Stop Your Endless Effort

I’ve said it before, every man needs an endless project. Something to throw themselves into fully. To give themselves to. A challenge.

Markets attract hard workers. They attract the smart, the overachievers, those willing to put in the effort. The grinders. The self starters.

Then they consume them.

Years. Years lost in forums and threads searching for systems and ideas, back-tests, methods, tools, strategies. Few are lucky enough to avoid this trap. “I just need to understand one more good method, dial my strategy in just a little more”, the thought loops forever in their heads. Meanwhile a rolodex of useless information lays at their feet.

Those that do avoid the strategy trap, often fall into another…. the trap of endless self-help and psychology. Traveling never-ending paths of emotional difficulty through past events and childhood trauma. “There must be a reason I do what I do, why I am what I am. I know I’ll figure it out one day”, they think to themselves.

Yet they never find an answer that satisfies their need.

They remain in the comments. Always after another nugget of wisdom or signal.

Over time, their passionate dreams of who they are trying to become solidify into crusty, lifeless memories they never achieved. Another frozen corpse just shy of Everest’s Peak. They stand alone with piles of endless effort and no meaningful result.

 All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
 All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
 What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:7-9

The above statement is true, regardless of your personal worldview or beliefs. Proven more so today than ever before yet no less true in any period of human history.

So why is this?

Why are so many capable people failures in the end for a game that should be reasonably simple to solve? It’s not lack of intelligence. It’s not lack of effort. Not lack of knowledge or time or desire.

You are unsatisfied.

You want more. You want more money, you want more time, you want more knowledge. If someone offers you more, more of anything, you will take it. This is the problem. In markets, there is always more. At least in the offering. There is always another trade, another setup, another dollar you could have made.

Each one of these next potential opportunities offers to fill that lack of satisfaction in another area of your life.

Life is never perfect. It’s often not even that great. Why do people spent endless hours staring into a screen? It’s more pleasant than real life. There are few things better than being successful. To do something and to have done it well. This, like water in a river, only last a moment and we then pass on to the next.

Of all the things we are never without, lack is the one that dominates the human mind.

The burden of being present and an alive person is that each moment is measured individually. Life is an aggregate and we, like a trade, feel each one. The last one does hold beyond the next. Therefor, the satisfaction of success in anything is limited. Limited to the moment of it’s completion. Then… life moves on.

In this moment, we chose to continue instead of complete.

We move to the next thing. Back into back-testing. Back into study, and effort and work and trying. Even those who obtain some level of success still find themselves on an never ending loop of effort and digging and grinding.


This is misery. Maybe it seems normal to you now but it is misery. It’s also not something you can do long term in markets, trading your own capital. You will one day, give it all back in search of that satisfaction.

We know how to start things. We know how to work but we don’t know how to end things.

You must end it.

This will never come from something external. You will never reach a place where you say “There, now I have done it, I will be done now. Because I did x, I can be finished”. You have to find a way to declare the end in your own work.

As an artist, you decide when the last pen stroke has hit the paper. You are not “happy” with it. You are simply done.

As the creator, you have to decide when that is. When a piece is complete. It is the same in markets. The day is done when you say it is. The system is done when you say it is. The research is done when you say it is. Anything less is insecurity, wanting, needing. Markets love needing. No matter how clever or hard working, they eat needy people.

I can’t help you.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you a way to do this. I cannot give you something that will allow you to finish your work. Only you can do that. Only you know what will satisfy your endless needing. I know what satisfies mine but it will not be what satisfies yours.

Like Forest Gump, after running across the USA multiple times, you have to decide to be finished. Just as, one day you decided to start.

I just felt like running” needs to be followed, at some point by “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.“.

You are the creator of your experience. You are the creator of your journey. Therefor, just as you decided to start, you must also decide when you are done. To trade well, you must do this daily. Often multiple times per day, per trade perhaps.

“This one is done”.

Now, move on. At no point will you have seen enough. You will never feel that great sense of satisfaction you were looking for. You will never reach the goal you have set, only make a new one once you get closer. The problem you solve today will create a new one tomorrow.

Take a step back. Understand that it never ends. Stop grinding. Stop hammering into long nights. Stop digging for more answers. You have what you need and, naturally over time, what you need next will come to you. no different than a trade setup.

As a fly fisherman, I cannot do anything to catch a fish but toss my line with as much care as possible. Everything else, I just have to accept. Enjoy the sights, the sounds, the time to think while I let the fish do their job of biting.

Take that last cast.

This changes your internal positioning. It must. After you’ve done the work, after your spent the time, after your earned the right to call it complete, you must now allow yourself to receive whatever it is this life has for you.

I would argue, the only way to go where you want to go, to get what you hope to get, is to put in massive effort, then call it complete. Finished. Then receive whatever is on the other end of the action.

This is a mind bender for most.

Most people cannot care to the level you need to care and then just…. let it go.

It’s an impossible task. It feel reckless at least and totally insane at worst. This is why consensus in markets cannot win. It never will. It cannot wrap it’s head around this. It’s what makes trading art. We cannot control the success of the outcome, only the effort put in and our releasing of the result to chance. Subjectivity. A big fat maybe.

We are engineers of “….. perhaps”

Once the effort is in, the action released, if chance offers you the opportunity to be right, the least you can do is take full advantage of it and be grateful for the experience.