Meditation and Investing.
It is amazing how 02 supposedly different aspects of your life align together to make SENSE of it all. Steve Jobs called it connecting the DOTS in his famous speech he gave at Stanford University. Please click on the link if you havent heard it before. Its a gem.
Now because I practice both meditation and Investing extensively, there is a definite scope of OUTCOME BIAS. Searching for something where none exists and confusing correlation with causation.
Keeping this disclaimer at back of the mind, lets dwell further to see if there is any merit in an argument that “Meditation has made me a better Trader”.
What is meditation. While there are various forms and types depending on person’s geography, orientation, understanding, level, intellect and intention, if I have to sum it up in 01 sentence, then meditation essentially would be ALL all about Mind control, isn’t it.
Reaching a stage where you are a witness to happenings around you. Reaching a stage where these happenings, results do not bother you.
A very nice hindi song sums up the stage beautifully. Gum aur khushi ka firk
Lets dig a little deeper…
What do we mean by Mind control. To understand that we need to understand MIND first.
Daniel kahneman, in his book Thinking fast and Slow made it easy for us by dividing the brain into 02 sects, SYSTEM 1 and System 2. Whereas System 1 is the amaygdala reaction, Fight or flight mode and System 2 is the mind that contemplates and thinks about deeper things in life. We rarely use system 2 and get by our entire life by sustaining on System 1 itself.
Similarly, in the book Untethered soul, it has been explained that constant chit chat happening in the background of our brain is the exact nature of the mind. It just cannot shut up. Judging, peeling, interfering, drawing inference and conclusions on each and every topic and each and every person is the nature of the mind. It has an amazing bandwidth but all is wasted on doing what it does. It just does not have the discretion to say NO. It just keeps thinking BULL SHIT.
With all due respect to above 02 sources, I do not hold them very high in my book relatively . I would like to hear about What Mind is and what its nature is from the master himself.
According to the sage Maharishi Ramana,
The mind is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind.
And then he wrote,
The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge Spiritual progress.
And then finally,
You need not aspire for or get any new state (of mind), Get rid of your present thoughts, THAT IS ALL.
Now lets link it with Trading. Actually, you can link it with any profession you want. The whole concept of meditation helps in any profession because it helps in improving the noise to signal ratio. By shutting off the blah blah, your mind has bandwidth to concentrate on what matters.
The advancement in neuro-science has now revealed that brain, just like any other muscle in our body works on the principle of USE it OR Lose it. Less you use your blah blah network, less prominent it would become in your life.
In my profession, A system is not a holy grail, FOLLOWING it is. A human brain does not allow its master to follow a system even when it has been back-tested, empirically proved. The psychological biases arising out of meaning less thoughts screw it ALL up. Add to that in today’s information age and the amount of garbage thrown at you from various sources like wassapp groups, business channels, twitter experts, you are bound to get overwhelmed by conflicting views. The funny thing is this influence happens at a very sub conscious level and over confidence bias fools you into believing that you are immune to it all.
In the end I would quote Ed Seykota and you come to see his statement in new light when you link it with meditation and spirituality.
Win or lose, everybody gets what they want out of the market. Some people seem to like to lose, so they win by losing money. I think that if people look deeply enough into their trading patterns, they find that, on balance, including all their goals, they are really getting what they want, even though they may not understand it or want to admit it.
Source: Schwager, Jack D. (Editor), Market Wizards, HarperCollins (1989), page 172