The hard work in trading comes in the preparation. The actual process of trading, however, should be effortless.
In this quote, Jack Schwager, author of the best-selling book series Market Wizards, suggests that traders should devise an action plan before market-open; before they become subject to wild emotional swings and short-sightedness. During the trading session, traders should focus on executing their plan; hence, the act of trading should be effortless.
Trading – A Spiritual Path
Trading is, at its core, a spiritual path. That’s my opinion. Now, before you roll your eyes, please hear me out.
Trading is one of the hardest paths out there. It will confront you with everything about you –the good and the not-so-good. Your past trauma will rise to the surface. Your compulsions will fulminate. Your resilience will be tested. Your beliefs will be tested. Heck, your sanity as well.
What makes trading such a challenge is uncertainty. It’s hard for our psychology, neurobiology, and mammalian/reptilian wiring to accept that uncertainty and flow with it.
On the surface, trading and spirituality may seem like two completely unrelated concepts, but upon inspection, one can only notice that they both involve this idea of uncertainty, and they both offer us an opportunity to accept it and flow with it.
What’s more, at the heart of spirituality is the idea that we are all interconnected in some fundamental way, and that everything is part of a greater, mysterious, and incomprehensible whole. This concept can also be applied to trading. When we buy or sell a financial asset, we are not just interacting with the market but with other traders, institutions, and even governments. The decisions we make can have ripple effects that go far beyond yourselves and our lives.
Furthermore, trading requires a certain level of detachment from one’s emotions. Successful traders must be able to remain calm and rational in the face of market volatility, uncertainty, short-term profits, and short-term losses. This level of emotional control is something that many spiritual practices aim to cultivate.
So, trading is really at its core a spiritual path. It can be a vehicle for personal growth, self-discovery, and self-actualization. And this process of self-improvement is not unlike the spiritual path of many traditions. In both cases, there is a focus on personal growth, self-awareness, and the cultivation of wisdom.
Of course, it’s important to note that not all traders view trading through a spiritual lens. There are plenty of traders who are solely focused on making money, and that’s perfectly fine.
I’m aware of how eccentric and goofy this “trading is a spiritual path” claim may sound to these folks. But look at the most successful traders out there. They all have an empowering philosophy. They all trust in something bigger than themselves and seek to align their trading philosophy and purpose with it. I’m talking about Paul Tudor Jones, Ray Dalio… even Warren Buffet who is famously agnostic has an empowering philosophy based on the cause-and-effect of all things.
In conclusion, trading requires emotional control, resilience, and the ability to accept uncertainty – traits that are also cultivated in many spiritual practices. Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Atheist, if you can learn to look at trading not as a mindless means of making money but as a journey of personal growth, self-discovery, and self-actualization, I believe this can greatly enhance progress, performance, and fulfillment.