Humanities greatest gift is our freedom to make whatever choice we want. Animals don’t have this ability they are ruled by nature. If we want to do something good or bad it is our choice. However, many of our choices are heavily influence by our upbringing. It is not as simple as everyone is tested the same way.
If you are brought up in a secure nurturing environment where your family values teach you how to respect the law then your choice of breaking the law will be very different from the kid brought up on the streets with no role models and a desperate need to provide the basics to survive another day.
Stealing a loaf of bread is a major choice for the street kid but isn’t even a choice for the kid with the good upbringing, for this kid its automatic no need to choose. This is not what I want to discuss I want to get into a deeper analysis of freedom of choice.
Let us work with an example of a smoker:
The heavy smoker wakes up in the night coughing and gasping for breath. He realizes that smoking is destroying his lungs and killing him. In the grip of his coughing spasm he promises to give up smoking he is done with it.
In the morning he wakes up and has his morning coffee and is starting to crave a cigarette. He says I know smoking is bad, but let me just have one. It will only be one nothing more, just to calm me down one isn’t going to kill me. So he has the one cigarette and so goes his day choosing and smoking until he does another pack.
What is interesting using the smoking example as a proxy. Many don’t even engage with our freedom to choose. A lot of us don’t even step up to the plate of choosing our freedom, we simply resign ourselves to the fact that we are addicted. Here the person has surrendered their greatest gift the freedom to choose. This is still not the point I am trying to get to, let us drill one level deeper to bring something fascinating to your attention.
When you look at the choice of the smoker. It is as binary as this:
a.) If I smoke I am killing myself,
b.) If I don’t smoke I lack some enjoyment, but I gain not killing myself.
Is it really a choice? Any sane, reasonable person faced with this choice will go with (b). But we know that many millions of people go with (a) why?
The reason why the weak side of the choice often gains incredible powers, is because it invokes another power into the choice. You are probably starting to think I am talking about metaphysical spiritual forces. In a way I am but its more simple than that. As human’s we bring ourselves into the choice and we start introducing a dialogue different to the choice. One that has the ability to disarm our rational choices and cause us harm.
As traders we are faced with choices all the time. Do I buy or do I sell this symbol. For many of us, this is a simple choice. We know that if the price goes above this indicator it is a buy and if it goes below this level after we have bought it is a stop loss sell. However we have all faced that choice when its time to buy or sell, and we do very different things. Why because we allowed ourselves to wedge our way into what was originally a simple choice.
If there is one thing you take away from this letter is write down your rules for buying or selling for getting in and out of a trade and what you are to do if you hit a certain drawdown in your account. Make it black or white. Then when you exercise your greatest gift the freedom to choose. You do it as a winner.