One of the most valuable habits I’ve picked up in my life is journaling. If you’ve taken my Bootcamp or read through many of my educational blog posts, you’ve probably seen me recommend that you keep a trading journal. It’s a great habit that will help you determine what you are doing well, what you are doing poorly, and how you can improve. It will also help you avoid mistakes before you make them. If you make a habit of writing down the setup for each trade you plan to make before you make it, it will keep you out of a lot of bad, no-setup trades, because you know you’ll have to look at that blank spot on your journal at some point (probably when you are looking at your failed trades!).
But I don’t just journal my trades – I also keep a journal for the rest of my life. It’s a great way to track personal and professional goals. Here are a few observations about the life of Kunal Desai in 2016 and the changes I plan to make for 2017.
I love to trade. I love running Bulls on Wall Street and everything that goes with it. But if you are going to maximize your wealth, you need to develop passive income streams. Trading, teaching and running a business require a lot of time and focus. At this point, I don’t have much time or mental capital to spare. But I do have financial capital and a desire to grow my wealth. So, I’ve invested in opportunities that I hope lead to more passive income. I started this in 2016 to mixed success, which is how investments go – just like trading, an opportunity can look great but not pan out for any number of reasons. In 2017, I have some great low-risk/high-reward (now where have you heard that before?) opportunities I’m pursuing.
I could afford a larger house, but I’d prefer to keep the home I own and spend the difference on things that simplify my life. For me, that’s a maid and a chef. For you, it might be different. It might be paying someone to mow your lawn to save you half an hour of labor a week. I don’t know. The point is this: if you have the choice to buy more stuff or buy more time, always go for option number two. If you can pay someone to free up an hour of your time a week so that you can focus on following your passion, you’ll be a happier and more productive person than you would be if you bought more stuff.
One of the biggest motivating factors in my life has been spite. This is something my coach, Ben Newman, helped me realize. I’ve wanted to prove all the people from my childhood and teenage years who didn’t believe me wrong. I wanted them to see me and know that I’ve made it. But even if it’s led me to achieve some great things, spite is an awful reason to do anything. In the end, it will make a negative, bitter person. So Ben helped me reframe. It’s as simple as this: instead of proving the haters wrong, I’m focusing on proving the people who believed in me right. I don’t wake up now with a chip on my shoulder, trying to shame some people from grade school who probably don’t remember me. Instead, I’m showing the people I care about – the people who care about me – that I can provide value, and that I appreciate their support.
You can never stop growing on a personal level. If you do, it will impact every aspect of your life. Just like an airplane, if you don’t put the mask on your own face first, you won’t be able to help the people around you with theirs. I think this is even truer once you have passed your twenties. In your twenties, you can burn the candle at both ends -your boundless energy makes up for your lack of experience and skill. Once you are on the northern side of your thirties, though, you need to make sure you are eating right, exercising, meditating, and growing as a person. If you don’t do this, you’ll burn out.
Those are just a few of my observations from 2016. If you don’t keep a journal, I’d recommend you start. You’ll be surprised at what you learn looking back at a year of experiences!