There is one thing in trading that is more valuable than strategy, more valuable than capital and even more valuable than timing.
It is in fact the very same thing that is most valuable in our modern life.
In 1985 Neil Postman published what is undoubtedly the most prophetic book of our times - Amusing Ourselves to Death - in which he claimed that we were entering the modern age version of the tail end of the Roman Empire when bread and circuses were the only things that occupied the public imagination.
Anyone who has lived through the past few decades - nay the past few years - would be hard pressed to disagree with that assessment of modern life.
When was the last time you read a novel?
When was the last time you watched a serious film?
Hell when was the last time you went 24 hours without looking at your phone?
In the age of Twitter and TikTok I haven’t even watched a full TV series in more than a year. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that my attention span has been irreparably fractured by modern technology and in our get-attention-at-any-cost economy the single most important value is not money but focus.
I’ll be the first to admit that regaining mental focus is an extremely difficult thing to do, which is why I decided to look for guidance from the birthplace of our civilization - ancient Greece.
Pythagoras, postulated that the meaning behind numbers was deeply significant. The number three for example was considered to be perfect. It was the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding. It captured perfectly the essence of time – past, present, future; birth, life, death.
Aristotle's concept of Beginning, Middle and End remains the fundamental structure of all storytelling from scenes to sequences, subplots to the entire screenplay. These three movements are innate to narrative and the principles are as true today as they were at the time of Sophocles.
Once you start to look for it you realize that the number three is everywhere.
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” -Jefferson
“We cannot desecrate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground,” - Lincoln
“Friends, Romans, countrymen” - Shakespeare.
So I decided to implement the power of three in my own very mundane fashion. Since these days I look at life mostly through the prism of the quote screen I decided to adapt the power of three to my day trading to help me clear my mind and regain focus. Last week I told everyone in my room that no matter how tempting, no matter how obvious, no matter how easy it looked we would never carry more than three positions at once.
In the past we would often dive into a myriad of trades at the start of the New York open and it often turned into a clusterf-k of gargantuan proportions. This week however, trading has not only been superb but far cleaner, easier and more accurate. Reducing my activity to three positions not only helped me focus, but improved my trade selection, my timing and my execution.
The whole process made me think of a Scott Galloway quote who noted that the reason Apple became the most profitable retail operation ever was because they spend more time on thinking what they would eliminate from their stores than what they would put in.
In our modern era of limitless supply where every need no matter how obscure or frivolous is satisfied instantly, where the claim on our attention is insatiable, curation and focus are the real keys to success. To help us achieve that we can turn to the ancient Greeks who long ago understood that simplicity is the greatest luxury of all.
Happy New Year Everyone!
What an amazing live trading session to start 2022
We made money in Dow, Nasdaq, Bitcoin and Oil.
Past performance is not indicative of future results. Trading forex carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to trade any such leveraged products you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with trading on margin, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.