how things have gone and I realized something:
“Inability to let go of the initial euphoria of an endeavor will only hold you back from actually accomplishing what ever it is you set out to accomplish.”
Without meaning to, I stumbled across some of the material that first got me into currency trading last night. And this wave hit me. Remembering how excited I was to open the charts and the pure exhilaration that came from the idea that this could be a job. I looked at my first charts and the first time I actually understood the idea of a trading system. I ended up thinking back to conversations with trader friends and other great moments along the road and I realized something.
I was kind of holding on to that amateur phase a little. I wanted the fulfillment of that euphoria, instead of letting that go and allowing what was actually happening right now, in this moment, to be the most awesome thing imaginable.
What a freeing moment. My trading doesn’t have to live up to the standards I set for it so long ago. It doesn’t have to “be” anything. It just has to be done every day. My writing has to be done everyday (ok maybe not every day but a lot of the days.) It doesn’t have to fit a mold, it just has to have a plateau. Let me say that again. Trading, writing, a job, a marriage, don’t have to “be” anything, But they MUST have their own plateau to develop them and experience them.
Happy New Year everyone.
P.S. I published a little e-book short story that is a prelude to what I am going to do this year. It’s sort of a first installment in the “Trading Plateau” series of short stories I am going to write this year.