Curiosity, that burning desire to know, understand or find out is so strong that humans have endured excruciating cold, scorching heat that spawns bugs the size of small dogs, traversing high wires strung between skyscrapers and countless other challenges that often cause panic attacks in others. Humans and as well cats, apes and virtually every other creature in the animal kingdom become unstoppable with curiosity from time to time. Albert Einstein once said; “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Research suggests that, like food and sex, information is inherently rewarding to the brain.
Of course, the question that many might ask is – why? The short answer is … because information is about where water, food and shelter are; where a mate can be obtained and/or why and how the sun comes back every day… in other words information is about survival.
Now the next question that may be lurking in that curious mind of yours is, what does this have to do with trading? Well…everything!
Harnessing Curiosity in Your Trading
Think about if for a moment. When you enter a trade, there are myriad directions that you could follow, some in your interests and others not so much. As you navigate these twists and turns of the trade there may come a point where you would like to know if the price action is going to remain in your favor or not. If you possess the curiosity gene and it is itching, in all likelihood you’ll venture in the direction of finding out more. However, here’s the rub, you’d like to know more and you have learned a dandy back-testing tool that might provide an inkling, but you are scared to death to try it because you don’t know if the outcome will be positive and you don’t want to experience the dread of a loss. So, you opt out of finding out.
A very interesting aspect is that you may have felt the curiosity to know more but the fear knocked you out of the box. There wasn’t enough of the awesome emotion to overcome that fear. But, what if you could have mustered enough of the power packed feeling to actually do the thing that scared the begeebers out of you? Then, at the very least, you would have learned the answer to that one thing.
What if it happened again with a slightly different angle, and you took a bite from the curiosity apple and presto – chango you, in an instant, knew more information. Then, just like others before you who trod an unbeaten path, you have made something that was once scary, not so scary anymore. Others will be more willing to try and many will succeed. That is what curiosity can do.
Unlike the saying…curiosity killed the cat…it’s actually more like the cat became stronger and; satisfaction brought him back again. So, the fear that held you like a straight-jacket before your curiosity kicked in, now seems just a whimper and you have not only prevailed you have developed more strength and endurance for the next time. In other words, the more curiosity that you can develop in your trading, the more ability that you have to shun anxiety and fear because you will no longer be held captive by them or any other emotion. Curiosity has then saved the day again and is quickly forming you into the kind of trader that deep down you know you can be; that is, a consistently profitable one.
Of course, we must keep in mind that unbridled curiosity can lead to disaster. Those who tread into unknown territory must do so with proper planning and risk management. This is true whether the activity is trading, athletics, invention, etc.
Let’s look at a few more tid-bits surrounding curiosity that could help you to conjure up some heapin’ helpins of the stuff for your everyday life.
- Ask, What if? – There are countless items like Post-It, Dyson Vacuum, Kindle, iPhone, and on and on that were born from asking, what if questions. Take a look at a trade that gave you a hard time and give it the what if treatment and record the ideas in your Thought Journal or Trade Log.
- Keep a log of questions – Many people worry that they don’t know something and see the unknowing as failure or disappointment. Give yourself permission to not know. Be among the folks who see this as an acknowledgement of reality and an opportunity for growth. Todd Henry, author of Die Empty espouses as much in his book. In other words, he says asking questions leads to aha moments while pretending to know something usually doesn’t.
- Carve out time to answer those questions – Make time for immersing yourself in the resources that ignite your curiosity – anywhere from an hour a week to an hour a day. Henry keeps a Stimulus Queue, a list of interesting books, movies and articles he comes across during the day and wants to revisit later during his study time.
- Shift your perspective – It’s easier to find creative solutions when you’re able to see problems from different angles and perspectives. For instance, Henry suggests when considering a trade, “ask yourself what and how is the trade working itself out.” Another strategy is to compare your current problem with past challenges. See if you can find similarities among products on the market or other people or experiences. Start with, How is this like…, and note all the similarities and patterns. As Henry says, the goal here is to nudge your brain in a novel direction.
“Embrace the importance of now, and refuse to allow the lull of comfort, fear, familiarity, and ego to prevent you from taking action on your ambitions…The cost of inaction is vast. Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside of you. Choose to die empty,” Todd Henry
These are the things that we teach in Mastering the Mental Game online and on-location courses designed to support you in going as far as you can with all that you’ve got. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information. Also, get my book, From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.