One of my favorite yoga concepts is "beginner's mind". Beginner's mind is embracing a Zen like place where you don't have all the answers, and you don't have to. You trust and enjoy the ride. More simply stated, when we assert that we have 'mastery' over something we shut the door for growth and new ideas that are not in alignment with our "masterful" understanding of how things should be.
In chess, a master is someone with an ELO rating above 2200. However, a grandmaster has a rating above 2500. A 2500 player will trounce a 2200 player nine out of ten times. So the master is actually far from being all knowing. In fact, quite the opposite. The chess master is eminently fallible and human.
Trust me, I am a chess master by rating.
The power of approaching all things in life with a beginner's mind enables us to be like children. Asking questions, and approaching the world around us from a state of wonder and awe. Accessing this childlike state of wonder begins to be more challenging as we grow older. Older people naturally become more cynical and less open to change. They've seen a lot and they know what they like and what they don't like. They'd prefer to be comfortable rather than explore new possibilities that could be potentially risky.
However, it is in stepping out of our proverbial 'box' that life becomes more interesting and stimulating. By stepping out of our boxes we also open the possibility that we will find something new, learn something that we didn't know before, or experience some feeling that we have never felt before.
What does all this have to do with financial markets?
Most prop trading firms and hedge funds prefer to hire people with zero finance background. Why do they do this? Because those with fewer preconceived notions and more open minds tend to make better traders.
The more we think we know, the less open we are to learning new things and entertaining new possibilities for how the future could unfold. Perhaps more importantly, in financial markets it was what we think we know that just ain't true that can often cost us the most.
Not knowing is a powerful place to stand. And accessing a beginner's mind in a world filled with people trying to prove how much they know is also a powerful place to be.
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