Home > Creativity, management, Markets, trading > Profitable ETF Trading Strategies: the psychology of Grail seekers

Profitable ETF Trading Strategies: the psychology of Grail seekers


How you think about the activity of trading in the world has a powerful influence on the planning preparation and execution of your trading plan.  

If you think of it as a quest for the holy Grail, it would not be surprising for you to use the language of mysticism, spirituality, intuition and to find yourself in search of the magic keys to the kingdom or purifying yourself in order to be worthy of receiving divine inspiration.  

You might spend your time in search of magical moments where the true knowledge of the world is revealed to you in strange and mysterious ways.

Your success or failure in the markets would be tied deeply and directly to your soul and would be a reflection of God’s judgment on your true worth as a human being.  

Considering the number of people in Western literature that actually achieved the Grail, I cannot recommend this as a strategy for simply making money in the markets in order to achieve your financial objectives within the parameters of your appetite for risk.   Think of the pressure the psychology places on every trade you make, and every decision you make to act or not act.

How can you trade with calm confidence if you believe that every moment is being judged against a heavenly standard while you are not yet in possession of all the rules in the evaluation criteria.  

It would not surprise you to see a quest seeker in a constant state of manic depression, with the motion was cycling violently between states of near ecstasy and despair. Final validation only comes if it will at all near the end of your life when the Grail is either received or denied. It’s only at that moment when you truly discover whether all your actions have been in vain or validated.  

It’s like taking one trade in your entire life for all the marbles with the cards stacked against you.

Why in the world would you choose to trade with that mentality? I am having a hard time trying to find a metaphor for trading that makes it harder to be successful than that.  

It’s a free world though, and you are free to choose your way within it.  

Choose your metaphor wisely. 

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  1. April 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I interpreted the above article as an observation that there is a tendency to correlate one’s self worth with one’s trading success, but to get over it and don’t make it so complicated. In re reading the article and considering my response it occurred to me that I have just implicated myself of the very observation I was responding to if only by the choice of language and upon further reflection isn’t this a deep challenge for all of us; that the result of any particular trade is a judgment of God and the tendency to equate one’s goodness or lack thereof with an equity curve. I will go ahead and post this as I was looking for somewhere to comment on this Grail question related to Alice.

    Alice and the Grail,
    In the text from “ALICE in Wonderland” it is inferred that it would be helpful to have a purpose or a goal in order to choose the proper road so you could arrive somewhere, else any road would do. What I find interesting however is that a Mad Hatter lives down one road and a March Hare lives down the other; that they are both mad. According to the cat everyone there is a bit crazy.
    My take away is that a place to arrive and a purpose are necessary ingredients but only because having a personal path creates the necessary context to enjoy the present moment.
    And what is “mad” (The destination of Hatter and the Hare) is the belief that getting to some place will make everything Ok, I may be stretching here but the Alice graphic hung on a hallway door when I was a kid next to my room and I recently looked for the narrative that follows the verse we are familiar with.
    The character Persig(sp), in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance gave up trying to make it up the mountain perhaps because the peak was a cup of sorts, . His co walkers (the monks) did make it to the peak, they looked to the mountain peak perhaps as a beacon
    I also remember in a Joseph Campbell book regarding the grail and “doing no harm” that he relates the two and wants to argue that we should try and give ourselves a break, something like “it is not possible not to do harm”, what living things do is basically consume other living things that would include having a salad. I take that to mean that we cause pain in the process along the path and the best we can do is to try not to do to unto other’s, stuff we don’t want done to us. Somewhere in our notes it’s a say’s take things with a grain a sand or give yourself a break. That though helps me when I find myself getting upset about little things. It also helps me with bigger things
    As I write this it occurs to me that this word “grail” is used loosely, both as a metaphor for a place “heaven” and also as a metaphor “for a magic process” that involves no discomfort. I think that is why sometimes the concept is confusing. I believe the grail was a cup, that held the blood of Jesus and would get you right into heaven. But I think the concept is used both as a place to get to as well as a process and so is ambiguious.
    This week I took away something very simple that for me was grail like, when “grail “ is used in the sense of a process or a ritual rather than a mad destination, rather than a reflection of one’s worth.
    “See the trade, Name the Trade, Frame the trade, Trade the Trade, Record the Trade, See yourself; Know yourself” Then go do something else.
    A technique for walking down a path. Maybe a way to resist the tendency to equate a particular trade with one’s assement of one’s self worth.
    Alice:
    Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. `What sort of people live about here?’ THAT direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, `lives a Hatter: and in THAT direction,’ waving the other paw, `lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’
    `But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked. `Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: `we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice. `You must be,’ said the Cat, `or you wouldn’t have come here.’

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