Tao Te Ching (Chapter 44)
Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
(By Lao Tsu, interpreted by Stephen Mitchell)
In trading, success is measured by how much money you make. Interestingly enough, when I originally typed the previous sentence, I made a typo. I typed “monet” instead of “money.” The sentence read like this: In trading, success is measured by how much “monet” you make. Claude Monet “was a founder of French impressionist painting” (Wikipedia). So this fortuitous mistake, influenced by the Tao, seems to imply that success in trading is measured by how much art you make. This appears to be the Tao’s perspective.
Trading as Art
“If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.” But if your happiness depends on monet, will you be happy with yourself? Happiness flows with expressed creativity. What do you want to create with your trading? Do you want to design a beautifully conceived, multiple strike-price options trade that gives you a trading edge? Do you want to delicately structure a trade that deftly exploits the weaknesses inherent in leveraged ETFs? Could you imagine painting a number of trades over multiple time frames with certain instruments (stocks, futures, currencies, and/or options) that entered together would give you a greater trading edge than if the trades were taken singly over the same time period? Like an artist, colorfully design your trades to create a mosaic that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.