We all know that the market is a challenging environment. More often than not, the ones with additional knowledge seem to be having a greater level of success in the market. This additional knowledge can be about information, methods, or processes. To get the first, most people rely on a network or remain glued to the TV or some WA group or the other. For methods, people attend courses, watch YouTube, etc. For processes, people have to practice what is learned or developed by themselves etc.
In all the three above elements, a bit of curiosity is very necessary to keep us going. Curiosity is the strong desire to learn or know something. Those who are curious may also actively seek out challenges and new experiences to broaden their horizons. When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to the subject. When the ideas come you will recognize them.
As we grew up, it was largely curiosity that drove us to know more, as we discovered the world slowly. But as we age, we get caught up in the game of life and curiosity begins to take a back seat. Most of us come to the market when we are older, i.e. beyond the curiosity age. But if we have entered the market to make a professional career, we will have to revisit our curious nature once again. One of the requirements to succeed in the market is the need to be creative- because the market changes almost every day. Critical thinking and curiosity are the keys to creativity.
Now, it is not difficult to revive the habit of curiosity in you. But then bringing action along with is a very different thing. Therefore, we can have two types here. First is curiosity with focus. The second is a sense of curiosity without focus.
The latter is a bit tricky and largely useless. It makes a person flit from item to item without taking any consistent action on what one learns. In a way, it is like being a child all over again! Children, as they learn, just keep moving from one thing to another, seeming very interested in something – until the next interesting item shows up! For new market players who are into learning (particularly technical analysis), this is a frequent malady. As they find newer elements that seem to open up a new window towards success, they flip rapidly- from price action to indicators to volume profiles to more esoteric stuff like Gann and Elliot. But it is more the desire to learn about these possibilities than to use them to profit from. So, by the time they start using one method or approach, they get fascinated by another one, and the practice of the first is abandoned.
Thus, they end up achieving almost nothing. They may know a lot but almost nothing of what is known is ever useful to them! So, fractured curiosity sends you in multiple directions, preventing any attention to implementation or practice. Hence one is seldom able to see it to completion. So, your efforts don’t accumulate and you are simply exploring. Good fun but seldom leads to sustained success.
ON the other hand, directed curiosity can be a powerful weapon. Here one builds a habit of being curious and bringing focus towards the element we are curious about. This keeps you in the domain of a particular task. So, you will ask the right questions, you will explore that item to solve more problems. You will then start reading more about it, first in the same domain and progressively, in other domains but with a focus on how that outside element can create productive thoughts and action in the chosen area.
Once you start broadening the area of your curiosity, you will doubtless learn more but your focus will always be to bring it back to your source of interest. E.g. I ventured out many years into the field of spirituality to achieve some clarity in thinking. That journey took me towards reading many books by many masters and I did learn a lot. But in and through all of it, my main focus was always on how to link what I learnt about the working of my mind to what I do in the markets! You then begin to get a series of flashes of recognition of where your actions were wrong and how you could have avoided those through the correct thinking. The master may be explaining it in a completely different context but life is one big complex thing with everything linked together so what is good in one area can be quite effectively remodeled to fit another area of life as well!
The non-focused curious person will start many things but finish only a few. In contrast, the focused and curious person will make sure that he keeps searching until he makes sure that he can complete that task.
This is what leads to a more consistent success. To use the TA example again, it is not difficult to learn the many aspects of TA but if we develop the curiosity to know about a couple of areas within TA and take the learning forward in that direction and do it with focus, chances of succeeding with TA whether to analyse or trade or invest using it becomes so much assured.
I can give my example on this. I started learning TA way back in 1981 and I was so hungry for knowing more about it that I just kept reading more books and using more software. I went this way until I had several hundred books and nearly 50 different software. They were indeed the pride of my possessions but didn’t do much for me. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I was just putting tick marks on a board of books and software and hence was the classic unfocused person with a lot of curiosity.
It is only when I shifted course to start focusing on what I already knew and started re-reading those books with a new intent of really knowing what I already thought I knew that changes began to occur.
Today, I still see the same behavior from many a budding new technical analyst and I try, gently, to propel them toward the more practical path. Unfortunately, this is something that people have to realize by themselves and until that dawning occurs, the unfocused curiosity behavior will rule.
But at the heart of it all lies Curiosity. Reawaken that, bring in the focus to channel the curiosity, and see the sudden and rapid change in the success ratio that you will experience in the markets! And in your life as well!