Discipline is not the key | stockbee


Discipline is not the key

You do not need discipline to trade successfully.Discipline is a negative word.Discipline implies ability to refrain from doing something. Attempts at self discipline and self denial often fail. Yet you will find hundreds of books, trading coaches, trading mentors , who keep harping about discipline as the key to trading profits.

Any attempt at discipline has high probability of failure. Discipline works only in highly structured and hierarchical system where there is a highly regimented approach to controlling behavior. Armies are very good at discipline. Fear of punishment drives discipline. Even in such settings from time to time discipline breaks down. Discipline requires continuous negative reinforcement, if you don't do this you will be punished.

So if discipline is not the key, what is the key. The key is passion, perseverance, tenaciousness, persistence and grittiness. If you are determined to achieve longer term goals despite obstacle then the passion takes over and self discipline is not an issue. What others call or see as discipline is persistence to most successful people.The essential thing is do you have the inner drive to be the most successful trader you can be. If that is in place all the effort required to get there are driven by that passion.

Grittiness is most important if you want to achieve anything major in life. Grittiness involves ability to keep at it despite setbacks, it involves ability to overcome obstacles by going around them or finding creative solutions to it. It is an inner drive which propels you forward., for long duration, often years, till you get what you set out to get or achieve. We have a word for it in Hindi/Marathi language : चीकाटी .

All successful people who achieve something meaningful in life have an inner passion or an overarching goal. The pursuit of that goal consumes their life. Once you find that goal all activity performed to achieve it is pleasurable activity.

In more practical terms instead of focusing on discipline I would rather focus on:
  1. Mental Modeling. Question your assumptions and beliefs. Replace them with right assumptions and beliefs. This is continuous process.
  2. Support systems. Winners and successful people surround and network with other successful people. Mediocre people surround and network with other mediocre or negative people.Now this kind of network is not about collecting cheer leaders, but about harnessing the creative and shared energy and passions of others. I continuously build enduring relationships with successful traders with different styles. This is one of the major key to success in most field but few understand it. You have to work at it continuously.
  3. Study successful people in all walks of life. I was recently reading a fascinating autobiography of Dean Karnazes , Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. Now if you see ultra marathon as a sports, it demands extreme endurance and unless you have passion for it nothing is going to make you put in the effort required to run such things.In stories after stories you will find that these successful people found their inner passion and then the passion took over.

If you find your inner passion, you will have no discipline problems. So when you say I have discipline problem, probably you mean you have a passion problem. May be trading is not your passion.

Later: Discipline and regimentation


hector said...

nicely said, passion is the ultimate system, if you see a door that you can not open, you jump over it, dig, go around left side, right side, take apart the lock, but you never give up, you eventually will make it, sometimes just take to think outside the box or walk the road less traveled.

StockRake said...

If you consider lost profits, or lost opportunity to be punishment, then discipline will help you follow your trading systems.

Yes I'm afraid of that type of punishment.

Pradeep Bonde said...

Discipline problems are often manifestation of something being wrong in the process earlier. So no amount of discipline can make an inherently wrong trading approach or system profitable. Discipline problems are often last mile problem.
And if you are profitable, profit itself is great motivator and helps you stay focused and motivated.

AJ said...
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Pankaj said...

Chikati (marathi) just hit home run for me Pradeep!! I read your posts religiously ani mala nehmich tujhya research cha khup kautuk vatta.. I'm sheer passionate about this field now as I spend all my time I'm off work on researching & reading about markets and stocks..Initially I thought I lacked the discipline as I watched my account shrink like crazy while I continually made mistakes without gaining proper knowledge, ignoring the potential consequences and waiting hopelessly for the tide to turn in my favor so that I could recover my losses. I think my lack of discipline has made me loose my capital and as Stockrake said, that punishment has changed me for better.. it fired me up and made me passionate now and I spend most of my free time to understand how markets work so that I will be a little more educated trader (observer for now). BTW, hope you still remember me.. I email you a while ago to ask you - ki tu LP ahes ka.. :).. Enjoy your vacation and mana pasun thanks for your work man!! I hope I can focus my efforts correctly with some help through the knowledge-sharing forums of some experts like you.



BG said...

Here's an article that reinforces Pradeep's convictions about passion.