What we see depends mainly on what we look for - JOHN LUBBOCK
In his book The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama notes a Greek fable on perspective.
Once there was a disciple of a Greek Philosopher who was commanded by his master for three years to give money to everyone who insulted him. When this period of trial was over the master said to him, “Now you can go to Athens and learn wisdom.”
When the disciple was entering Athens, he met a certain wise man who sat at the gate insulting everybody who came and went. He also insulted the disciple, who burst out laughing.
“Why do you laugh when I insult you,” said the wise man.
“Because,” said the disciple, “for three years I have been paying for this kind of thing and now you give it to me for nothing.”
“Enter the city,” said the wise man, “it is all yours.”
If we want to own the city, we have to learn how to change our outlook at will. The ability to change our perspective, viewing our problems from different angles, requires that we keep an open, compliant mind. It also takes practice.
The Dali Lama said, “Generally speaking, once you’re in a difficult situation, it isn’t possible to change your attitude simply by adopting a particular thought once or twice. Rather it’s a process of learning, training, and getting used to new viewpoints that enables you to deal with the difficulty.”
If you are in a trading slump it pays to look at the situation from different angles. You have to train yourself to focus on the positive aspects through knowledge and practice. For example, by being educated about the previous magnitudes and durations of your draw downs you could conclude “Hey, I should be looking forward to a prosperous period soon,” instead of, “Boy I can’t do anything right.”
In a trading world that is characterized by unexpected events, we will see volatility and sloppy periods of trading. So, let’s expect that. Let’s swallow that fact and not be surprised when it happens. We know no one trades without draw down periods, so let’s educate ourselves to what these periods have looked like in the past. By adopting the process of changing perspective we will be in better shape to maintain our composure in the stormy times, and stay focused on the long term.
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