Stock Market

When Doing Less Is More

A wise portfolio manager recently forwarded this article to me.  The gist of its message is that we often look to improve our lives–and our processes–by adding to them.  We operate on the implicit premise that more is better, so that when we seek change, we gravitate toward doing more things.
In my recent Forbes article, I take a look at the topic of fasting.  I view fasting broadly, not only as refraining from eating.  Anytime we seek to eliminate events and elements that are a regular part of our lives, we conduct a kind of fast.  Thus, getting away from emails and cell phones is a form of fasting.  Meditation and the quieting of our self-talk is also a fast.  
The William Penn quote suggests that fasting may provide some of the benefits of sleep, a kind of refreshment of the spirit.  Sleep itself is a kind of fast, a refrain from activity.  Without sleep, coherent and effective activity becomes impossible.  Similarly, if all we do is “process” and the repetition of routine, we may be efficient but will we ever achieve refreshment?  Many of life’s most meaningful activities, from honeymoons to vacations to special celebrations, occur outside life’s routines.
The surest way to kill the love, romance, and specialness of a relationship is to make it routine.  For the same reasons, that is how we destroy the passion of living our own lives.  To function effectively in the world, we need routines.  To function optimally, we need to operate outside of routine.  Doing less can provide us with more.
The developing trader needs more process, more routine, to overcome the emotions involved in trading and the resulting impulsivity.  The experienced trader needs quality time away from process and routine to overcome staleness and continually approach markets with fresh eyes and creative thought.
If you were to go on a process fast in your trading, what would you eliminate and what would that free you up to do?
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