I was chatting with my cousin today; she is a professional pianist and music teacher at the university level. We started talking about the preparation it takes for musicians to want to enter a practice session. It turns out, it’s a very common theme amongst artists, whether musicians, writers, artists etc., that they procrastinate starting projects because they want to be in their most creative space. Not only do they want to be in it to practice, but they also constantly worry that they won’t be able to practice well if they are not. The flow state. The feeling of being in the moment, being in the music, everything flows easily, and things just make sense. We often talk about the flow state here, where you get how the market is working, you are fast scalping in and out, and just have this effortless read on price action. It is the holy grail, not only of trading, but of all artistry.
What’s even more fascinating, is the lengths people will go to find that state. That’s how desirable it is. One writer said that she had a four-hour routine before she could write every day. And every part of it had to be done specifically for her to enter her creative space. Another world-renowned musician would spend eight hours sitting doing nothing, much to his wife’s frustration, because that was how he worked.
But what struck me the most was this: my cousin then said that one of the greatest fears of artists, consistently, amongst the many musicians she works with, is the fear that they will never reach that state again. That each time was the last.
And we wonder why we have FOMO. There is a deep fear in all of us, that as good things happen, we will never be able to grasp it, to recreate it. That we will have to go to extreme lengths to attain it. The fear of losing that forever. And that fear, paralyzes us, keeps us from acting when we know we have to practice, when we have to learn, when we need to get in more reps.
If you struggle to get into your flow state, you are not alone. It’s okay if you don’t trade in that state every day. That is what trading rules are for. To help you when flow is not engaged. It doesn’t mean it’s never coming back; it doesn’t mean there is never another trade, or life changing opportunity. It also means that when we feel it, we should hold onto the feeling, examine it, create a map for it so we can return again.
The last thing I’ll offer is this. The common theme for how each artist found their flow, was a quiet mind. Time to think, allow their brain to relax, to decrease outward stimulation, that seemed to be the thread which connected them to their flow state. And probably a great place to start to find yours.