CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Yoga of day trading 2

I am working on a new bestseller about day-trading and yoga.

The title is: "Requiem for an Idiot: Memoir of my Day Trades as a Novice Trader."

Just kidding. I am not writing that book, except inside.

Seriously, though, the title makes a point. I think the memoir is not personal but has a more universal appeal. Now nobody is calling anyone an idiot. Nor is this a spoof on the "For Dummies" handbooks. It is simply a commentary on the inner demons that plague the beginning trader, because after all, trading mastery is self-mastery. Technical analysis alone is not so difficult to learn.

PL, a teacher and my mentor in day trading, says that we all have some inside who from time to time steps in and takes over trading. He calls this sub-personality the idiot. It is just a way to give nomenclature to that stubborn part of us that over-reaches, that overwhelms objectivity, that sometimes -- truth be told -- plays into addictive tendecies. Go see the film, "21." The main character gets lost in this realm; when he 'returns' to 'himself,' he tells his girlfriend: "that just wasn't me."

Oh yes? Then who was it?

Never mind - the situation tested him and brought out his shadow. Now the light is flooding through the recognition.

If you ever have that sensation that you read your trading plan all day yesterday, reviewed your trades, and made a firm commitment to follow the plan 100%, and suddenly found yourself in a trade that deviated from the plan, then chances are you have met the idiot. Or as someone famously put it, "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Mastering the mind is a yogic exercise. Mastering the idiot is a day trading exercise. Mind over matter, mind over pressing the button. The easiest thing in the world is to press "buy" and "sell." The hardest is to know when to press it.

I'm reminded of a story reported by a spiritual teacher. A king once challenged his ministers to bring back the lightest and the heaviest object in the world. All the ministers came back with impressive physical objects, except one, who returned empty-handed. The king was incensed, and asked why the minister was disobedient. The minister opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue. The king instructed that the minister be arrested, when the minister began to speak. Pointing toward his mouth, he said, "the tongue is the lightest object in the world. When it sings God's praises, it soars. And the tongue is also the heaviest object in the world, because when it demeans other people, it drags the whole world down with it."

The king rewarded his minister with many riches.

Requiem for the idiot. Another piece of wisdom says to make all your mistakes in day trading during the first year, at lighter share size.

I have to say a couple of good things about the idiot. He did have my best interest at heart, which was to make money. He did take some good trades -- lucky -- although that rewarded him for weak strategies. He did expose tendencies to abdicate the throne and let the idiot control the buttons.

Now having said that, this is a requiem for the idiot. The initial year is more than half-way done, but I decided to eliminate the idiot in a way that can only be described as vaguely reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange. Or: if a pre-teen wants to try smoking, give em so many cigarettes they get sick and never want to touch one again. I gave the idiot a field day on Friday -- with 5 to 10 shares. He had a blast! Overtrading here, jumping into this and that trade there. Trading all the way through to close of market. Wheee! That was fun!

And by the end of the day, guess what? The idiot energies were spent. For good. Never again will -- let's call him TI for short, so as not to insult anyone -- TI occupy the throne. The King is back, and the ministers -- hand, heart, fingers, the wise one who wrote the plan, who sticks to the plan, who revises and refines as necessary and appropriate -- is back from the forest, filled with yogic detachment (yes, I forgot to mention the horrid attachment that constantly drove TI, never a moment's piece, eyes glued to the P&L), and ready to rule the inner subjects with equanimity and a calm, wise, true spirit.

Just like in the mythological versions of old.

And so it is. And so it shall be.
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The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of The Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, a nonprofit organization exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).
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Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. In addition to qualifying as a U.S. attorney, he has been admitted and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing). For more information regarding the law practice of attorney Michael H. Cohen, see the FAQs for the Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen. Thank you for visiting the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog.
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