The Only Effective Shortcut: Find Your Wealth-Building Passion By, D. R. Barton, Jr.

Barton TT1I’ve been thinking about complex systems and how we relate to them as traders and investors quite a bit this past month. There is no sure and real way to understand, or solve or predict a complex system in a simplistic way. I talked about this when we discussed the January’s First Five Days indicator earlier this month.

At the core of human nature is the desire to understand complex systems in simple terms. And for each of us understanding our individual relationships to money and wealth is very complex indeed. Because it includes so many facets, the technical and logical issues of money and wealth building are the easier ones to grasp. On the other hand, our cultural, emotional and spiritual beliefs are the ones that are the most hidden, entrenched and likely the most difficult to change. So our bigger challenge is that we tend to apply simplistic cause-and-effect models (do action “x” to get outcome “y”) to very intricate problems like overcoming barriers to building wealth. And, we expect similar “easy-to-understand” answers.

Van Tharp knew that we had to go beyond “do the right thing” thinking when it comes to wealth building. Van’s groundbreaking research and teaching on beliefs about wealth were the very thing that helped me mentally break away from the corporate ladder-climbing more than 25 years ago. That happened years before he became my mentor, then my co-author and, ultimately, my true friend.

Van had some major shifts in his own thinking about wealth in the 1990s. He was so excited to share them and his passion for both learning and teaching rubbed off on me.

Every Tuesday and Thursday dozens of guys make their way to two different middle schools in northern Delaware to play basketball. Some days they arrive before the sun comes up. Some days long after it has set.

Basketball Man 2

Why in the world would level-headed people give up the comfort of their Tempur-pedic bed in the morning or the La-Z-Boy recliner at night to drive to the gym in 12-degree weather to run up and down a court? The answer is simple. Because of an undeniable passion for the game of basketball.

There’s something almost therapeutic about playing basketball, especially pick-up games at the local gym or playground. (A pick-up game is where there are no formal teams or referees. People just show up, choose sides and play.) There is camaraderie, competition, and psychological release. And it’s great exercise as well.

And finding a good bunch of guys for a regular game is tough. So, when you find one, you stick with them. That’s why a dedicated group of folks forsake two hours of sleep before or after work to come and play. The youngest person is 50. The oldest is 82.

What struck me last night was the passion for playing. There are never any fights or long arguments, but every shot is contested, and every foul is called. There are no easy baskets. These people love to play, and it shows in the high level of ball that is played. More importantly, it shows in their enjoyment of the games.

I believe that it is much tougher to learn a complex skill like basketball, trading or wealth building if you don’t have passion for the sport or the markets. Passion is not a requirement for competence, but it does offer the shortest and most enjoyable path in the pursuit of excellence.

For the Shortest Path to Success, Align Your Efforts with Your Passion

I stated above that passion for a subject is not a requirement to achieve competence. But I do believe that it offers incredible shortcuts in the process. If you have a passion for something, spending the time required to master that subject will come more easily because it is so enjoyable.

I have met traders and investors who I wouldn’t consider passionate. They may have been proficient and competent. But they didn’t have that spark when they spoke about the markets or investing. Most likely, they will not reach the top tiers of their field.

I have also met passionate people. People who eat, breathe and live the markets. And most of them do it with some balance in their lives. But they love the markets. They love the research. They love to talk about what they’re doing in their trading and investing. Many of these folks are at the top or headed to the top.

unnamed 1One of my great friends will not go to bed without reading the Wall Street Journal. He hasn’t missed a weekly Barron’s in 30 years. He reads literally scores of emails, blogs and commentaries every day. And he is a walking market encyclopedia. But the greatest thing is the gleam in his eye and the energy in his voice when he talks about the markets.

I have to say a word about the concept of passion. The type of passion I’m referring to is an enjoyment to the point of absorption. I don’t believe that we are born with this type of passion. I believe that it grows in us as we become involved in an area and start to receive enjoyment from the experience. This type of passion shows up in all walks of life. I know passionate cooks, guitar players, gardeners, engineers, doctors, programmers and performers. And I don’t believe that any of them were necessarily born with that passion.

You don’t have to have a passion for the markets to enjoy trading — or any type of wealth building — to get good at it. But if you find a part of the market experience where you really enjoy the time spent there – where you get lost in the moment – pay attention to that feeling! It might be researching individual companies, system building, fundamental analysis of commodities or technical analysis of charts. It might be finding out what your REAL drivers are for building wealth. Find which beliefs drive you (or could drive you) and follow that passion. That’s the quickest way that I know of to get good at something. Van found that acquiring “stuff” didn’t drive him but being financially free did. He built the Infinite Wealth Workshop around his research to be able to teach the process. I truly learned so much from Van, along with lots of other folks in those early courses including Dr. Ken Long and Gracia Rosslow who participated in the first Infinite Wealth courses with me. And I’m going to participate in the upcoming courses that R.J. Hixson and Gracia are teaching! I can’t wait to see many of you there.

As a final aside: If you haven’t tried exercising first thing in the morning, I can highly recommend it for several reasons. It’s a great way to get your day going! If you are doing any mental activity (like trading or investing, for example), the extra flow of blood to the brain through exercise has proven to raise performance in mental exercises. I actually learned this from Gracia back in 1997! And this doesn’t have to be a huge run or playing full-court basketball. A good walk at a brisk pace will do the trick. Get your blood moving and shift your mind to a higher gear.

As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome. Please send them to drbarton “at”

Great trading and God bless you,

D. R.

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