Zen DeBrucke is on today’s podcast. She is the author of “Your Inner GPS: Follow your Internal Guidance to Optimal Health, Happiness and Satisfaction.” Her goal is to help clients find a stress free and happy existence by getting in touch with their inner voice.
Michael and Zen start off talking about the inner GPS. Zen believes that everyone is born with this inner voice guiding them, but most lose sight of that influence. Buddhism and Daoism have strong beliefs in the use of meditation to help people use their minds as a tool rather than an operating system. The more people realize there is a flow within their body, the more they can train their mind to get into this energy. Once someone gets into that flow, they are able to understand their thoughts and emotions clearer.
Neuroplasticity is the next. Zen says she has a tool kit to make people’s minds move in different directions. Zen teaches practices that help move their brain into a different domain when they have a block or feel trapped. She uses an example about her and her father’s relationship as well as a coaching session she had with Van Jones.
Zen describes how each person’s internal guidance system is linked in with their destiny. This internal GPS is trying to help use the mind to move towards a persons optimal life. Zen uses an example about the owner of Cliff Bar, as well as a personal example of an experience she had at the Denver airport. Her experience, in short, lead her to catching a plane ride that she would have never been able to catch had she not listened to her internal GPS. Michael also shares a personal example he had about listening to his internal GPS which lead to a great business opportunity. All these examples show the constant battle between what your gut is telling you to do, and what your head is telling you to do.
Michael and Zen wrap the podcast up discussing the meaning of ones “life purpose”. We have thousands of life purposes rather than just one. True fulfillment comes from giving and contributing. You don’t get that feeling when you are too focused on on one item. Michael says that one of his life purposes is doing the splits.
Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel begins with a clip from the creator of the psychological concept of flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The first question Mihaly asks is, “What is the meaning of happiness? If each one of us is responsible and in control of our happiness, then how do you obtain happiness?” People feel the most happy when they are able to express who they really are. When people express their strengths, they are able to say, “Yes, this is who I am.” It makes life suddenly matter and creates happiness. Mihaly came up with the term “flow” from people he would interview and study. When they would describe being truly happy, they would describe the feeling as being carried by a current and floating along.
Mihaly brings up a personal experience from fighting in WWII. He said when people lost their property and personal belongings, most would crumble. This is when he became interested in the differences between people who were able to be strong internally as opposed to those who needed to lean on society and what it could provide for them. He says, “Everyone is the master of their own destiny and should not allow themselves to be pulled by the strings of fortune or fame.”
Mihaly then goes into how to gain flow in your own life. The first step is to be totally focused on an intention. How can you organize your life so you can have that focus everyday? Flow rarely just happens. You have to work at it and prepare yourself mentally, but you can get to the point where you don’t have to think about what you are doing. It just flows naturally. Mihaly uses surgeons and rock climbers as examples. Both disciplines require great concentration and muscle coordination. Once you are in the zone, you aren’t aware of anything else such as being a father, husband or what you are having for dinner. You are there simply as a surgeon or rock climber, present in the moment, flowing from one task to another in order to accomplish the end goal.
Michael then goes on to play another clip from Csikszentmihalyi where he talks about the “struggling artist.” He makes the point that you don’t have to be tortured to be creative. He goes into a study he did that showed extraordinary people mostly come from lower class or upper class families. He found that people who came from a fairly comfortable childhood didn’t seem to find the need to stretch and challenge themselves. Michael brings it all together with a thought provoking excerpt from Alan Watts.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
What is flow
How does flow happen
Dealing with worry
Addiction to thoughts
How to obtain happiness
“If you have a fairly comfortable childhood, but without too much support and too much challenge, you don’t see the necessity to stretch yourself, to get into new situations to explore or to break boundaries. You are just comfortable.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Markets go up, down, and sideways. They trend. They flow. They surprise. Have markets changed? Not only have markets changed, they will continue to change. Check your history books. If you have a valid market philosophy, learning to accept that change and flow with it is your greatest asset. No matter how ridiculous market moves appear at the beginning, and no matter how extended or irrational they seem at the end, following trends is the rational choice in a chaotic, changing world.
That thinking leaves trend followers as generalists when it comes to their trading strategy and that’s not easy to accept for many. The dominant trend within universities is ever-narrower specialization. A higher premium is placed on deep knowledge within a single field (read: fundamental expertise in one market), versus broad wisdom across multiple fronts.
For example, one trend following practitioner started trading trends in 1974—making hundreds of millions in profits and perhaps billions for clients. The major strategic elements of his trend following trading systems have never changed. He was blunt: “The markets are just the markets. I know that is unusual sounding.”
Occasionally, someone trying to promote something or start a debate will argue that trend following has to change due to changing market conditions. Specious. The root of trend following is based on responding to change. It is designed to be adaptable.
Does that mean every systematic trend trader will take the risk of shooting only for huge returns? No. Does that mean every trend trader will capture a trend in the exact same way? No. The trend following way has many practitioners and many recipes. However, just as there are thousands of car models, they are still cars.
Think about my words.
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