Tao Te Ching (Chapter 33)
Those who know others are wise;
those who know themselves are enlightened.
Those who overcome others are powerful;
those who overcome themselves are strong.
Those who are contented are rich;
those who act strongly have will.
Those who do not lose their place endure;
those who die without perishing live long.
(By Lao Tsu, translated by Thomas Cleary)
Sometimes the intellect alone cannot answer the question “What is my place in the trading world?” These lyrics express this sentiment: “Feels like I’m/ looking for a reason/roamin’ through the night to find/ my place in this world” (“Place in This World” by Michael W. Smith). “Looking for a reason” from a defunct intellect is not the way. However, “roaming through the night” is the Tao’s labyrinthine way.
You need to feel or intuit your way through the night. This will teach you to have a fluid identity. Who am I today? Dan Aykroyd or Eddie Murphy? Only with a fluid identity can you not lose your place in the world because you can change as events change. “Those who do not lose their place endure.”
Smith’s song lyrics go on to say, “I need your light to help me find/my place in this world” He’s referring to the light as God’s light. Unfortunately, the intellect may act as an impostor by pretending to be the light.
A Sufi story illustrates this principle. It is dark outside when a man asks another man, “What are you doing?”
“I’m looking for my keys.”
“Where did you lose them?”
“Then why are you looking for them here?”
“Because with the light from this lamppost at least I can see.”
Artificial light or the true light.
Remember the keys are lost in the dark. So it’s through exploring the seemingly dark parts of your personality that enables you to find your “place in this world.” Especially if you are a trader. There is repressed personal power locked in the shadow side of your personality. As a trader, this personal power will enable you to weather the vicissitudes of the markets. “Those who know themselves are enlightened.”
Dying to Live
If you let obsolete attitudes about trading die, new attitudes that are helpful will be born. “Those who die without perishing live long.” Letting the old ways die and embracing the new life will make you stronger. “Those who overcome themselves are strong.” Instead of being broken by volatile market forces, allow the outworn thought patterns and emotional patterns to symbolically die and embrace your life and your trading fully in the present moment.