The Taoist Trader: Tao Te Ching (Chapter 9)
Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.
(By Lao Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
Not overdoing things is one theme for this chapter. Don’t “fill to the brim.” Don’t “oversharpen the blade.” Instead, find a proper balance. If you’re not in balance you can fall or fail. Being in balance implies having the correct relationship to the Tao. The Tao leads, you follow.
Traders fill their minds “to the brim,” especially with useless statistics. Every moment is different. To paraphrase Heraclitus, “You can never step into the same river twice.” Worshipping your mind by “oversharpening” it leads to your trading becoming a dull and lifeless endeavor.
Claim Titles, Lose the Tao
“Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.” Desiring the title of “Master Trader” or even “Winning Trader” clouds your judgment and ruins your relationship with the Tao, leading to the inevitable lightning strike that ruins your trading, and you get to claim the title of “Losing Trader.”
Claim Wealth, Lose your Spiritual Health
If chasing money is the sole reason you’re trading, then you may be spiritually bankrupt. “Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.” You can’t “protect it” from death. You can’t hoard it and “protect it” from your spiritual death. What’s more important? A vibrant soul or the gloss of gold?
“Retire when the work is done.” Instead of collecting knowledge and collecting wealth, learn to follow “the way of heaven“and “retire” from self-worship by giving gratitude to the source of all things in your life, the Tao.