Sometimes, when it comes to trading, hard work and luck just aren’t enough to get profitable and stay profitable. Some people have naturally blessed the virtues that will make them great traders and some people can learn. In the end, some people will never learn regardless of how hard they try. Originally created by the early Catholic church the 7 Heavenly Virtues are described as a “habitual and firm disposition to do the good”. In terms of trading, for natural and savant, this means an ingrained predisposition to mitigate risk, control emotion and profit over the long term. For the less fortunate they are ideals to be embraced and emulated in the hopes of achieving a semblance of “trading grace” and attaining the level of Heavenly Trader.
“Discretion of sexual conduct”. At face value, this means not fooling around with every boy, girl or transgender you see. For some it means fidelity, sticking with one partner through thick and thin. When it comes to trading this means sticking with a single asset, or a small number of assets, instead of chasing profits all over the market. A chaste trader knows that the grass may look greener in another pasture, at the time, but true success comes with intimate knowledge of a single market.
“Restraint, moderation and deferred gratification”. Temperance. For some, this means outright abstinence. In terms of alcohol, sex, trading or any other fun thing there is in life to do. While this may be the answer for you it is likely the better answer is moderation. A temperate person understands that beer is a good thing, but too many can lead to drunkenness, hangovers, lost work and a downward spiral of alcoholism. That’s why one or two is enough, and then it’s time to move on. The same is true with trading. A temperate trader understands that you don’t have to trade all the time, and that over-trading leads to burn-out, frustration and losses.
“Generosity, love”. A generous trader takes the time to give back to the community. After all, it is the community that led to his/her success. No trader makes it on their own, they always have inspiration and help along the way, giving back is only right. Charity can come in many forms, the best is freely shared knowledge and experience to help others along their way. A wise man once said, “give a man a fish, he eats today. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime”. The best part is that by giving you also receive. Teachers often have new realizations while passing on knowledge, or pick up new tricks from unexpected sources.
“A careful and zealous nature”. Diligence is the quality of doing what it takes, whatever it takes. It is akin to perseverance and patience but denotes a doggedness of spirit, where no stone is left unturned. A diligent trader takes the time to learn all they can about how markets work, about the market they are interested in, the asset they are trading and all the events in the world that affect them. That way they understand what is happening when it is happening, and are able to choose the highest probability trades. This is opposite the lazy trader, the thrill seeker and the get-rich-quick-schemer. Those traders take no time to learn the market and are rewarded in kind.
“Forgiveness, mercy, sufferance”. Patience is one of a trader’s most tested virtues. It is the ability to quietly wait through the rough times, the bad times, the mixed markets, the false signals and the like until the right signal is present. Without patience, a trader will grow restless, frustrated or angry, emotions that can lead to poor trade decisions. The opposite of patience is wrath. A wrathful trader is not in control of their actions, consumed with rage, and a guaranteed loser.
“Compassion, empathy, benevolence”. There are two kinds of kindness a heavenly trader must have. The first is outer, the second is inner. Outer kindness means being kind and compassionate to those around you. As a trader it is important to contribute to the community, but to do it in a way that is constructive. Sometimes this means helping someone get back up after being knocked down. Inner kindness is the kindness of yourself. You have to be strict with yourself, but you can’t control everything and beating yourself up over it will get you nowhere.
“Modesty; thinking of yourself less, not less of yourself”. Humility is one of those traits so hard to define because it comes in so many forms. A humble trader is able to take satisfaction in making good trades, is joyed by profits, but does so in a way that keeps reality in mind. A string of wins can easily turn into a string of losses, a prideful trader may soon find himself shaking with wrath wondering where all his patience went. This ability keeps the heavenly trader centered and grounded so that each trade may be approached with calm, and without prejudice.