Stress, Change, Tony Robbins and seeking clarity.

It’s pretty logical (obvious even) that stress can be a good motivator, it never fails to surprise me however just how effective it is at cutting through the fog that often clouds the mind and how it can help to deliver you to some pretty clear conclusions.

This is something I think about a lot, sometimes I think about it at times of stress, other times I think about when I’m pretty stress free, in the bath usually. The effects of stress and arousal in the professional environment always makes for interesting reading, it’s something that we study a fair bit in aviation, I’m sure many will be familiar with the bell curve that charts performance over stress and it’s associated results.

What I find fascinating however is that just like the markets, this works on both a macro and a micro scale. Usually this principle is described or implemented in order to produce the most efficient output for any given, specific task. I’m not sure it is viewed quite so regularly however on the bigger scale of day to day life. We all know that high stress isn’t sustainable for healthy living long term. I think a lot of people mask this by going though life with a base level of stress that might be fairly low (sometimes artificially low) but still allow themselves to be vulnerable to mini shocks, individual events that cause peak stress followed by a return to base stress fairly quickly.

This frantic way of living is something that I was guilty of for a long time, I’m sure as shit ain’t perfect so I won’t pretend they don’t creep in at times but after I realised these mini shocks are no more sustainable than conventionally high stress levels, I kind of hit a point where I made a choice not to be susceptible to them any more.

What do I mean and what’s the point? Tony Robbins has a principle that change only comes about when the realisation of continuing without change is more undesirable than the work required to implement change. I think this is genius, its also pretty obvious once you consider it but hey, thats probably what it means to be genius. Tim Ferris calls the moment we realise this a “Harajuku Moment” and I think about it quite often. I’ve had a few of these moments myself, at least I don’t think it’s against the rules to have many of them. The takeaway for me is that they are worthless unless you can remember why you had them and what your conclusions were after.

What I’ve concluded from my own moments of clarity is how easy it is to convince yourself of something. The mind is an insidious enemy of the self sometimes. It will happily conspire in silence, colluding with enemies unseen to take you from a place of high motivation, understanding and inspired aspiration to a warm, cosy and smotheringly comfortable place of safety. Safety is good, safety is fine, with a wife and small baby safety should be high on the agenda. Don’t take me literally now, safety at face value is of huge importance let’s be clear. Trading however, is not a safe decision. I think if you are committing to attempting to learn to trade, properly as it should be done its anything but safe.

Trading always requires more time away from family, always requires more research and study and always requires more mental capital than you ever think it will. The financial risks are obvious but the risks to the pretty little vision we have of ourselves is less so. I think it is this that has kept me going trying to learn this game for so long, even if I haven’t learned to make money, I’ve learned so much about who I am, how I feel about myself, how I make decisions and what I want for the future.It is this learning that has the potential not only to be an unwelcome wake up call to some but it can also shatter some pretty deep rooted illusions we have of ourselves, again this can potentially be far from safe, particularly if you’ve built a life on those misconceptions.

My main reason for writing this post was as a reminder to myself, to make a post it note for the future to help me remember how far I’ve actually come till now. I’ve enjoyed writing it and if anyone else ever reads it maybe it’ll be interesting for you too. I look forward to reading it again in the future and I hope it helps to remind me (should I ever forget) that on my last Harajuku moment everything was clear, the supposed safety or danger of decisions was absent. I saw the success my efforts would bring and the actions I needed to put in place to ensure that success. I saw the twists and turns this journey will bring us as a family, the decisions it will help make and the deep rooted and unequivocal commitment I’m now convinced I have to apply to my learning.

I wish you all blue skies and a market filled with one way easily identifiable momentum! To my future self, I hope you’re reading this from the comfort of the G280!

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