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The Spiritual Side of Trading: Dealing with Pride, Arrogance and Vanity


Scripture states: "Pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:8. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen pride destroy a trader. I can't count the times pride has cost me dearly, resulting in the opposite, which is humility. The markets can humble you so fast it makes your head (and your account) spin.

Yet we see it all the time among novices, especially on forums and news groups. Invariably there will be traders on these venues who have to tell everyone how well they are doing. They have to brag about their trading prowess, and crow about their success, whether real or imagined.

When pride enters the picture, you can be certain that disaster is just ahead. When you put your ego on the line, get ready to have it smashed. Interestingly, scripture has some pertinent things to say about pride. In the book of Proverbs, chapter 8, verse 13, God is quoted as saying: "...I hate pride and arrogance..." A little further on, in chapter 11, verse 2, it says: "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

"A man's pride brings him low," according to Proverbs 29:23. Scripture mentions the word "pride" no less than 46 times; the word "proud" is mentioned 47 times, and there is never anything good said for those who are proud or have pride. We are told that the pride of your heart will deceive you.

The markets have certain attributes that are true. As far as a trader is concerned, the markets are all-powerful and all-knowing. Markets are like the 600-pound gorilla — they go wherever they want to go. Additionally, all knowledge about the underlying is in the market. Any information that is not generally known is not in the market, and so the trader has no need to be concerned about it. But he needs to take care that he never gets "cocky" (crows like a rooster) or vain or careless when he's standing in the path of the market!

My friends, I could go on and on quoting from what the Bible has to say about pride, arrogance and vanity. But suffice it to say that none of it is in favor of any of them. If you find that pride is a problem with your trading, then you need to confront it, deal with it, and get rid of it.

Also, learn to keep your mouth shut about your trading. Keep quiet about your investments. The less said about your financial life, the better. I have seen traders get up at seminars and tell everyone else there how they are cleverly beating the tax man. But agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) often secretly sign up for such seminars. They take notes and names. I know this for a fact because it happened at one of my seminars.

Do not brag about your trading on forums or any other public venue. You never know who is listening in. When you tell about the great trade you made, whether or not it is true, don't be amazed when you get a phone call or a letter from the IRS!

Derivative transactions, including futures, are complex and carry a high degree of risk. They are intended for sophisticated investors and are not suitable for everyone. There are numerous other factors related to the markets in general or to the implementation of any specific trading program which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of hypothetical performance results, and all of which can adversely affect actual trading results. For more information, see the Risk Disclosure Statement for Futures and Options.