I Am Not My P&L

July 16, 2020

Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture.

~ Anthony De Mello, Awareness

Remember a time when all the mattered was whatever happened on your block, your street, or within the five or six houses nearest you?

When the only people that mattered where the ones you physically saw every day at your house, walking by your house, or playing in their nearby front yards?

Or spending time with your friends and being blissfully unaware of whatever was screaming on the front page of the newspaper or whatever some stuffed shirt politician said or whichever perceived enemy was threatening to “take our jobs,” “threaten our peace,” or “sway public opinion.”

Back when being “sick” was celebrated as justification for maybe staying home from school for one day?

Happiness was the default mode.

Of course, few kids under the age of 10 realize how good they have it when they do. There’s always plenty to complain about. I don’t want to eat my green beans! Jenny stole my blanket! I fell and scraped my knee! The dog ate my stuffy! I don’t want to run errands! I’m bored! Dad, play with me!

It is only in hindsight that we reflect back to how great we had it. Or at least how much simpler our lives were.

I don’t have a solution for adults to rid themselves of being polluted and contaminated by the stupidity or society and culture, but I do know that it is helpful to remind myself the majority of the feelings I feel because of these outside forces are within my control. I can’t change the world around me, but I do get to choose how it affects me. Every once in a while, it is extremely valuable for me to take a deep breath and attempt to step outside my thoughts to become aware of what is affecting me from the outside and to then recognize what it is — something outside. It is not me. I don’t need to identify myself with whatever the crisis of the day is. It exists with or without me.

This is also extremely helpful to me in Trading.

I am not my P&L.

My equity curve is not my human worth.

New highs don’t make me superhuman, nor do new lows make me a schmuck.

These are just data points. Useful for guiding decision making, but not as a measure of who I am.

When the screens are powered down at the end of each day, my Son doesn’t care — isn’t even aware of — how much money I made or lost, he’s just happy to know that Daddy now has time to play.