If you’ve read any of the posts on The War of Trading, you already know that I’m a big fan of Steven Pressfield. The War of Art, Do the Work, and Turning Pro have completely altered the way I look at writing and the challenge of the blank page.
Pressfield is currently preparing for the release of his new book, The Lion’s Gate, which tells the true story of what it was like to participate in Israel’s Six Day War. While I don’t have any particular interest in reading it, Pressfield has been writing a series of blog posts about his process for creating the book that has been absolutely fascinating to me.
Yesterday’s post about Pressfield’s creative process had to great points that every trader could take to heart: we all need help, and sometime that help can come from an accidental rearranging of our processes.
We All Need Help
Pressfield openly admits that he was about to write his new book as historical fiction in a style similar to how he wrote Gates of Fire. Despite being pretty confident in his head that this was the route he would take for The Lion’s Gate, he decided to run the concept by a friend.
That friend immediately pointed out a critical error that Pressfield had not considered: The topic for the new book was far to recent to be used for historical fiction.
Now Pressfield is a smart dude and a fantastic writer, so he would have figured this out on his own eventually. However, his friend helped him shortcut to the end without having to write the entire book in the wrong way first.
Because trading is a very independent business, it is easy for us to isolate ourselves and focus exclusively on the contents of our own heads. Many times, that can lead to situations where we overlook simple things that anyone else could have easily seen for us.
The best way to avoid these types of mistakes is to get out and talk about what we are doing with like-minded people. Even if you don’t have any other traders in your life, get active on twitter or start a blog and you will meet plenty of people that will be happy to look over your process and give you feedback.
That feedback might shave years off of your learning curve.
Toward the end of the post, Pressfield tells a story of authors James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. The story is that Joyce leaves a novel with Hemingway in order to get his opinion on how to fix it.
Hemingway never bothers to read the novel, but accidentally returns it out of order. Joyce assumes that Hemingway reordered the novel intentionally, and finds that it works much better in the new order.
Sometimes, we have everything we need to be successful right in front of us. All we need is to look at our work in a different light or a different order to recognize its value. Having a friend who can help with this, intentionally or not, is crucial to finding out way when we are lost in the weeds.
Who do you talk to about your trading? How can they help you see your work from a different perspective?