Archive for May, 2010

Traders Roundtable: six tangible benefits of reflective journaling

May 30, 2010 4 comments

Knowledge, mural by Robert Lewis Reid. Second ...
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Reflective journaling is the process of deliberately recording your thoughts and feelings and then analyzing them in a process called double loop learning.

With reflective learning, we examine our feelings and responses and then we look at how we act upon this newfound knowledge improving our self awareness and self-consciousness. Reflective journaling, them helps us to develop at to different levels simultaneously.

this growth and self awareness of self consciousness is important to the trader, because the individual psychology of the trader is such an important component of almost every kind of trading system. A shorter term your trading system operates in, the more important your psychology becomes. Reflective learning, therefore is an important component of building your traders toolkit.

Reflective journaling is a powerful technique for improving your reflective learning.

Here are six tangible benefits you can expect to achieve:

  • Your focus and attention will improve. Concentration and attention are important qualities of good traders.
  • You will refine your beliefs and develop an inquiring mind. Knowing your beliefs explicit label improve your ability to select trading systems that fit you.
  • You will exercise both your creative and critical thinking skills. You need to be creative to come up with new trading ideas, and then critical in order to find weak spots and blind spots and leverage points.
  • You will improve your discipline. Discipline will help you survive difficult times as a trader and will give you the strength of will to continue to execute under conditions of uncertainty.
  • You will learn to act on evidence that has been weighed and measures. Adopting a scientific frame of mind will help you eliminate emotions from your trading where they are harmful and what you focus on results instead.
  • You will be growing your body of knowledge. There’s no substitute for broad experience in the markets; you need diverse vacationing your portfolio and in your professional knowledge.
  • You will learn to make more and more distinctions. one of the definitions of intelligence is the ability to make more and more distinctions between concepts, context and situations.

Good trading!

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May 30, 2010 1 comment

Learning how to determine latitude by using a ...
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Buddhists have a name for the quality of inquisitiveness that we associate with very young children and kittens: they call it child-mind.

It is a state of consciousness that is highly sought after by long-term practitioners of the meditative arts. It is a state of mind that represents curiosity, inquisitiveness and a natural desire for knowledge. The mind in the state can be thought of as “sticky”. Ideas and concepts answer the sticky mind and stay there for us to reflect upon and put together in interesting ways.

There is a lot of concern in the literature, especially those dealing with high school and undergraduate college curriculum about how to motivate students to become more interested in the lessons of hand.

This is a more general problem however with any topic which is not of immediate interest to the student.

A lot of student disinterest in the class I believe, however, can be attributed to the industrial age approach to education, which treat students as replaceable parts and education is a series of FAQs and standardize concepts that need to be imprinted into the brain in order to create DOS file, obedient workers. Is it any wonder that children resist this kind of indoctrination, because it offends their sense of individuality, uniqueness and joy of life.

By the time our students have grown up to be adult learners, there is a vast literature that is required to address the issue of how to create the conditions in which they will be supportive of learning. By young adulthood, we have managed to turn people from the naturally inquisitive learners of their youth into the dull and defensive automatons who resist all opportunities to learn in the same way that they have learned to resist marketing and advertising of products that they sense they don’t really need.

As teachers, we have an obligation to appeal to their natural inquisitiveness by creating the conditions in which they can find once more their innate desire to learn. We must appeal to that inner child and his or her natural curiosity by making it clear that the lesson truly is concerned with something of value, that is worthy of being known on it’s own and not necessarily to serve the purposes of others.

We must remember ourselves as teachers how to connect to the joy of learning that intrigued us as children. There’s always time for the student to figure out later how it may be applied or not in their life, but that is an effort that should be following the initial phase of learning for the sheer sake of learning.

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Transparency in your personal life: an act of courage

May 29, 2010 Leave a comment

reasoning using others' decisions to make deci...
Image by Will Lion via Flickr

Transparency was one of the stated values of our most recent senior leader in the college, and as I look back at his two-year career here, as he prepares to depart, I can see that he really lived that value area it made it very easy to work with them on any directed project, because I didn’t have to worry about is hidden agendas or behind the scenes politicking.

What he said is what he meant and because it was always focused on the good of the college students, it was easy to get on board with his ideas. He was a guy who took advice carefully and sought the opinions of others before he made his decisions. He made sure to share the reasoning and processes behind his decision-making with those of us in the college, so that even if he decided against our recommendation, we felt like we had a fair shake. Research shows that that’s an important part of keeping your people satisfied.

How can we work on transparency in our own lives?

There are several dimensions that matter it seems to me: self-knowledge, purpose and courage.

We need self-knowledge to make sure that what we think were broadcasting is what’s really inside of us. We can’t be consistent in our external actions unless we really know what’s going on inside ourselves.

Purpose matters because we want to make sure that our integrated in turn the external actions are aligned with something that matters to us, such as our mission or are proposed Legacy.

Courage is involved in transparency because you have to take risks by exposing your inner workings and your purpose to the external world. Not everyone’s going to agree with your support you, there will be those who cast stones and belittle your efforts. Being transparent means exposing your true self to these slings and arrows. If you are being sneaky about your purpose and your goals, the critique of others wouldn’t be as personal because you could always tell yourself that it’s critique of the shadow face that you present to the world. Transparency puts your innermost self at risk to those who would criticize.

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The Ft Leavenworth experience

May 28, 2010 1 comment

2nd half of 14th century
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To capture our discussion from our Post Instructional  Conference about what officers would miss if they don’t come here:

1. Deep deliberate looks into complexity with a team.

Discussion: It’s too easy for distance learning and virtual teams to treat planning and problem solving as transactions of a couple hours and a minimum number of comments in a discussion board. In AOC, you have teams of 16-32-64 people looking at problems and living with each other in person going very deep with few distractions, and supported by teams of experienced faculty.

You cannot replicate that rich environment of tacit knowledge, which is experiential, collaborative, and in-person learning with  an engineering approach to cognitive task analysis which would render our staff group learning environment into a set of measureable chunks.

The profession of arms, our warrior culture is grown in the space and time between formal lessons, in the presence of leaders. You must be “present” to experience presence.

2. Planning/managing/experiencing complexity in great variety.

Discussion: we create complexity for the officers to explore here in at least 6 ways that cannot be easily duplicate on-line:

a)      The complex discussions of historical meaning being adapted to current environment

b)      The richness of developing leadership skills and qualities at the organizational level

c)      Understanding, planning and synchronizing the effects of large formations in Major Combat Operations

d)      Appreciating the socio-complexity of irregular warfare, stability operations, COIN and nation building in a whole of government approach in JIIM

e)      Designing, raising, manning, equipping a force with constrained budgets in a time of uncertainty for an extended time period while adapting the force for the current fight

f)       Developing campaign plans

g)      Synthesizing and socializing these challenges simultaneously, while living day in and day out with extraordinary officers fresh from the theater of war who are focused deeply on these individual topics.

Each topic above, a-f is a complexity and challenge all on its own. It is a non-trivial challenge to educate any single one of those lines of operation on-line and at a distance in a virtual staff group. When you combine them, and then immerse the officers in an environment rich in tradition and culture, you create the field grade officers in a way that can only be done here and in this way.

It takes time to learn a language and become part of the culture. You can’t get that by being at the end of a digital wire, performing transactional tasks while attending to other competing priorities.

The kinds of officers we have will ALWAYS sacrifice their own educational needs for the more immediate needs of others and their units. It’s how they are made. We must not put them into the position of having to choose between their education and the immediate needs of their unit. That would be asking them to make the hard choice, instead of us in the organization

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Should I have a long or short bias at this moment?

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Yin and yang stones
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There were two duelling hypotheses at work today in the market, looking at symbol:  in SPY, the exchanged traded fund for the US S&P 500 index.

Price had gone back and forth between buyers and sellers, bulls and bears..

Was the high of the day seen at 110.8 and /or was the low the day established when price it 109.56?

Depending on your directional bias for the intraday trade, either one of these hypotheses could be true and is supported by evidence the price actually reach those levels during the morning trade.

Which bias is correct?

Now note that you don’t have to have a long bias or a short bias, exclusively. You can have both but to a certain degree; it’s a “fuzzy logic” concept.

A person that is 5’6″ is short (to a certain degree) and tall (to a certain degree), as is a person that is 6’3″.  They have differing degrees, and differing amounts of evidence;

Remember,  the context matters too: 6’3″ is tall on the street, but not in the NBA; 5’6″ is tall in Thailand.

So, the market momentum or price condition, its “state of nature” has elements of both long and short in it; it must, by definition, or it wouldn’t be a market.

In the same way yin-yang has elements of the other even in the most extreme moment

The moment it became “all long” the market would cease to exist..

So, at any moment when you are trying to get a read on which way to be looking, you must actually be simultaneously holding both ideas in your head, and evaluating the evidence of likelihood and opportunity in both directions to make a decision about which way offers you more value .

The trade MUST be able to be framed by someone in some time frame at some probability of gain, because someone is taking the other side of the trade.

To me, that is the essence of thinking about the reward to risk ratio of 2:1 all the time, and estimating the Green-Yellow-Red zones to gauge what i think price action and support and resistance levels are telling me.

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Obama: “Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?”:: Bush : “Mission Accomplished”

May 28, 2010 1 comment

A beach after an oil spill.
Image via Wikipedia

The left used the “mission accomplished” phrase as a way to demonstrate the disconnectedness and tin ear of the Bush administration.

Obama unwittingly offered a similar phrase to characterize his own administration’s performance in the Gulf oil spill when he quoted his daughters as saying “Did you plug the hle yet, Daddy?”.

It would surprise me if that phrase did not catch on to perfectly capture the incompetence, disconnectness and the lack of judgment.

Obama took responsibility for the oil spill this morning (finally?  Way to go Brownie?). An unworthy part of me wondered if that meant somebody told him that the top kill was going to work and then there would be a happy coincidence between his “arrival to take charge” and miraculous progress?

Yes, unworthy

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Making learning fun

May 25, 2010 6 comments

schematic view of Curriculum in/out of school,...
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In a lot of educational writing, it’s taken as a given that creating an atmosphere of fun in the classroom must inevitably lead to learning. It’s fair to ask what is the relationship between fun and learning, however from an evidential perspective.

This analysis leads you to develop a working definition of fun and what it looks like in the classroom so that we can say if we have more or less of it. This definition and quantification allows us to analyze the relationship between fun and learning as measured by quantitative assessments.

Reread those words and see if you can find any fun in them. Is there anything about that attitude that would make you want to attend the class from someone who thought in that way.

This is not to discount the importance of an objectivist approach to education and looking critically at the outcomes of your educational efforts.

I believe we can proceed with the assumption that people are social animals and that the atmosphere in which they find themselves in the classroom, particularly if this was not a matter of choice but one of policy, can go a long way towards improving the quality of their learning.

Our hypothesis is that of fun atmosphere will improve the probability that they generate the internal desire to learn which most people would agree is the basis for a lifelong love of learning that will sustain them once they leave our classroom area

Making things fun  requires you to look at curriculum and the educational space through the eyes of your students and their preferred learning styles. We need variety, experiential learning, connection to the important matters of our times, alignment of the class lessons with the interests of our students to more fully engage their attention.

All of these things lead to fun in the classroom. Perhaps the most important contributor, though, is the personal attitude towards the class as expressed by the teacher and model than his or her behavior. If it’s not fun for the teacher, it it makes it that much harder for it to be fun for the students. If the teacher truly loves the math, then the math class will be fun and we’ll get through it with enjoyment and improve learning.

So, don’t neglect the outcomes-based evaluations of education, but don’t forget that where people and that we need to be engaged in courage and enthusiastic about our time in the classroom too.

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