The One Reason For All The Mistakes We Make…

The One Reason For All The Mistakes We Make…

…and also the one reason for all the pain we suffer. It is a very human concept, very transcendent, yet it somehow exists physically (at least according to good old Einstein) – and changes everything with every moment that passes by. It is called time.

I treat time like cancer. It is a chronic disease that will never go away, but we have to live with it and make the best out of it. What “the best” is, everyone has to define that for themselves. Aging is a sickness to me (physically, not mentally..well..somehow, too, looking at what time does to people. They go from happy, unburdened children to depressed and tired-of-life pensioners).

Think about your life, how would it look like if you were immortal and had all the time in the world? Everything would change completely. Me? I would spend the next 20 years trying every mind-altering drug in the world and learn about their effects on the human mind and body. Then travel everywhere. Then eat whatever I want, become crazy obese. Then become ripped. Then try all the jobs I always wanted to try, create all the businesses I ever wanted to get into. Read all the books I ever wanted to read. Meet all the persons I want to talk to. Become a rock star. Play every video game there is in the world. Learn everything I ever wanted to learn, music instruments, acrobatics, calligraphy. Date a girl from every country there is. Sail around the world for decades, climb every mountain. Live with the natives in a jungle for a few years. And so on, you get the idea. Nothing is impossible really with endless time on your hands, because eventually, you will succeed through sheer luck. The law of probability. You could try to date the hottest girl/guy on earth and eventually, it would work out. No shit.

And would you even sweat an exam? No, of course not. If you fail it, just do it again, maybe a few years later. You have all the time in the world. Would you try so damn hard to start dating, marry someone and have kids before you are 40 instead of enjoying life first? No, there is no reason to. Would you ever feel lonely? Maybe, but ultimately, not really. If your life is neverending, a few years in solitude are a blessing. Would you sweat so hard to become rich? Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe you would put $100.00 into your bank account and wait a few centuries before buying your Lamborghini. Disclaimer: doesn’t work with current inflation and interest rates.

Failure is ultimately a time-based definition. You only really fail once you define a point in time where you give up on something or have to give up because other circumstances make you. Pain is time-based as it will fade…over time. Pressure is time-based as well because all the pressures we get are either self-made or imposed upon us by society to get something done at a certain point in time. There is an expectation we and others have towards us to follow certain guidelines in life, and all these guidelines are attached to a timeline.

Time is a dictator. It governs everything you do. For most people, time is their worst enemy, because they are so ineffective in handling it. For me, this is true very often as well. I have a lot of interests, I want to try a lot of things, and so it is hard for me to focus on one thing as I am always too curious for my own good. I have everything in life, but just not enough time.

This creates pressure. We have only one life, one shot, and we want to make the best out of it. We want to be happy, we don’t want to disappoint our parents, we want to carve our place in society, we want to leave a legacy – whatever it looks like – and all of this has to happen in 70-80 years. Sounds like we are going to miss life while we try to live our lives, no?

And to make things worse, most people trade their time for money. Don’t get me wrong, working is living. Who doesn’t work, who doesn’t create, doesn’t live. But most people just don’t love their job. They work to make money, and then try to spend it all on the little free time they have.

Now, how does all of this relate to trading? Well, I would say that switching perspective in this matter makes a hell of a difference. If you have all the time in the world to learn this craft, then you would probably take as much time as you need to study it first. Then you would demo until profitable. Then you would load up a small account, sit there patiently, and take only the absolute best trades. Yes, you would actually follow a sane and safe process instead of blowing all your money and sabotaging yourself. Why? Because why not?! You are not in a rush! You have all the time in the world to achieve your goals and become a profitable trader.

We want it all and we want it now. Do you remember Karate Kid, when the kid wants Mr. Miyagi to teach him all the tricks right now right here and the old man makes him clean the dojo first, for weeks? That’s what I’m talking about here. You have to treat trading in a way as if you had all the time in the world. And then you will start making more money than you ever dreamt of before. It is really that counter-intuitive.

All the decisions we make in life are influenced by time, or rather, our perception of time. If we are convinced that we will live 1000 years, then why don’t we spend today with our loved ones, and do our work tomorrow? Why do we have to take a mediocre trade when we can just wait and take a perfect setup? Why do we have to go to university even if we are not sure whether it is the right thing for us, maybe we should learn to be a chef instead?

People must have the freedom to try out new things in life or they will wither away, but in these hectic times, most people follow the worst possible routine: working a job they hate until 67, when they finally have time to do all the things they always wanted to do. Just, their body won’t allow them to by then.

The next time you are about to make a decision in life, or in trading, step back for a moment and think about it: am I doing this because it is the best possible decision I can make, or am I doing this because I feel pressured by time in one way or another?

Free yourself of the concept of time. It is very useful for catching a plane and communicating and coordinating with others. However, it is horribly detrimental when making tough decisions, like putting on trades. These should NEVER happen because you want it all and you want it now, because you feel that you are young now, and you want to enjoy your life right now with a lot of money, but you don’t have that money, so you have to take that trade – that thinking will only lead to you busting your account, yet EVERYONE I know who is not profitable yet does follow exactly this thinking pattern.

It all boils down, again, to only taking the best trades and being patient. But thinking about it this way freed me of all the pressure I made for myself and allowed me to become profitable eventually. Time is a disease that pressures us into making decisions without thinking them through clearly. The sands of time are relentless and will destroy us if we let them. The sands of time exist to take away our time. We have to learn to live with time, and then start ignoring time.

Think about it.

Comments ( 6 )

  • Andre du Toit

    This is by far the most simple, yet profound piece of advice on the topic of trading that I have ever read……from a fine young man who, given our age gap, could have been my son….

    Thanks very much, I am indebted to you for imprinting the truth about time in trading, upon my mind.

    Kind regards.

    André du Toit

    • Moritz

      Thank you Andre, that is incredible feedback. I feel honored.

  • Ludwig

    Great article!

    • Moritz

      Thanks Ludwig 🙂

  • Sean

    Great advice and the concept sounds a little bit like the book ‘The Power of Now’!

    • Moritz

      Haha yes, I read that a lot, many many years ago. Certainly was inspired by it.

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