Great Way to Approach the Markets
With a deadline for a newspaper column looming, Cosmo Fishhawk and his young nephew have this interchange:
Skyler: “Uncle Fishhawk, Why are you staring out the window? Shouldn’t you be typing?
Uncle Fishhawk: (Standing at the window and gazing out) “Typist type. Writers stare out windows.”
-- From Jeff MacNelly’s wonderful comic strip, “Shoe”
My son Josh loves Fanta orange soda. Now, I know we all have our opinions about sugar and such; however, he’s 15, cranks out straight As and has a lean golfer’s build. So his indulging in a tasty (if nutritionally bankrupt) treat every now and again is just fine by me.
I was picking up some fresh asparagus at the store this afternoon along with some mint and basil. Now before you go all “ooh and ah” on me, I’ll confess that the basil largely will be blended up to make basil butter for the grilled lobster tomorrow night. And the mint will face death by mortar and pestle before joining the lime, simple syrup, club soda and light rum in pre-meal mojitos. Yet I digress.
While heading to the checkout lane, I saw that Josh’s favorite Fanta was on sale, so I decided to grab him a carton. And when I bent down to pick it up, the sharp corner gave me a deep little cut right across the pad of my middle finger. Ouch! And, oh boy, I still had an article to write.
It turns out that the whole episode was a blessing in a disguise.
Instead of sitting down and pounding out an article based on this week’s reading and research, I sat down and wondered how I was going to type with a very important digit stinging like a son of a gun.
And those wonderings turned into contemplation, a lot of looking outside at 18 inches of day old snow on the ground here in Delaware, and some looking though soft focused eyes at the Christmas décor of the Barton house. And ultimately, like Professor Fishhawk, I decided that instead of typing an article, I would do a little writing. And I stumbled upon a trading truth or two along the way.
I look out my office door and see a little Christmas village on top of some shelving. Building these little villages was one of Mom’s favorite parts about Christmas. Her attention to detail and the joy that she received from describing those scenes to all the kids that visited the house made it hard to tell the difference between the grandma and the kids she was talking to. I, too, like looking at the Christmas villages, but I’m not so keen on the tedium of setting them up or taking them down. And for that reason we haven’t set up our little village for the last few years. Life seemed just too busy.
As some of you know, earlier this year, my Mom passed on to be with the Lord that she celebrated with such joy, especially in this season. And you won’t be surprised to hear that I shed more than a tear or two when I decided to put our little village up again this year.
As I look on this little village now, I’m filled with gratitude. I’m thankful that this year was full of making new friends and re-connecting with old ones. I’m grateful that I understand the simple joy that Mom shared with so many others by serving, and I’m grateful that this joy has found a home anew in me.
That little village recalls a simpler time. There’s a small dime store on Main Street like the one my Grandpa owned for five decades. Kids play in the snow with their friends. And neighbors actually take the time to visit each other and to share a hot drink and a kind word.
But for all of us, today is as simple and gentle and full of gratitude as we choose to make it. When economic times are tough, we don’t have to be get caught up in the negativism, whether in our own lives or in the news stories. Instead, we can choose to turn our attention outward and be of service to others. I have found it impossible to have a pity party for myself when helping out someone else.
And what about trading? Gratitude is a most useful state to use to approach trading and investing. And if you throw in a bit of joy, you can crowd out so many harmful emotions and mental states.
As a matter of fact, Van think it's so important he's
added it to the Top Task of Trading.
Here are some good year-end questions:
How did you approach your trading and investing in 2009?
anger, anxiety and stress? Or resourcefulness, gratitude and joy?
If you didn’t use an optimal approach, forgive yourself and move on. The next trade or investment is the only one you can influence now.
Most importantly, how would you like to approach your trading next year?
What mental states will you access at the beginning of each trade to give yourself the best edge possible?
Start your trading process with gratitude and see how your trading changes!
The Barton family is getting ready for a full-on celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Whatever traditions you celebrate in this time, we hope that you experience the love and joy of the season. Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year to all!
Great Trading, D. R.
D.R. Barton, Jr.: A
passion for the systematic approach to the markets and
lifelong love of teaching and learning have propelled D.R.
Barton, Jr. to the top of the investment and trading
arena. He is a regularly featured guest on both Report
on Business TV, and
WTOP News Radio in Washington, D.C., and has been a guest
on Bloomberg Radio. His
articles have appeared on SmartMoney.com and Financial
Advisor magazine. You may contact D.R. at
"drbarton" at "iitm.com".