Gratitude: The Breakfast of Champions By, D. R. Barton, Jr.

Barton TT1Speculators, in general, and traders and investors in particular, have always been the “lone wolves” of the financial world.

The Bucket Shops of Jesse Livermore’s day and more recently, the Day Trading rooms of the late 1990s and early 2000s were vain attempts to bring socialization to the speculating individual.

The meme stock movement that lit up the volume and the price (usually temporarily) of fundamentally weak stocks in the last 24 months has been an incomplete and usually anonymous attempt for traders to mingle via various channels of social media. But speculation keeps reverting to a uniquely individual activity. And I keep talking to traders and investors about how they maintain their focus, mental acuity and even their sanity while spending so much time alone. The answers for those who like, love, or are passionate about trading and investing for the long haul keeps coming back to two things:

  1. They’re doing it for more than just monetary reasons.
  2. They have a sense of gratitude for some (or many) aspects of speculation.

The benefits of gratitude are well-documented. The research shows that grateful people are healthier, sleep better, are more hopeful, more empathetic, more resilient, and have greater self-esteem.

Gratitude Reminds Me That Life is Not About Just About Me

As with almost any activity, if you’re focused solely on what you can get out of it, you’ve missed a large part of the satisfaction in doing it well. On the other hand, if your purpose in that activity is aimed toward some larger value in your life (security, caring for others, the joy of learning something difficult, etc.), then the richness and the duration of satisfaction is much deeper.

When you’re grateful, you’re more likely to think about the good things that are happening because of the work you do. It’s not all because of you. I’ll talk a bit more about the real and useful role of speculation in a future article.

Gratitude Reminds Me That I Haven’t Done Life Alone 

None of us can do life alone. Humans aren’t built that way. Sure, there are the stories of someone occasionally doing something amazing completely alone (and usually those have their own behind the scenes stories…). But in general, we work together with others to achieve greater things than we can do on our own. Whether it be a family, a workplace, or a volunteer group, relationships matter. Even Einstein wrote about gratitude for the roles of others:

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. —Albert Einstein

During U.S. Thanksgiving week we’ll dig more deeply into some new research on the “how to” of gratitude and into the science of why gratitude is so darn effective.

Until then, I always enjoy hearing your thoughts and comments. Send them to me using drbarton “at” vantharp.com

Great Trading and God bless you,

D. R.

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