Skip to main content

The Duality of Trading

Duality occurs in every part of our lives yet most people don’t recognise and understand this. This lack of understanding leads to too much significance being placed on one side of the duality equation which causes imbalance and disturbs equilibrium. There are positive and negative poles on either side of life’s equations that we deal with every day.

Polarity is good/bad, hot/cold, up/down, in/out, win/loss, tall/short, big/small, beautiful/ugly, dark/light, bright/dull, long/short, rough/smooth, rich/poor, happy/sad, love/hate, fear/faith, clever/stupid, healthy/sick, action/apathy, active/lazy, calm/anxious, fast/slow, pleasure/pain, mountain/valley etc etc. Without one pole the other pole would be indefinable. Each pole must exist to give the other meaning, credence and legitimacy.

The positive sides are not necessarily the right states all the time and, if so, cannot be attained all the time. For example, feeling sad when losing a loved one is a normal human reaction and a necessary process to experience but too much sadness for too long is not necessarily a good thing. However, feeling hatred at any time can cause imbalance in our lives as can anger or frustration. There are times to be fast and times to be slow.

This brings us to relativity. Very seldom, if ever, is there total positive (love) or total negative (hate) but degrees of each and where we see events, ourselves and one another on the scale depends on our perception of where we are relative to others or relative to what we define as good or bad through our value system. For everything that we are involved in, we anchor ourselves somewhere on the scale and everything else is relative to our perceived anchor position.

(100% -ve)                    (Our anchor)                                             (100% +ve)

Where we are relatively anchored at any given time is not necessarily good or bad, it just is. This is our universal truth. We continually judge our perceived relative anchor position and thereby attach relative meaning to our current position, individual events and outcomes. We then react to the self created meaning by thinking certain things about ourselves, mostly negative things, which causes inappropriate responses. The challenge is to create positive thoughts and appropriate responses that empower and motivate us into positive action to move our anchor in the direction that is “good”. A good starting place to discover what is “good” can be found in the Bible, the laws of your land, reading about highly respected people or their biographies etc. Such input creates our boundaries and should play a major role in defining our value systems.

With respect to trading, we need to understand and fully accept the duality and polarity of winning and losing and their relativity to each other. One cannot exist without the other and each requires the existence of the other to define it.

When we lose, the challenge is to ensure that we improve the way that we perceive the loss such that it doesn’t affect the way that we should execute the next trade. Equally, when we win the same challenge exists. We must execute the next trade the way it should be done without changing our process.

The challenge is to work out a process that embraces both winning and losing in a way that achieves your trading goals and moves your anchor in a direction that improves how you feel about what you are doing. All the time we must recognise that duality exists in all we do.


  • Chris Carrier says:

    Very well put Gary but I thought your article could also just as easily be titled the “Duality of Life” as it essentially applies equally well to all of life. This moving beyond the distortions of our minds and our thinking process is a natural part of the process of “waking up” (or self-realisation). As Shakespeare once said “There is neither either good nor bad, only thinking makes it so”.

    As you have indicated, life just is, and without a fearful, judging mind, there is both inner peace and balance and the necessary actions flow quite spontaneously from that (and which in retrospect is often seen to have been for the better).

  • GES says:

    But surely, Chris, your statement is a recipe for inaction and surrender to the flow which may be what is required of the mechanical trader but not of life in general. Without use of the questioning and judgmental aspects of our minds in real life, we are just corks bobbing on the ocean and can make no difference. It may be peaceful and non-confronting but it is also introverted and self-indulgent. Where would the heroes of Shakespeare have been with this view as a guide to life?

  • Ralph says:

    Hi GES Gary is correct and so is Chris when an event happens I can choose to be happy or sad if I choose to be happy I can give 100 good valid reasons why I am happy if you choose to be sad you can give 100 equaly good reasons to be sad who is right and who is wrong ??? what standard do we judge by. We judge by our own reality the one we have created for ourselfs. In reality there is no duality there just is we have created happy and sad as concepts but they are one How could you know happy if you dont know sad you see one cant exist without the other in fact they are one just like everything else.

  • GES says:

    There are two messages emerging from the article which underline the problems some of us face in attempting to conform to a mechanical trading system.
    The first is that, as you infer in the 5th paragraph, we are encouraged socially and morally to adopt a value system in life that moves our anchor up the scale towards what is deemed “good”.
    The second, which you stress in the remainder of the article but do not make the contrast clear, is that the discipline required to follow a mechanical system requires us to eschew any value judgment at all and demands instead that we move our anchor towards the centre.
    I hope any successful mechanical trader realises that, when he leaves his trading desk, he must also leave the automaton behind.

Leave a Reply