Monday, August 9, 2010

Emotions, style and substance...

I spent the weekend working on a film project that is centered around a lot of the issues that people fight with everyday - especially in the markets. I thought I would take some time to discuss a few things in some more detail.

Firstly, I would like to say that I believe that when one is looking for something they are rarely likely to find it. The trick is being able to recognize things when they are happening. The irony is that what this means is that the hardest parts of being a living breathing human being get challenged by our incessant need to do something whether it is worthwhile or not. I make it a point, especially in my software development work never to feel too connected with any concept or achievement or lack thereof.  I look at it like "I was lucky to be there when it happened" - this view has done wonders and keeps me open for the next opportunities/possibilities.

The reality is we are only important if we recognize how unimportant we really are. The whole thing is completely arbitrary...just like the money system or the financial system as a whole. No matter how people try to explain how concrete the system is...the system is arbitrary. Arbitrary, however, does not mean, not challenging, interesting, beautiful, disgusting, important, significant, worthwhile, powerful, empowering or disastrous. Of course, we know that life, people and markets are all of those things at different times. What it does mean, is that the best way to view and interact with things is with a sense of play. To celebrate the experiences that we get. Our choice is how we react and in that lies the balance. Authenticity requires that our reactions be sincere and committed - balanced. This is what this post is about. And I think its especially important, given where we may be heading. Trading requires these things too... Real experience is a counterpoint.

While its our nature is to hoard, to protect or to feel that we have to covet things which we have achieved, built or think we must leverage, I can tell you from experience that those attitudes have not contributed positively to my life. They do not work for successful musical/creative exploration, performance or composition either. In order to be perceptive, we need to be without expectation. In order to act with decisiveness we need to be at one with the moment and our perceptions of them. These are not things that come naturally. As a musician, they don't and it is interesting that in this little film project called "3 seconds" they didn't come naturally either. But if one obsesses over the struggle they are not participating in the experience, but rather another experience. its subtle but its true. The experience leads you to the result you are in need of having.

Though, I try to have high expectations of myself, as it were, this "3 seconds" film project I worked on with Douglass (my partner in MQ38Advisors) is a classic example of perception, reaction and "embracing the travels not the road" attitude can have on naturally connecting us to where we need to go. (Yes this diatribe does have to do with markets...I am getting there) 

We participated in a 48 hour film festival. This means that the crazy people who came up with the festival/competition and the even more crazy people who participate in it, receive a "genre,  prop, some phrases and a character" on friday at 7:30 and are supposed to come back with a completed film using those parameters by Sunday at 7:30. I can remember many times in the past, I would have stressed out over everything and completed the project feeling incomplete and unsatisfied. That would be the natural result, ironically, of having artificial or contrived expectations. The trick is to have as few expectations as possible and as much character and sensitivity as possible. A few properly focused decisions can go a long way towards moving things in the right direction for us mortals. And who needs to be perfect anyway.

This is where this gets back to trading. We completed the project early. I still went on my Sunday walk with Moca and Claudia, did some programming on Saturday and went to lunch with Douglass. I was stressed for about 2 hours over the I believe Douglass was at 2 am last night. If you ask me about my perceptions or Douglass's for that matter at these times, I can guarantee those perceptions were totally wrong headed and ego based. Today we got together had lunch relaxed and popped out the final effort on "3 seconds". I think is a good result...and mostly it is what it is and will lead to another experience or opportunity. I have to tell you, I was amazed that Douglass (et-al) was sitting at this nice italian place for lunch when we were supposed to be going nuts trying to get all sorts of last minute "building of Rome" done. But that's where I, realize just how good it is to have good influences. Douglass's attitude celebrates the moment we are in not the one that could be or has already happened. We can not force something to become something that it is not. We can not even force something to be what it is. We just have to have experience, play and celebrate - every reaction we have, every perception we have and every choice we make is a reflection of a very simple and arbitrary reality. It is what we make of it. We can choose to be successful, by not fearing failure. We can choose to be strong by knowing weakness. We can choose to remain confident and powerful by recognizing insecurity and helplessness. We can make good trades by being comfortable with the bad ones.

How this plays out is that in my work with systems, I give away profits, do not need to get all the big trades. I hedge risks even if, as a person, it would feel better to hold on and be right. Ironically, to become wealthy, I think you need to share your opportunity and let others help you to grow your wealth. In the markets its the same thing, in order to make real money, I think you need to be willing to give away or up money that you think you need to keep or can make. The thing about not having expectations is that you can let things go where they need to go - profit or loss - without getting your perceptions into a distorted untrustable place and thus remain decisive and clear. Greed is indeed a very dangerous motivator...humility is much more constructive. We spend far too much time thinking about making money and that is not the objective of the markets! Think about it...they are really not about money at all.
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