An insane passion for trading

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Over at Daily Speculations, Russell Sears comments that: 

“Often the line between insanity and passion is when the effort and work becomes the goal instead of the outcome.”

Mr Sears uses the example of distance runners: “…they often become obsessed with “mileage” and have to run so much per day or week regardless of physical condition. Ron Hill, was the prime example of this. He was a British marathoner who never really achieved his best, and his obsession to mileage cause a very up and down career. Now rather than his performances, he is best known for having the longest documented running streak for consecutive days. Running through sickness, car accidents, even knee surgery, hobbled on crutches for 2 miles.

Again the obvious connection to overtraining and over trading. Learn to rest and recover.”

His example underscores the importance of not losing track of the bigger picture. Nevertheless, I believe the inverse is more often the case for traders, that passions mutate into insanities when traders become overly focused on the end goal (their account balance) instead of directing their attentions to the effort and work required to develop their trading approach (the ‘process’ or ‘journey’). I realise trading boils down to the ‘number’ and this is what matters most at the end of the day, but I believe obsessing about the ‘number’ is not productive in the least.

Okay, I admit I can’t help obsessing about the ‘number’. I think about it way too much; before I sleep, even in the advertisement breaks between tv programmes. But I know it this not productive and I am trying to actively block these thoughts. Most importantly, when I sit at my desk, the ‘number’ becomes a minority concern. When I am trading I am thinking of of ways of how to maximise returns (in percentage terms) for a given unit of risk, but for me at least, this slightly more abstract approach is a world apart from thinking about the ‘number’.    

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