“Be wary of any enterprise that requires new clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau
If you have heard of minimalism before, then you probably Google-d it at one point and found a few blogs where people own 41 material possessions and pride themselves on taking a picture of every single thing and posting it on their website.
But that's just one extreme. The truth is that just like anything else, there are varying degrees. Provided you are practicing in a way that suits you, there is no right or wrong way to do it.
My goal in this post is not to convert you into a minimalist.
I only want to introduce you to the idea that it may be something that you can experiment with in your trading. It was a real eye opener for me, both personally and trading wise, and I wholeheartedly believe that no matter where you sit on the “stuff scale” between owning 19 things and being a hoarder, there is always room…for creating more room.
Not so that you can fill it with more stuff. But so you can breathe easier and truly enjoy what you have.
I grew up being around a lot of stuff. We were not rich, far from it actually. But my parents have the mentality that they need to save every single thing because they might need it later. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just their way of seeing the world.
My point is that I adopted the same mentality from an early age. I would save everything I could until I had no room to store it all. Naturally, that carried over into my trading. I had so many indicators on my chart, that I kept missing trade setups.
But I slowly realized that this had to change.
At first, I got rid of a couple of things in my life that I knew were not working. Then slowly I got rid of more things. I am now downright ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things that I do not need. But I absolutely love the things I do have.
For me, the primary value of adopting a minimalistic mindset, at least for a period of time, is to just clean the slate completely. Then you are free to add back in only things that work.
My trading has followed a similar evolution. Here are five ways that applying minimalism to your trading might be able to help you too.
1. Start Fresh
Above all else, I believe that becoming more minimalist in your trading forces you to strip it all down and start from almost zero. This will help you see things from a new perspective and question every single indicator, news event and setup that you are currently watching.
Only after you do this, can you add things back in because they are really needed. Not just because you have been using them for so long.
2. Find Focus
Having fewer indicators and things to watch will help you focus on trading a few things well, instead of flipping through tons of charts and time frames like people flip through TV stations. Sometimes, we don't realize that we are watching so many different things until we stop watching them.
3. Get New Ideas
Now that you have dropped some of the things that are not working for you, now you have more space to explore other ideas that might be more profitable than what you are trading now. Examine each idea for awhile and see if you like it or not. If not, then drop it and move on to the next new idea.
4. It Carries Over to Your Personal Life
If you apply minimalism to your trading and you start to see positive results, there is a good chance that you will start to find ways to use it in your personal life also. For me, it happened the other way around, but which ever way you choose to try it, give it a chance for 30 days and see what happens. The experiment could improve your life as a whole.
5. Make Trading Fun Again
Having less trading clutter can help you trade better and give you more clarity. When this happens, you usually start winning more, trading becomes more fun and a lot less stressful.
Wondering where to get started? Here is a short list of resources that can get you on your way.
- The Trading Lifestyle Podcast, Episode #8 – How Lynette Allen Combines Minimalism, Line Charts And Only One Currency Pair To Trade For A Living
- Mnmlist – Zen Habits author Leo Babauta writes about being minimal, on the most minimal blog design ever.
- The Minimalists – One of the biggest minimalist blogs out there.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
One first places that you can start cutting back on the unnecessary clutter is on your trading desk. Do you really need eight screens? Maybe, but what if you could do just as well with less? Check out these private trading desks from around the world. I think you will find that many of them are pretty simple and tidy.
Regardless of what you think of minimalism, I would recommend you give it a try as a way to become a better trader. It might not work for you or it might be the best thing you have ever done. All I know is that it has not only helped me become a better trader, but a happier person.
Have you ever tried going hardcore minimalist? Or even just a little bit? Let us know about your experience in the comments below…