I’m working on an early-decision application to my dream school.
Reading a book on trading psychology, I found myself questioning every interaction I have with the world. Two of my core identities were in conflict; they always were, I just never knew.
The path to trading “success” is one of the most deceiving, discombobulated endeavors of all. This is a commonly known truth in the trading community, often touted by those who have yet to reach their goals, like me. I define “success” as consistent, replicable profitability––something I’m on the brink of but haven’t yet achieved.
An academic mentor once shared a timeless quote with me.
“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.“ — Justice Holmes
That hit hard. When I began, trading was simple. Learn everything, trade anything, make money. My life was moving-average crossovers and generic Investopedia strategies. But I was on the wrong side of complexity.
Then came the hardship and painful lessons so many traders experience. My learning process entailed blowing accounts, losing disastrously, and suffering the psychological consequences.
I found myself a trading nihilist. I believed there was no point in even trying. Retail traders are no match against institutions. Fees turn a zero-sum game into a minus-sum game. Any public strategy is public for a reason — a working proprietary system’s developer has no incentive for benevolence. Markets are incredibly efficient, and what makes me think I’m smarter than the market?
Then came the introspection. The more I realized how my mind and belief systems function, the more “success” I experienced. I assumed it was inadvertent. The trading psychology literature I consumed was filled with wisdom I wished I’d read at the outset. But back then, it would’ve made no difference.
Though I had grown, I held identical beliefs. I had the same state of mind in front of…