A Lesson from Einstein

A lesson I learned from Einstein is the benefit of being able and willing to changes one’s mind. At times a pacifist, he changed after witnessing the rearmament in Europe. In physics and science in general when presented with new evidence it is quite normal to revise theories and mathematical proofs, or even to reverse a position entirely. Putting ego aside, he did this many times, most famously dropping his famous Constant variable regarding a static universe when through experiment it was proved no longer necessary. This is skill which comes more naturally at a younger age, but is quite possible for the post 40 crowd as he demonstrated in his long career.

Trading Psychology Observations

-From working with developing traders, I’d say that 90% don’t/can’t sustain the process of keeping a substantive journal. Among the group that does journal, well over 90% of the entries are about themselves and their P/L. I almost never see journal entries devoted to figuring out markets.

-A sizable proportion of traders who have been having problems are trading methods and patterns that used to work, but are no longer operative. The inability to change with changing markets affects traders intraday (when volume/volatility/trend patterns shift) and over longer time frames (when intermarket patterns shift).

-Some traders habitually look for tops in a rising market and bottoms in a falling one. There’s much to be said for countertrend methods, but not when the need to be right exceeds the need to make money.

-An underrated element in trading success is mental flexibility: the ability to shift views and perceptions as new data enter the marketplace. It takes a certain lack of ego to form a strong view and then modify it in the face of new evidence.

-Many traders fail because they’re focused on what the market *should* be doing, rather than on what it *is* doing. The stock market leads, not follows, economic fundamentals. Some of the best investment opportunities occur when markets are looking past news, positive or negative.

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