“Forex trading may make you rich if you are a hedge fund with deep pockets or an unusually skilled currency trader. But for the average retail trader, rather than being an easy road to riches, forex trading can be a rocky highway to enormous losses and potential penury.” – Investopedia.
On our morning walk, as the dogs sniffed around at the foot of a wheelie bin, my attention was drawn to a book that had been discarded, tossed onto its lid.
“Thirty Days Of Forex Trading”
I don’t know what Forex trading is, but it looked like a book written for people who want to earn a lot of money without doing much work.
As visual metaphors for the dangers of shortcuts go, it seemed pretty good.
On the podcast these past two weeks, we’ve been discussing scarcity and abundance mindset. One of the necessary aspects of the latter is feeling genuine gratitude for what we have rather than hankering for all that is missing, a valuable skill that might conceivably negate the need for a crash course in Forex trading.
When I first started in private practice, my supervisor at the time asked me how many clients I was aiming to work with.
“As many as I can,” I said.
I’d made a spreadsheet with financial projections spanning different areas of my business. I’d planned to do presentations, seminars, and corporate work. I also spent a lot of money on an online course that promised to teach me how to create online courses.
Lulling myself into the erroneous idea that I had to earn in multiple ways, was aimed at shortcutting my way to a level of income that was, on reflection, unnecessary if what I really wanted to spend most of my time doing was walking around amongst the trees with my dogs.
Clients often crave similar shortcuts in therapy, anxious for a shift they may have waited years to start work on but have grown quickly impatient waiting for.
While initially, progress might be swift, full of valuable insight and burgeoning self-awareness, there often comes a time of plateau where nothing much seems to change and faith in the process starts to wane.
“Yes, but what can I do about it?” comes the familiar refrain.
In the early days, I often asked my own therapist this question but they never answered, and now that I am the therapist, I never have an answer either.
The desire for a shortcut is both understandable and futile, and the key reason for a self-help industry worth an estimated $12 billion.
What does work is graft, dedication, resilience, and a whole heap of faith.
Self-awareness, the basis of positive change, is built through a dedication to exploration and lifelong learning rather than gleaned from a book read on a weekend or a TikTok diagnosis.
In this regard, the desire for a shortcut pushes the destination further away rather than bringing it closer.
On a number of occasions recently I have found myself in conversation with clients around the subject of liminal space, the gap between the end of one thing and the beginning of another.
Mostly, humans don’t like standing in this space, I know that I didn’t. The discomfort and anxiety that nothingness brings, and the urge to move forward in any direction rather than dealing with the not knowing.
Paradoxically, the longer we are able to tolerate drift the more chance there is that clarity and insight will take seed, and the greater the likelihood that wherever we decide to move next will prove a positive choice.
Craik & Lockhart’s “Levels Of Processing Theory” finds that the deeper the level at which information is processed the better able we are to recall it when required. This has implications for therapy.
The deeper you are willing to go, even into those dark corners you’d rather avoid, the more profound and durable change is likely to be, and the more you seek to understand all that seems inexplicable the easier it becomes to distinguish between what you want to retain and what can be released.
But perhaps the most telling evidence in the case against shortcuts is in the happiness and satisfaction we sacrifice in exchange.
There are plenty of studies suggesting that sustained happiness and satisfaction correlate with expending effort in pursuit of our goals. Like this one, or this one, or this.
So the person who threw away the “Thirty Days Of Forex Trading” book might not be financially rich, but they may have inadvertently given themselves a greater chance of sustainable happiness and contentment.