Think Like A Trader Blog

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Take a Break

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Hello Traders.

It’s Sunday and I am sitting in a café drinking a latte for this blog post. I had my laptop open and was ready to load up the charts and start working through my zone creation process for next month when I decided to instead order another coffee and write this post.

As traders, or as you put your efforts into anything you find you are passionate about, it is very important to find the right ‘balance’ between work and rest. The common belief is that the more you work at something, the faster you will achieve the desired results. Now I agree with that statement, but only up to a certain point.

I learned long ago that if you do nothing but work toward your goal, your actions can have exactly the opposite impact than that which you desired. You can end up burning yourself out and holding yourself back. I see people doing this all the time, filling my email inbox most weeks, mixing up what they are doing and thinking it is simply ‘passion’ that is driving them.

What can make it even worse is that when you get into that approach, with the head down and steaming ahead, smashing obstacles out of the way, is that when the results don’t seem to be coming as fast as you would like, you start to think that you are somehow failing and need to work even harder.

The result is an obsession, a single-minded drive that is in fact very damaging to your efforts. When I really started to turn it around with trading, it was after I forced myself to take an extended break. I was a wreck by then, living and breathing charts. And worse than that, I was miserable and had lost the main reason behind why I wanted to trade – because I enjoyed it. I was turning a real passion into a laborious, horrible experience that I forced myself to power through.

This can infect every aspect of your life. When you get into that mind-set that only ‘more’ will suffice, that you are failing because you aren’t working hard enough, it starts to bubble over into everyday life. Relationships begin to suffer and the whole experience of going through your days can become a chore.

It reminds me of the cartoon memes you often see online, of the person chasing a stack of cash like the donkey chasing the carrot, always just out of reach. They chase it throughout their life, growing steadily older, before at the very end, dropping into a grave.

There needs to be a healthy balance between work and rest. Especially with trading, where there really is a limitless supply of ideas and data you can pour over. Where the insight that can really make the difference can be introspective and so people begin to ‘attack’ meditation and healthy living techniques, trying to wrestle through sheer muscle the desired effects.

It doesn’t work, and that is the truth.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard. This isn’t the blog and I am not the person if you are looking to feed the seed of laziness. Quite the opposite – I am one of those people who believe the saying that when someone calls you lucky, you state, ‘it’s funny, the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get.’

But, there needs to be balance. It shouldn’t consume your entire being. Lift your head and look around. Spend time on the sofa and with the people you care about. Feed the mind with the stuff that makes it tick along. Let it rest. Because it is like any engine out there – if you run it at full speed without any breaks, it will break down. And if it breaks down, it is a lot harder to put it back together again.

When you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall and your head is about ready to crack open, instead of resetting your determination and putting your head down ready for the next charge, try taking a break. I assure you that in most cases, it will do you a lot more good than that extra headlong charge into the brick wall.

I hope you’re all having a great Easter weekend!

James Orr

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