Saturday, October 14, 2006
:: From the Archive: Chick Sent Me High "in the Zone"
The entry Chick Sent Me High: Trading "in the Zone"
was posted over at my actio-et-reactio site in April 2005, just before I created this page to better focus on "inner" issues. "Chick Sent me High" is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, whose work on Flow
has earned him much acclaim, including a Wiki entry
Although you'll see various lists of how to recognize "flow", I found the list Brett Steenberger adapted for his article Find the Zone
(Word document) the most concise and observable:
- There are clear goals every step of the way;
- There is immediate feedback to one's actions;
- There is a balance between challenge and skills;
- Action and awareness are merged;
- Distractions are excluded from consciousness;
- There is no worry of failure;
- Self-consciousness disappears;
- The sense of time becomes distorted;
- The activity becomes autotelic (pleasurable in its own right).
The very first characteristic is not only observable, but actionable. Setting goals must, however, be kept bite-sized so as not to overwhelm or discourage, and conversely, not so tiny that the monitoring of them becomes the task. Another word for goal would be "trading plan", that grouping of patterns, setups, and risk control items that you must have before and after each trade, at the end of the trading day, and for periodic assessment.
I spent a good bit of time today at Brett Steenberger's site
, reading his many articles on trading and trading psychology. What a wealth of knowledge he shares! There surely is something for everyone, something perhaps even for what is needed right now
Labels: attitude, history, trading
Saturday, September 23, 2006
:: Autumnal Equinox :: Lunar New Years
I hope you've discovered Wikipedia, a sort of Every Man's, er, Every Person's.. Encyclopedia. While its creators and contributors might not agree, perhaps its greatest value is the immediacy of information. In a flash, an article on the autumnal equinox
is at hand. I would agree that Wikipedia's leap of imagination this: a collaborative self-balancing mechanism for information: outrageously biased or misinformed entries are challenged and edited, and depth is added where new discoveries refine older consensus.
equinox: the equinoxes are the two days each year when the center of the Sun spends an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on Earth
So if the Equinox is about the sun, how does the moon relate to the Autumnal Equinox? Calendar historians probably could answer this with far more accuracy, and precision. But the simple answer is that linking a great solar event with its nearest important lunar event is just a natural affinity. Moon/Sun, Sun/Moon, what's so complicated?
Friday marked Rosh ha-Shanah, the first day of the seventh
month, called Tishrei in the Jewish calendar, the new year
5767 in the Jewish calendar. It is, according to the Talmud, the day man was created. It is the Day of Judgement, for which the faithful have prepared during the preceding month of Elul, the last month of the year. This first day of man's new year is a call to go within and clarify what is of genuine importance in life.
Islam too marks Rash Hasana, the first lunar day of the ninth
month in the Hijri (Islamic) calendar, better known as Ramadan
. A central event of Ramadan is fasting, "... said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm", per the Wikipedia entry. Here is a wonderful collection of Ramadan inspired photos on flickr
Christianity has, curiously, sidestepped this particular transformational time, having left St. Matthew as the lone guardian of 21 September, and instead making inner contemplation a focus during the Easter Tide, the Resurrection of Christ, both calendrically linked to the first Spring Moon (and Vernal Equinox). All Hallow's Eve seems to stand out as the most prominent autumnal festival.
I find a curious affinity with this Western ghostly period and that of a number of Eastern autumn festivals also centered around ghosts, the most prominent being O-Higan in Japan, celebrated at the first new moon near the Autumnal Equinox, and Ghost Month during the seventh lunar month in the Chinese tradition. Both share similar roots: the idea that the doors to the underworld are opened and ghosts wander the land, In Japan, this time is used to revere ancestors, while in China, much is made of providing these ghosts food
and lucre (hell money
In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition O-Higan
is a time of inner reflection on right-living, thereby coming full circle to the precepts of Rosh ha-Shanah and Ramadan. Right-Living is best represented by the Six Paramitas
"Paramita is a Sanskrit word, which means to cross over to the other shore. It implies crossing over from the Sea of suffering to the Shore of happiness, from the Samsara of birth and death to Nirvana and from ignorance to enlightenment."
Labels: attitude, history, moon
Friday, April 07, 2006
:: Color: Daily OM and Pixy.cz
From DailyOM - Your Life's Palette
When we enter a room or see an object for the first time, our minds register its color before any other detail. The colors our eyes can perceive are like words that form a subtle language of mood, energy, and insight. Color can exert a gentle effect on the mind and the body, influencing our dispositions and our physical health. Color has the ability to trigger our emotions, affect the way we think and act, and influence our attitudes. You unconsciously respond to the color of the walls in your home, your car, your clothing, and the food you eat based on your body's natural reactions to certain colors and the psychological associations you have formed around them. The consequences of the decision to paint a room or wear a specific article of clothing therefore goes beyond aesthetics. [read more]
Once you've seen my charts, you know I use a double-box of Crayola crayons. I enjoy tinkering with my charting color schemes and aside from using green/blue hues for rising and red/black for falling, I'll let my intuition be my guide.
However, there are some wonderful tools on the web that are really the bee's knees for learning to better control your color palette. My absolute favorite, and recommended for anyone who likes color, and partiuclarly if you plan to code colors into your web pages, is pixy.cz's wellstyled.com Color Scheme Generator
. You start with a "Default" set of blocks, then select a general color hue, and that's where the real fun begins. Having done that, you then can choose chromatically correct schemes based on a single color (monochromatic) up to four colors (Tetradic or Analogic), with sliders that allow you to adjust the color "angle".
And that's not all! Having done that, you then can see that same scheme as the Default, light and dark pastels, high or low contrast. Wowsery WOW. An orgy of color.
This isn't, of course, limited to use for web developing. You can try out different schemes and gauge your reaction to them, allowing you to better understand your own "color moods".
Labels: attitude, computers
Saturday, December 24, 2005
:: flickr fooey and flickr fun
I tried a flickr "badge" on the right side of this page, but golly, it sure took a while for the code to resolve and images transmit. So, I've removed it and replaced it with links to two of my favorite flickr sites. flickr itself is typically fast, but for some reason, the badge thing was hanging my page dreadfully.
The links to the right are photoblogs, but there are a number of wonderful photographers, and groups of shutterbugs, at flickr whose images you can see presented as slideshows. Here are a few of my favorites: efatima
. You may need a membership to flickr
, which is free and well worth the short time it takes to set up an account. Even if you don't have images of your own to share, membership can be used to gather images of particular interest.
Labels: attitude, computers, media
Saturday, November 12, 2005
:: it's always been like that
this was written by "dougie" from another trader chat site, taken out of context, but it's a great analogy suitable for any "group think" situation.
The Primate Committee Thinking Experiment
Start with a cage containing five apes. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water. After awhile, another ape makes an attempt with the same result - all the apes are sprayed with cold water.
Now. Turn off the cold water. If, later, another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them. Next, remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape.
After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs. Why not?
Well ? got any guesses ?
"Because that's the way it's always been around here."
Sunday, July 31, 2005
A smile, directed inward, outward, or at nothing in particular brightens the world and is a gift to those who see it. The DailyOM
The very first gatha in Thich Nhat Hanh's Present Moment, Wonderful Moment
is called Waking Up
, and of this first moment of the day, he says
If you really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Your smile affirms your awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. How many days slip by in forgetfulness? What are you doing with your life? Look deeply, and smile. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
Friday, July 22, 2005
:: Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites
I couldn't resist: Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites
. If you squint just so, you can see Jade Rabbit, who of course is the versa luna patron lagomorph.
Labels: attitude, computers, moon
Thursday, July 07, 2005
:: Caveat Emptor!
I was impressed enough by MarketMonk's patter to comment on it, but please, do not take it as anything more than a suggestion for ideas on straightening up your back and putting your shoulder into your own trading "plan". I'm not a bunker in the hills for the day of reconning type, but something I hold close to my heart is self-sufficiency, particularly when it comes to decisions regarding your own welfare.
If you are at all tempted by such commentaries as MarketMonk's to hand over your hard earned loot, think twice before mailing off a letter of enquiry to a hotmail account!! ixnay, ixnay, ixnay!!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
:: A must read for traders intent on success
I must include a link to this post as part of this diary: Taking your Trading to the Next Level
. It points to a website by MarketMonk, whose shares not only glimpses into his trading views, but more importantly, the inner processes that shape and guide his actions.
"Knowing yourself" isn't the holy grail of trading. No more so than is any trading method, a job at a hedge fund, or personal training from a seasoned trader. But having come to a juncture in your life where investing in your self is a first priority, as it was for me on a day over twelve years ago, who you are is more than a job title and more than simply feeding and housing yourself. Separation of your self from what you do is no longer an option, your deeds must reflect your self, as they did before your awareness of that fact dawned on you. Living your life with kindness, courtesy, and compassion isn't a Sunday affair, it's a moment to moment living. Bringing that into your trading becomes a necessity, as important as breathing in and out.
The trick, as ever, is to close the gap ever tighter between the moments of clarity and focus and moments of past conditioning, until there is no past or future, but only the present. No easy task. Glimpses of it now and then should be treasured and remembered for times when you'll want to remind yourself to lighten up. A plan of action, instilled deeply, will bring out that which is needed to propel you forward. And as a parting comment, to confuse focus with being serious is a grave mistake, and very much a part of past conditioning. Having good fun and laughter, for me, is vital, as living isn't a dry as dust serious affair, but rather a once in a lifetime opportunity full of fizz and sparkle. Let it be so.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
:: Damaging Sound
This past week I was unusually sensitive to noise. In an unusual string of events, nearly every house in the neighborhood did their lawn mowing on the same day. No sooner than one group of landscapers had finished, another would arrive, or, motivated by the noise of the weed wackers, a home owner would rev up their mowers and join in.
The result was a seriously distracted amg.
Many traders play music during the day. Whether it is live from their own guitar or piano, recorded, mellow, edgy, quiet or loud is a matter of taste. If the sound is welcome and it promotes a positive and focussed attitude, go for it! I most often prefer quiet and am shopping noise-cancelling headphones should I need them in the future.
not a political statement by amg
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
:: zanshin - beginner's mind - being complete
When body, breath, speech and mind are broken from each other and scattered in concept and strategy, then no true action can reveal itself.
There is only hesitation, or trying to push oneself past hesitation. This is the mind of hope and fear, which arises because one is trying to live in some other moment, instead of in the moment that arises now.
One is comparing, planning, or trying to maintain an illusion of control in the midst of a reality which is completely beyond control.
Labels: attitude, meditation
Sunday, May 15, 2005
:: Rule5, or be true to the thought of the moment
In the first adventure of Samurai Lapin, he is roused from sleep to protect his lord from impending danger. He reminds himself to
be true to the thought of the moment and avoid distraction
He is telling me that the vector into the moment is thought, that image to which we apply our mind, whose intention shapes our actions and deeds. Smart bunny this one!
Upon confronting two thugs, he passes between them, uttering as he brandishes his sword
you can never win because you are distracted by life
whereby he quickly dispatches them to the next life. Do I note contempt? Perhaps, but artistic lisence is needed to make the point that his opponents are easily caught off guard, being distracted by the heat of battle.
I also read in this, for myself, that if one is to not
be distracted, then one must be engaged
, in the moment. This is something to be discovered, and with attentive practice, become an effortless aspect of all we do, like taking a breath. Easier said than done in the beginning, but a thimbleful of such moments soon spill over.
These two phrases really caught my attention, motivating me to make a "wallpaper" for my PC desktop, not of Samurai Lapin, alas, but of this wonderful toreador
, completely absorbed in the moment, as he must be, while so closely engaged with his worthy opponent. Something for me to keep in mind while engaged in trading, in life.PS, I call it Rule 5 as the image is swiped from the website of Paul Rotter, investment guru, who no doubt paid a lotta moula for it. For your eyes only, please.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
:: The Other Side of Trading
I'm excited to make the first entry in this journal, which I am calling The Other Side
, a reprise of the series I wrote on the role emotions play in trading. The other side of trading, the non-technical, will be the focus here.
One quirk of blogs is that entries show up in reverse order. If you missed reading the series before, here it is, in order, moved from the market comments page to The Other Side.
Waves: Ride the Market or Ride your Emotions, You Decide Traders with extremely intense emotions had the worst overall trading performance, researchers found.
Traders are From Mars How do you recognize emotion? What is an emotion anyway?
Emotions, Can't Live without Them, Can't Trade with Them Emotions add zest to life, but when they overpower our intentions, emotions can leave a destructive path we usually chalk up to "life's tuition".
Emotional Stop and Reverse Sensing an emotion rising, you stop not the emotion, but your reaction to the emotion, and in the process reverse the destructive pattern.
Emotional Freedom Managing your emotions won't make you a better trader. But it will help clear the fog so that you can evaluate your methods and performance as a trader from a position of clarity.