I was watching some TV recently and noticed that Jennifer Lawrence played in two episodes of the same show. Separate story lines, separate characters. Before she was famous. And it occurred to me that every time I watch old shows, I see people who then became famous. I also see people that I’ve never seen again, and even if I did, I wouldn’t remember.

Whether through what we learn, where we put our focus, what we casually observe, we are always priming our brains. And most of this happens without us even realizing it. Some things we can control, where we put our focus for example, but others we can’t. We can’t help remembering the main character of a movie, but we’d actively have to try and remember cameo appearances.

This becomes even more aggressive with social media, which is designed to increase focus to things we even slightly tend towards. Designed to recognize what we hover over for an extra millisecond, what makes us hesitate, react, interact. Interact with one tweet, picture, idea, theology, and all of a sudden you see the same everywhere. Confirmation bias, bombarded with the same ideas you let in, and then they program your brain to find that pattern.

The same goes with the market. Once you see one rising wedge, you get your wedge goggles, megaphones, equilibriums, they exist because of the human psychology of the market, you see them because once you program your brain to find them, you can’t stop it. Both to your benefit, more charts, more patterns and more experience being the basis of technical analysis, and to your same potential detriment, if you misappropriate your priming.

How does it affect you though? Well it trains you on what to think, what to notice. You notice the things you’re primed to notice, and the things that don’t work in, the things that don’t make sense, not only do you not remember them, you realize quickly you don’t even really notice them. Perhaps you see the pattern, but don’t notice the red flags because you don’t know what they are. Perhaps you only see the red flags because you engaged, or primed yourself, with too much counter-contextual content. No matter how discerning we choose to be, we have to be open to knowing what we can and cannot control, and then adjusting our expectations, our rules, our actions for what we are primed to do.