[dc]W[/dc]e certainly live in a time of wonder. Science has pushed back the veil of superstition and mystery; progress allows us to live longer, comfortable lives and to devote our attention, usually, to pursuits beyond mere survival. In so many ways, this must truly be the best time for a human to have lived—we are very lucky. Still, though, I wonder if something important has been lost.
Today was the Winter Solstice. Perhaps you think of this simply the shortest day of the year, and now we know that all the days will be longer leading into summer—a simple astronomical fact. More likely, you don’t think of this day at all, but nearly all indigenous cultures recognized deep symbolism and power in this day—rebirth, renewal, a pivotal point speaking of the danger of extremity and perversity of imbalance. They knew that from this, the darkest night, every year grows rebirth and renewal, blossoming into spring. It’s no coincidence that so many of our important modern holidays cluster near this time of the year, but I still wonder if, in our rush to mastery and progress, we have lost touch with some important truths.
I wonder if people who lived closer to the earth may have had an intuitive sense of things that elude us today—of natural ebb and flow, of cycles, of the necessity of growth. In the markets, we formalize this into some aspects of analysis: we know that the most extreme trends often lead to reversals (“the fullness of yin carries within itself the seed of yang…”), and that extreme sentiment, either positive or negative, cannot produce a sustained move. What we might not always appreciate is that there are always cycles at work: cycles within ourselves, within society, art, politics—every facet of the zeitgeist of our age. Every nation, business, individual, and endeavor is subject to growth, maturity, and decay. For instance, if you are on the path of learning to trade, your efforts must have a rhythm. You cannot push all the time; there is a time to study, to trade, to work as hard as you can, but there also must be time for reflection and growth. “To every thing there is a season…” As dancers say, we dance in the silences. Every thing in its proper place and time.
I hope 2013 was a prosperous year, a time of growth and success for you, personally and professionally. I look forward to the coming year, and to sharing it with you, whether as blog readers, participants in my trading course, or research clients. I’m exciting to see the trading course finished next year, and then perhaps broadening the scope to cover some specific topics. Already, there is a solid community growing around the course material: traders sharing ideas and helping each other think through the process and ask the right questions. It is very exciting to see this, and the invitation is always open to anyone who would like to participate; just register (it’s free and always will be) for the course and start working through the material and participating in the forum. Next year I will be slightly broadening the scope of this blog, covering some topics more tangentially related to trading, perhaps focusing on aspects of learning, performance, and managing risks that go far beyond markets. One of the themes I want to explore in much more depth is this cycle theme, and how an awareness of ebb and flow and bring true mastery and power to so many disciplines. Another topic I have been thinking about a lot lately has to do with the limits of our knowledge—what is known and what is knowable—and I have some interesting and, I hope, productive thoughts to share with you there, as well. I have plans that involve bringing in some guest bloggers, and I’ll have a few other surprises along the way, so stay tuned.
This may be my last blog post for 2013, and, if so, I will see you on the other side. Best wishes, all health and happiness to you, your families, and your businesses in the coming year.