Sign in     Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube

News and Blog

Join 5000 other sharemarket traders for regular blog updates!

Browse to a category

Blog Search

The secret to happiness? Stop trying to be happy.

A few minutes after Neil Pasricha learned his wife Leslie was expecting their first child, he got an idea for a book. They were sitting on a plane returning to Canada from a trip to Asia when a flight attendant handed them a plastic-wrapped muffin with a scrap of paper that read, “Congratulations!” Leslie had been sick toward the end of their vacation, and on a hunch she had picked up a pregnancy test during a layover—and taken it mid-flight. Pasricha’s first thought upon hearing the news: Tell someone! Hence the muffin.

His second thought would require more time and effort to materialize. Pasricha decided to write down everything he knew and was learning about how to be happy: “I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more for my child.” Almost two years later, Pasricha has finished a 275-page book called The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything. Whatever edits the copy has been through, the dedication has remained the same: “To my baby, I wanted you to have this in case I didn’t get a chance to tell you, love Dad.”

Just about every parent can relate to Pasricha’s wish for his child. His mother and father no doubt wanted the same for him. But Pasricha’s struggle to articulate what happiness is and how to achieve it has a particular resonance. This is, after all, coming from the guy who during the past decade, while working as a corporate leadership executive at Wal-Mart, started a blog, 1000AwesomeThings.com, which turned into the bestselling The Book of Awesome, an ode to everyday pleasures, which was spun off into three more Awesome books (plus a journal and five calendars), a popular TED talk and hundreds of other speaking engagements around the world.

Stratospheric professional success aside, Pasricha, 36, has much to be happy about: he owns a home in Toronto, has a loving wife, a young son and now a second baby on the way. Despite all of these accomplishments, and even the wisdom Pasricha imparts in his books, finding happiness has turned out to be as much a maze as a marathon for him. “I don’t feel like I’ve achieved any next-level enlightenment or nirvana,” he says. “I have intense daily, weekly and monthly net struggles.” Especially around how to juggle work and family time. “Dropping my son off [at daycare] and picking him up is really important to me,” says Pasricha, as an example of one thing that’s come under threat. “Seventy-hour weeks in an office [mean] no more breakfasts with my son.” So he recently did what many people who are similarly stretched often fantasize about. Pasricha quit his job at Wal-Mart with one plan in mind: “I’m actually right now in the throes of dedicating myself more fully to happiness.”

More here – Macleans

Playing Versus Doing

A mate of mine sent me the clip below. I am an unabashed fan of combat sports. I accept that they are violent in tone and to the outsider appear brutal with potentially devastating long term consequences for the participants. Anyone who has ever been hit in the head can attest to how awful it is.

The reason I like such sports is that you do not play them – you may practice them but you can never play at them. The consequences for doing so are serious. Unfortunately, too many people take the attitude that you can play at trading and in fact this is the motivation of most. The lives of the majority of traders are spent playing at the fringes of trading, they become experts in various bits of software and spend countless hours on various forums talking up their game without actually doing anything.  I accept that perceived as being in the action is important to most and the research around this topic confirms this. Being seen as a player is more important than actually making money.

I understand that people approach various endevours with differing motivations and desires. However, some arenas dont really allow for these differences simply on the basis of the consequences that follow. To my way of thinking the market assumes that everyone is serious in what they are doing because it takes money equally from everybody – it just takes more than money from those who are not serious.

Are market bubbles caused by traders’ testosterone levels?

Research conducted at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has determined that psychological momentum significantly affects performance among men but not among women, which may account for exaggerated risk-taking in financial and business endeavors among males.

Psychological momentum is defined as a state-of-mind where an individual or a team feels things are going unstoppably their way and is known to be caused, among other factors, by shifts in testosterone levels. The study, “Psychological Momentum and Gender,” is published in the March volume of the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

According to Dr. Danny Cohen-Zada, a lecturer in the BGU Department of Economics, “The purpose of our study was twofold: to estimate the causal effect of psychological momentum on performance in real tournament settings, and to examine whether there are any gender differences in the corresponding response.”

More here – Eureka Alert

Success

When I first went to university the initial week was filled with the usual getting to know the lay of the land such as how the library works (in a surprisingly mysterious way I might add), where various labs where and what the protocol for various subjects was. One of the most striking events was an orientation lecture we had in one subject. The lecturer who went onto to be one of my favourites because he knew his stuff, was blunt in his delivery and told students the truth. The last one of these characteristics would now not be tolerated because apparently telling students that they failed because they didn’t get off their arses would now be considered bullying or some form of oppression or would require the student to curl up in a foetal position in one of their safe spaces.

He opined that the easiest way to survive first year was to turn up and do the work – if you did that then the chances were pretty good that you would get through. Do a bit more than that and you would do well. This must have been a friggen revelation to a large proportion of my year because over half failed the year.  Much to their surprise simply hanging around the university cafe and the pub across the road did not magically allow the collective wisdom of those at the university to seep into their brains as if by a process of osmosis.

The reason for me reminiscing about events locked in my dim dark past is simple – this pattern of laziness repeats itself year after year, decade after decade in people and people still wonder why their lives are like they are. Let me give you an example that is close to home. During our Mentor Program we generate a lot of content, each step of the course is mapped out to the day in such a way as to take someone from being a complete novice in the market to a competent trader at the end of six months. In effect, we make a pact with those doing the course, we will tell you everything we know with nothing held back and you commit to putting the time in to absorb what you are being told. To my way of thinking it is a fair deal besides you have paid for it so that should be sufficient motivation to put some effort in.

Intriguingly some –  many believe that simply looking at the notes occasionally and not putting in any effort at all will somehow translate into success. We are now several weeks into the course and there are attendees who have logged in twice. Yet I can imagine that they are completely surprised at their inability to master the most basic of trading concepts. Or that they have not instantly be transmuted into billionaires via some alchemic process.

Central to all of this is the notion of how success in any arena is achieved. It should not be surprising that to achieve anything in any field you choose requires a certain amount of commitment and toil – this is simply the nature of the universe. Think of success as a natural system, it requires the addition of energy to keep it viable. If the system is not constantly restocked with effort, then eventually it will collapse. Yet, this lesson is lost on so many people who assume that either simply paying for something (think gym membership that is never used) or paying lip service and offering the usual platitudes will assist in mastering a task or achieving a goal.

Harking back to my early days in first year there was one thing that was almost universal in those that failed. It was always someone else’s fault and that seems to be something that is universe among those that do not put in the effort.

A Rule For System Design

Systems

Bias

One of the interesting things about trading is its inherent simplicity – you simply have to have some form of mechanism for gauging what the current bias of market participants is. They are either predominantly bullish or bearish – once you work that out the rest is padding to make yourself feel clever. However, there is a subtle second layer to this notion of bias and that is that we view the world through the prism of our own experience, we filter everything we see through the lens of our personality and out past. As an example consider the two charts below.

bias

When I was scanning through the small universe of FX pairs that I trade I noticed the first chart and filed the set up away in my brain – the second chart I discarded. Here’s the rub – they are the same chart just inverted. The second chart is the inverse or flip of the first, it is just my bias for liking to short things had created a blind spot in my analysis and I didn’t notice it until I was going through my universe on a second pass and it dawned on me what I had done subconsciously.

As always the battle is not with the market but with yourself.

THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A FUCK

In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And those fucks I have not given have made all the difference.

People often say the key to confidence and success in life is to simply “not give a fuck.” Indeed, we often refer to the strongest, most admirable people we know in terms of their lack of fucks given. Like “Oh, look at Susie working weekends again, she doesn’t give a fuck.” Or “Did you hear that Tom called the company president an asshole and still got a raise anyway? Holy shit, that dude does not give a fuck.” Or “Jason got up and ended his date with Cindy after 20 minutes. He said he wasn’t going to listen to her bullshit anymore. Man, that guy does not give a fuck.”

Chances are you know somebody in your life who, at one time or another, did not give a fuck and went on to accomplish amazing feats. Perhaps there was a time in your life where you simply did not give a fuck and excelled to some extraordinary heights. I know for myself, quitting my day job in finance after only six weeks and telling my boss that I was going to start selling dating advice online ranks pretty high up there in my own “didn’t give a fuck” hall of fame. Same with deciding to sell most of my possessions and move to South America. Fucks given? None. Just went and did it.

More here – Mark Manson

PS: Couldn’t resist this getting another run……

General Advice Warning

The Trading Game Pty Ltd (ACN: 099 576 253) is an AFSL holder (Licence no: 468163). This information is correct at the time of publishing and may not be reproduced without formal permission. It is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any of the information you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.