Tribute to Chester Bennington

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the frontman of Linkin Park, whom many of us in my generation grew up with

I woke up to he news of Mr Chester having passed away due to suicide.

Linkin Park’s music, fronted by Chester with his distinctive style and expressions through his screams and yet fluid vocals, gave solace to many who can relate to the songs the band wrote.

I am one of those who found solace in their music during the worst times of my life. It may sound crazy, but it is known as a fact that when feeling low, listening to music that express your feelings can be therapeutic, instead of you expressing it yourself through self-hurt.

Suicide is not something to be taken lightly and the irrationality of it is well understood by those who are lucky, privileged, perhaps, to have never experienced going through depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses that create thought loops that lead to one conclusion, as one of their song titles aptly put: In the End  (it doesn’t even matter)

I won’t be adding contrived statements on how this is related to trading. I have already discussed about mental issues affecting trading in a previous post.

Dedicated to those who are pushed to the edge. There is always the choice to be made. TO jump, or to step back, and pick yourself up again. Fail, pick yourself up, and carry on away from the edge towards infinite possibilities that you never knew were there.

Dreams are meant for you to happen. Ending it all ends everything, including your chance at making dreams come true.

Trade Smart, Trade Casual, and seek help if you find you’re pushed to the edge.

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How long did it take for Harry Potter to become published?

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I think most people would be familiar with how the idea of Harry Potter popped into her head. The story is that:

After working at Amnesty International in London, Rowling and her then boyfriend decided to move to Manchester,[23] where she worked at the Chamber of Commerce.[24] In 1990, while she was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry “came fully formed” into her mind.[23][41]

That’s from Wikipedia. Not many people, unless you read the backstory of how the first Harry Potter book got finally published,  it was only until 7 years later, and through a sheer stroke of luck when the publisher’s daughter had shown interest in the story to her father that caught his attention.

In that 7 years, she went through struggles, poverty, divorce, single parenthood. All while still focused, and determined to complete the first manuscript. And if it weren’t for the publisher’s daughter, we may never have the magic of Harry Potter today.

So the same goes for trading. You may have “seen the light”, or have found some secret formula to trading. But that is not enough to be successful. How to execute the formula, and have the mental edge to handle to inherent drawdowns, and not to give up trying and trying…and even needing a little luck in the end, to get the capital to grow your account, all while handling life itself.

Trading is a tough game. Yet it is so attractive to many because of how “easy” it is make money (and lose it). To succeed consistently, it can take years. As it did for me, and as it did for J.K Rowling, who always had the idea, the secret of Harry Potter, yet needed to go through so many trials and tribulations, and even needed a stroke of luck, to eventually reach where she is right now.

Are you willing to do the same? Or just looking for the secret formula and expect to lay back and let the money roll right in? Forget that idea. It’s what those $3000 per course salesmen are selling. And that’s all they are doing. Selling a dream.

Dreams are for you to make them happen. Or they will just be dreams in your head until the end your days.

It’s all in your own hands, not in others.

Put in the hard work, and time, for even a chance to reach success.

All the best!

@smartcasualtrader

What does trading success mean to you?

 

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Credit to @Sarcasm on Facebook

When I shared this to my personal Facebook timeline, a friend of mine asked an excellent question, that led to a great discussion about how we all need to see success in a different light.

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Success is most easily, but lazily, measured in some form of KPI: Grades, salary, rank, job position. So when my friend asked the first question, it was a very good observation that indeed we have inherent biases that success has only one face.

The lady stepping out of the expensive looking car is clearly being represented to be the successful person. But how about the other characters in, and out, of the picture?

In trading, I learnt that in fund managment terms, the KPI for success is apparently known as the “alpha“. If you’re a fund manager, with a high alpha, you’d be considered to be more successful than other fund managers, simply put. Similar to being graded and streamed into different classes of different competencies, those with higher grades are deemed to be more successful.

Yet we know that the relationship between these traditional KPIs and success is not that clear in the end.

A SAHM trading a tiny capital of $100 returning 1% a month, consistently, is, to me, more successful than a top grade fund manager taking 20% service charges managing a $1 billion fund which is unable to match the market benchmark.

We all have been accustomed to typical images of success. But these days, we are seeing things change. Hopefully, this mindset that success is not simply exceeding a pre-existing set of KPIs, but a personal, meaningful outcome from hard work, resilience, or taking the leap of faith to grab an opportunity to pursue dreams, can spread further, making society more inclusive rather than exclusive.

Trading Smart, is not about knowledge, but wisdom that you cannot beat top fund managers who have many more years of experience and knowledge. But if you trade Casual, you leverage on your edge against them: You set your own benchmark of success, and are not tied to traditional KPIs like they are. This is the Smart Casual Trading philosophy.

One of my favourite Ted talks about success taught me that success is not about hitting the goal. But rather, it’s the process, the journey, that matters. And everyone has their own journey, their own path towards their personal success.

How to trade Smart and Casual when under stress, or suffering from mental illness?

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Depression, anxiety are increasingly common.

So far I’ve been blogging in a pretty lighthearted manner. And on reflection, I haven’t really talked much about what goes behind the scenes of the Smart Casual Trading method. I’ve shared about drawdown in my Forex Help SG Group on Facebook, where I aim to help struggling traders in forex.

I realize, the way I have pitched the way I trade as being Smart, Casual, may give the impression that I may be making it sound too good to be true. So I felt, okay. It’s time for me to reveal a little bit more behind what appears to be a lighthearted approach towards trading.

I still believe very strongly, and have the results to show, that being smart and casual towards trading forex is the best approach. But I must say it is very hard to do so under certain situations. And such is life.

I have a strange type of depression for many years. I am not a happy-go-lucky kind of person. In fact, I take things too seriously most of the times.  I have swings and down cycles of mood, and it shows on my face very clearly.

Stress, depression, anxiety are increasingly common. And yet, these are what pushes some to seek solutions to their problems at work, at home: Money is one of the best ways to buy temporary relief, or even permanent relief, if the source of stress comes from struggling with income.

The sharks are out there seeking these poor suffering souls, promising “no risk” secrets to trading to make hundreds a day. And when the truth comes out, these souls sink deeper into debt and depression.

I am fortunate to have no major issues with money. I live frugally, and the only debt I have is towards my car, which I have taken up as a challenge to test the Smart Casual Trading method rather than as a reward or as an impulsive purchase; as well as for my flat, a modest 4 room BTO which is great value for money. And of course, the debt to my parents, for their unwavering support through the darkest times of my life.

But despite these fortunes, the internal emotional mechanisms are broken, and I have lived with them for many years.

Hence it is indeed strange, that a person like myself would come up with a “Smart Casual Trading” style, which emphasizes on being chill, lighthearted, and emotionally on the lighter side.

Perhaps it is precisely because I find it stressful and emotionally draining to trade forex, that I had to make it smart casual. I had to make it comfortable. I had to make it lighthearted. I had to make it possible, even for those who are deemed by professionals to be “out of their league”.

My dear friends. We are in a league of our own. We have an edge against the so-called professionals that only we ourselves, as individuals, can find, and sharpen the edge, and use it against the professionals.

So don’t trade like the pros. Trade smart, and trade casual, because that’s your edge against them.


So the very first principle in the Smart Casual Trading method is baby steps. Babypips is a pretty popular website to learn about forex and I like the approach, taking one pip and a time. Similarly, the Smart Casual Trading method emphasizes on baby steps, starting slow instead of crashing everything you MUST now into a 4 hour course (as an educator, 4 hours of teaching has only maybe 30 minutes of effective learning from students). Hence, there is less stress. The emphasis is on building confidence, slowly.

The second principle is to accept and change our perspectives about failure, that failure is necessary to achieve success. There is plenty of proof of this, but it is still frowned upon. It is up to ourselves to build up our own resilience to failure, which ultimately will launch us above those who never failed before. With this resilience, it builds up emotional strength, and eases our depression, worry, and builds our confidence.

Lastly, the Smart Casual Trading method is all about simplicity, focusing on the process, earning little victories while losing as small as possible, until you hit a breakthrough as you go on your journey. With the breakthrough comes a great surge of confidence. But it doesn’t cure depression, or anxiety. But at least, now, you are ready for the next resistance, the next down cycle, because such is trading. With every breakthrough will come the next resistance. But with your built up resilience, confidence and emotional strength, you have a very sharp edge over those who cruised their way through exams and work as professionals, and finding hard still to beat the market, as you chip at it a little at a time, in a Smart, Casual manner, all the while building up more confidence and resilience, and finally, perhaps with my help, to consistent profits.

I hope this encourages you.

Dedicated to all sufferers of mental illnesses and the accompanying stigma from folks who need to be more aware and mindful of everyday people with hidden, silent illnesses.

James