We live in an increasingly disposable world.
I don’t think this is news to anyone, but the prevalence of being quick to toss objects, ideas, and even people aside is escalating. Cell phone contract is up? Toss the old, perfectly functional, yet obsolete one in the trash and get the New One. Remember when your parents worked for the same company for decades? Now five to ten years at one job is considered a stable employee. Relationship woes? The latest stats I could find were for 2011: the marriage rate was 6.8 per 1,000 total population, and the divorce rate was 3.6 per 1,000 total population. Well, that’s not good.
Now granted, phones need to be upgraded at some point to continue to function on our networks. And some people are forced out of their jobs against their will, and they don’t just quit. And yes, it’s wiser to leave a soul-crushing relationshit than stay married just for the 50th anniversary celebration cake. Word is trying to tell me that “relationshit” isn’t a word. Yes, it is.
But those conditions aside, we do tend to become easily impatient as a society. We toss our phones that lose their luster, we toss our jobs that lose their luster, and we toss our partners when they lose their luster. Try driving in Vancouver; it will turn a Benedictine monk into a screaming, foul-mouthed loon. There is a sense of “me first” oozing into our lives.
There was a study I heard about years ago (and I’m probably messing up the details, so bear with me), that traffic engineers undertook. They looked at car accidents at intersections and thought that they could solve the incidents by putting in a short delay between when the light goes red on one side, to green on the other. The delay, they reasoned, would give traffic a few extra seconds to stop completely. It didn’t work. It actually made things worse. People began to realize there was a delay, and incidents of running red lights increased, not decreased. Accidents went up, not down. In theory it made sense, but in reality, the “me first” mentality took over.
So how does this relate to trading?
For starters, trading – profitable trading – is a profession. Anyone can play golf, or play poker. But if you want to be great at golf, or poker, you need to practice. And that practice, takes Time. Time that most people I find, are simply not willing to put in. You need to make it a profession, and treat it as such, not fuck around with it for a half hour after dinner. And if you’re OK trading with mediocre results, and just enjoy trading for fun, then sure, by all means continue. As I’ve talked about before, not everyone trades to make money. But if you’re frustrated, and not getting the results you want, ask yourself, “What have I done to deserve the results I’m expecting?” Chances are, not enough.
Too often, our feelings of greed, anger and egocentric preoccupation get in the way of our trading. Look at any chat stream, and it’s there, plain as day. Probably the single biggest tool that goes into a successful trading plan is a mirror. You simply have to know yourself before you can trade.