Week 21: The Utility of Empty Space

Thirty spokes unite at one hub to make a wheel,
But what is missing makes it useful.

Clay is shaped into a bowl,
But it is the empty space that makes it useful.

Cut out doors and windows make a room,
But its empty space makes it useful.

So, what is there is beneficial –
But what is not there makes things useful.

The quote above is from the Tao Te Ching. If you are unfamiliar with it, it’s basically a collection of poems written by a Chinese philosopher known as Lao-Tzu. The book, translated to  English, is often mentioned as a favourite among world-class performers with fans including Ray Dalio (Hedge Fund founder), Tim Ferriss (Author and Investor) and Joshua Waitzkin (Chess prodigy).

The value of the poems come from their open endedness and the ability for the reader to interpret them differently. Music producer, Rick Rubin, uses it as a problem solving tool and believes readers get what they want from it. The poems have a distinct ability to give you a new perspective on things. It is no wonder that some read one or two poems every morning before they start their day to give them some detachment.

The poem above can be interpreted in many ways. For example, maybe you are feeling rushed, busy and stressed out. Empty space in this context can mean time. It can be everywhere yet nowhere when you need it. It seems abundant but when you need it most, it can be difficult to find. Why do you need empty space? Because it is useful and without it, you are unable recharge, learn new things and appreciate life.

Thoughts on the Trading Week

It was an enjoyable trading week with a lot of lessons learned. There were a few tricky decisions to make but I managed to navigate them well. Along the way, I discovered a new way to filter opportunities to only end up with the better trades which makes decision making easier and with less rumination.

My trade plans for the week were accurate so I’m quite happy with the planning side of things. My execution wasn’t as good as it could be as I missed a great opportunity to short AUDUSD which was entirely my own fault. Fortunately, I have devised a way to avoid this from happening again.

My journaling and planning process has been streamlined further to cut out some of the work that had very low utility. I’ve added more structure to it to reflect the sequence of thoughts I should be following when analysing a market. My weekly document which includes and trade planning, analysis and day-to-day commentary/reviews is now around 5000 words which is a good balance between detail and time investment.

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