The Paradox of Effort

As we start the new year, many of us have a lot of goals in mind. “I’ll be more fit.” “This year will be the year I become a millionaire.” We have different goals and different endeavors. All of them have one thing in common: EFFORT. We usually brim with motivation at the start. But, what separates achievers from the rest is consistency and intensity. As we grind towards our goals, we’ll notice some paradoxes of effort.

BIG goals generate BIG effort

When we set goals for ourselves, we always factor in how big of a goal it is. For traders, this can take the form of how big of a return we want to achieve. Are you aiming for a 20% YTD? Maybe a 50%, or even more, a 100% return for the year?

Usually, we look for a goal that seems logical and safe. However, we often shy away from difficult ones. One astounding paradox of effort is that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Logically, we’d imagine that having bigger goals or challenges makes life harder for us. Paradoxically, there are a lot of examples that show otherwise. In a story from Cal Newport, he noticed that grad students suddenly perform better in school after having kids. Although the added responsibilities would make life harder for the new parents, the results showed otherwise. When faced with adversity, we’re capable of stepping up our game. 

Of course, there are also some cases where people struggle and fail. To elevate yourself, you have to take responsibility for the big goals you set for yourself. Last year we saw the markets plunge into bearish territory. It might’ve seemed impossible to outperform, but the saying “there’s always a bull market somewhere” holds true. If you dreamed big, took responsibility, and brought out your best efforts, you would’ve found 2022 featured many outliers. Though not a lot, there were enough for people who persevered for a strong performance.

The more effort you put in, the more effortless you’ll look

As we strive for our goals, many of us will wonder why others make it look easy. When we struggle with our trades, it won’t be hard to notice how effortless it looks when others do it. Often, what we fail to see underneath the PnLs and results is the hard work that trader puts in. 

A paradox of effort is that the more effort we put in, the more effortless we’ll look. We have to grind our systems and how we execute to achieve greater levels of success. Once we master our craft, the skills honed will then make it seem effortless to others. The Navy Seals, known for their harsh training, often make whatever they do look relatively easier. We personally know a former navy seal who made swimming through a storm look like child’s play. They also have a famous saying:

“Under pressure, we don’t rise to the occasion, but rather sink to the level of our training.” 

This is often true across any field, even in the markets.

Hard work and sincerity

Sometimes you may be asking yourself, why does it seem like my efforts aren’t being rewarded? Paradoxically, more effort does not always equate to better results. The cruel reality is that the world doesn’t reward effort, results are rewarded. However, that doesn’t take it out of the equation. Rather, we also need to be sincere as we strive for our goals.

Paradox of effort: Hard work and sincerity

In trading, the markets will often hand you the lessons you need to learn. If you constantly put effort into a certain aspect of trading without acknowledging the bitter pills the market’s giving you, nothing will change. You have to be sincere about your goals and learn from your experiences. This will help you steer your efforts toward the right path. 

What’s your goal for 2023?

As we head into the new year, let’s all work towards the biggest goal we can find and commit to reaching that goal no matter how hard it gets. Here at Investagrams, we aim to provide you with all the tools and knowledge you’ll ever need to take your trading to the next level. From learning the basics to accessing high-caliber tools, we’ll be with you every step of the way. 

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