Economist John Kay starts the new year with an insightful article on how we crave heroism in the face of danger, when the wisest course is often to avoid said danger in the first place.
Reading Kay’s article, I was reminded by the Bruce Lee quote of ‘fighting without fighting’: throwing this quote into Google brings up an interesting pdf book by the ‘American Hunt Saboteurs Association’ (wisdom really can be found in all corners). In the book, the author comments:
Why have I written this book? Why have I written a book about the art of fighting without fighting when my claim to fame is probably the fact that I have been in over 300 street fights, where I used a physical response to neutralise my enemy. Why write a book about avoidance when it is obviously so simple to finish a fight with the use of a physical attack? Indeed why write it when my whole reputation as a realist, as a martial arts cross trainer, as a blood and snot mat man may be risked by the endeavor? The reason is simple: violence is not the answer! It may solve some of the problems in the short term but it will create a lot more in the long term.
Discussing ‘avoidance’, the author says:
Avoidance is being aware, understanding the enemy, understanding yourself and understanding your environment. If you are training in a martial art, then avoidance is understanding that art and whether it will stand up to the threat of a real encounter. More than anything, avoidance is having enough control over yourself, your ego, your pride, peer pressure, morality etc. to stop these negative emotions from dragging you into a situation that could otherwise be avoided.
In trading, I have found it all too easy to get into fights. There is a part of me that equates speculation and risk taking with heroism in the face of danger. This is damaging to one’s long-term goals. The problem is nowhere near as self-destructive as it once was, but I am starting to view my overall trading life as a battle that I perhaps should not be fighting. Just as Tyro Trader has decided that being engaged in the continuous battle of a day trading is not for him, so I am realising that a longer term approach may be in my best interest.