The Next Step


As any of you who have read my blog are aware, I’m a firm proponent of self-improvement. Giving yourself concrete reasons to feel good about yourself, develop a sense of self-worth, become a genuinely high-value confident man.

The reason I began this journey, as I’m sure is the case for many others, was to be able to attain a higher quality of woman, and perhaps in more simple terms, to just feel good about myself, to actually like myself.

Self-improvement is a holistic process, being composed of multiple disciplines. Lifting weights, controlling your diet, improving your style and overall aesthetic, mastering control of your mind and emotions, becoming more socially aware and charismatic, learning about human psychology, and the pursuit of financial independence. Certainly, there are a lot of areas to focus on, more than enough to keep you occupied for several years until you begin to approach a high level in most of them.

As with anything though, there will be an initial period of rapid gains, and then as you get closer to mastery, improvements start to fall under the law of diminishing returns – twice as much effort for only half as much progress.

The initial surges of confidence and elation as you pass each significant milestone in multiple areas, gradually reduce over time, until you have internalised your new position at all levels of your being, and what was once cause for glowing pride, just becomes the new normal.

Whilst we may never consider ourselves the finished article, and new domains always exist to conquer, at least in those areas which have the most immediate impact on our lives, a certain plateau is reached.

Although you still feel good, it’s now your new baseline, and the sensation of breaking new higher highs on a regular basis doesn’t come about very often. Eventually you arrive at a position of – what now? Where do I go from here?

Something which has only really become apparent to me since largely putting my own demons to rest, is what is truly important in life – namely friends, family and relationships. After all, what is all this relentless drive for self-improvement for in the long run, if it means a solitary existence, devoid of any real emotional connection with your fellow human beings?

For me now, the answer to the question of “what next?” is simple – settle down, find a wife, have a family of my own, invest in my existing friendships and relationships with my family members that perhaps have been neglected. Show the people in your life who matter that they really do matter to you. Don’t take them for granted.

The allure of chasing new women has long since passed. I value an emotional connection far more now than the fleeting ego-gratification I would receive from securing a new “notch”.

The process which led to this point however, was entirely necessary. I would never have come to these realisations, and been ready and able to move on with my life as a healthy, well-adjusted adult, had I not put in such hard work into improving myself, creating a feeling of genuine self-worth within myself and finally freeing my focus to be able to move on to other matters.

There aren’t many of us these days who aren’t carrying some sort of emotional baggage from our childhood. Even in more general terms, modern society denies men a traditional masculine role. For me, my father walking out on our family in my early teenage years and then never wanting anything to do with me again, denied me a sense of self-worth, which I have been chasing ever since

Trading put the final pieces of the puzzle together. It was the hardest thing I ever attempted, and it broke me down in ways I was not prepared for. I’ve never been so thoroughly humbled by anything before. I have now however got on top of the whole process, am accumulating money daily, and know it’s just a matter of a little patience before I am extremely wealthy. I thought I would want to go on a celebratory rampage around the world, but this idea holds no appeal.

Succeeding at the hardest thing I ever put myself to finally gave me the last piece of self-worth I needed to move on with my life, whilst at the same time knocking a lot of the extraneous arrogance out of me that I had been using as a defence mechanism to hide my insecurities. I’m still shockingly arrogant by most people’s standards of course, and always will be, but it’s now at about 100%, instead of 150%.

Having at last attained the self-worth I wanted, it is almost as if the world has suddenly come into focus, and my priorities have shifted. What really matters in life is suddenly standing out in sharp relief, and I see that previously what had consumed me was merely superficial pursuits in search of my own worth. Necessary at the time, but not something to be held on to.

Remember, this whole process is a journey, and journeys have an end. When we complete one, we must begin another. Too many see this journey of pursuing women and ultimately self-worth as a destination in and of itself, and then wonder years down the line when they think they’ve achieved everything they wanted, why they still feel empty inside.

Go forth, fix yourself, become the man you were meant to be, find a good woman, have a family, and make and invest in strong, fulfilling relationships with your friends and family. Therein will you find lasting peace and happiness.

Can you Stay the Course?

When anyone starts learning a new discipline,be it learning to pick up women, training at the gym, dieting, trading, they usually have highly unrealistic expectations of how it’s going to go.

When beginning from a position of being a total novice, initial improvements over the baseline are massive. This creates the false impression that the entire journey is going to be one smooth, linear progression from “shit” to “awesome”, as shown in my highly professional image below.


How you think it’s going to go

In the history of anyone learning anything, in the entire world, I am pretty confident in saying not a single person has ever mastered a discipline in one smooth, straight-line trajectory.

What if I told you it was actually going to take 10 times longer than you thought? That the graph actually looks more like this?


How it’s really going to go

Still keen on trying to master that new discipline? Have you got the mental fortitude to stick with it, through the seemingly endless cycles of progression and regression?

Most have not. After the initial surge of progress stagnates, and even begins to regress back close to the starting point, 95% will give up. After convincing themselves they were godlike in a very short space of time, they then suffer the corresponding crash down to feeling worthless. Remember, high highs invariably lead to low lows.

Even if you stick it out past the first progress/regress cycle, will you keep going past the 2nd? 3rd? How many times can you handle thinking “Surely this time, I’ve made it, I’m just going to keep going now to the finish line”, only to then find yourself almost back where you were 3 months prior?

You can make it easier on yourself, by trying to rein yourself in when you start making a surge of progress, and by keeping a sense of perspective when you are on a downturn. In truth though, the ability to do this only comes after experiencing multiple cycles of progress/regress, and understanding it’s simply part of the process.

The willingness to persevere in the face of such an emotional roller coaster is what separates winners from losers in life. Have you got what it takes to stay the course, and reach the pinnacle of excellence?


My Rules for living in the Kali Yuga

The Kali Yuga is the last of the 4 ages in the cycle of history from Hinduism. It is also known as the “age of vices”.

From Wikipedia – Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga, which is referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are as far away as possible from God.

As we witness the decline of Western civilisation around us, there seems little doubt we are living in such a time.

I’m reblogging here a list of simple advice for living in the Kali Yuga from one of the blogs I follow.

At any time in history, this advice for living as a man is pertinent, and in the present time even more so.


Honour your thede.

Family at the core.

Avoid degeneracy.

Do not waste time on women who act like men.

Do not acknowledge men who cannot be men.

Give your friendship carefully.

Experience the natural world as much as possible.

Walk to your destination if you can.

Trust in traditions.

Find time away from technology on a regular basis.


Defend your beliefs and never apologise.

Do not seek out outrage.

Respect justified hierarchy.

Eat vegetables, meat, nuts, dairy and fruits.


Wear natural fibres.

Drink in moderation and avoid excess.

Follow your beliefs.

Educate yourself on past glories.

Cultivate your body as you cultivate your mind.

Be strong. Strong people are harder to kill.

Do not fear violence.

Test your limits.

To be updated on an ongoing basis.

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Mea Culpa – Of Sorts

Having emerged some time ago out of the other side of my personal journey from frustrated blue-piller to comparatively fulfilled, balanced individual, it is interesting to be able to observe others going through the same process.

I think it takes a certain type of individual to be attracted to writing a blog in the first place. It’s inherently egotistical and narcissistic, to put your opinions and viewpoint up on public display. If you were merely interested in chronicling your own journey, you’d do so in a personal diary which would never see the light of day. (The other reason people blog is to make money and in which case they need to create and maintain a brand, but this has never been of interest to me).

As it is, we humans are hard-wired to feel good when we receive positive social feedback. High numbers of views on a post, comments telling you that you are right, all goes towards a feeling of satisfaction, and a reinforcement of your own ego. You’ve only got to look at the viral success of social media networks to realise the scope and power of this phenomenon.

It’s perhaps only natural to go through a phase of “believing your own hype”, and hyperbolically expounding upon the magnitude of your own perceived virtues at great length. Eventually, some time later, the dust settles, and one is able to look back with some measure of mild embarrassment on the whole thing. That is assuming the individual develops sufficient character to do so – many bloggers it seems never transition out of this phase at all, and remain on a perpetual ego trip for year after year, whilst the rest of us look on and cringe.

I don’t regret the style in which I wrote. It came naturally to me at the time, but was almost certainly an over-correction in the opposite direction from having had my confidence repressed for so many years. Eventually, the pendulum, having swung to both extremes, found the mid point, and settled there. I’ve only read a little Confucius, but this is one of the central tenets of his thought – with all things in life, there is a balance point to be found, “The Doctrine of the Mean”.

However, looking back at some of my writing, it is with a certain pang of embarrassment at the sheer level of self-aggrandisement. When you first learn a little, you think you know it all. The more you learn, the more you realise you don’t actually know much at all, and you should have kept your mouth shut in the first place.

It doesn’t really help that it takes so little to out-perform the competition in this day and age. Get yourself in even halfway decent shape, and some semblance of being able to dress yourself, and you’re head and shoulder above 90% of other men out there. However, in reality, there is little pride to be had in winning sports day at a school for the disabled (to re-use a pun I made on Twitter earlier). When you have broken into the top 0.1% in a chosen discipline – perhaps then it is reasonable to allow yourself a little muted pride. Any more than this, before you have earned the right to be entitled to it, is merely going to cause those higher up the ladder than you to look down on you with amused pity.

I’m never going to stop being egotistical, it’s just in my nature. As I’ve got older though I’ve realised, the louder a man shouts about how amazing and confident he is, the more likely it’s not true and he’s merely doing it to convince himself. If you’re truly happy and confident, you simply don’t feel the need to go around telling everyone how amazing you are all the time. It should be self-evident, and if it’s not – well, it’s probably not there.

A Choice

Roosh has always been an interesting character. One of the founding fathers of what became the Manosphere, he helped bring traditional ideas about masculinity and the nature of women back into the light of the modern internet era. A keen practitioner of game – namely aping the traits of confident, naturally attractive men – he enjoys some measure of success with women of a certain quality.

Seemingly somewhat lacking in natural charisma however, he reduces seduction to an almost robot-like series of steps of logical progression, and then appears confused why he finds no fulfilment from the process. A master at the art of appearing to be a naturally confident attractive man, without having quite made the final push into actually making himself into one, on all levels.

I was recently encouraged by his summation of all things Red Pill under the umbrella term Neomasculinity. His post introducing the concept and its central tenets was excellent, and any man would do well to study and understand it.

At the same time, he carries with him a heart full of bitterness, which is evident in much of his other writing. He is angry at the world, at women, and appears to feel he has been cheated out of his birthright of a pleasant, feminine, submissive wife and means to start a family.

His latest article on RoK has taken a turn to the dark side, basically reducing into a “what’s the point of it all” lament. The acerbic vitriol in the comments actually took me aback somewhat. Roosh is a leader for many disillusioned men in this time, and is in a position to influence them. When he writes positive, uplifting pieces like Neomasculinity, it inspires men to try and better themselves. When he writes pieces full of bitterness, loathing and futility, it encourages men to entertain the base side of their nature and whine and complain about their plight, instead of embracing what should be a typical masculine reaction to hardship – namely to redouble your efforts to overcome it.

It cannot be denied, civilisation is well and truly on the decline. Celebration of degeneracy abounds, men are becoming feminine, women masculine. If you are anything like me, your internet content bubble is tailored specifically to deliver tales of the latest affront to human decency into your life at every opportunity.

We, as men of the modern era, are faced with a choice.

We can embrace the decline – watch it burn, give in to the baser aspects of our nature, “bang some sluts”, fail to start a family, and live a hedonistic live of selfish individual pursuits. On many levels, a life of total selfishness is appealing – the most seductive lures always appeal to our most base desires.

We have another choice however. We can witness the depravity around us, and use this as a catalyst to spur us on to embrace the old traditional values even more firmly, to throw ourselves into becoming men of honour and virtue, aspiring to lead by example, remaining immovable pillars whilst all around us begins to crumble.

Although it is a comforting ego-justification to convince oneself that there are utterly no women of any worth remaining in the West in the modern era, it’s simply not true. They’re just harder to find. One must look further afield, travel to parts of the country where more conservative values still hold sway in the main part – you are extremely unlikely to find a woman of worth and virtue in the middle of a sprawling liberal metropolis for instance. Perhaps you must even need to go to a different country.

One must also tirelessly work on oneself, to become a man of depth of character, of financial strength, of physical and intellectual development – primarily for the benefit of ourselves, but also to ensure we are the most attractive proposition available to be able to attract and keep a woman of worth when we find one.

As you sit here, reading this, understand you are the end point of a series of your ancestors stretching back thousands of years into the past. Every single one of them made the decision to live an unselfish life, to give up their personal time and freedom, and start a family, so that their children might carry on the line. If you decide now, at this time, to give up on it all, decide that you simply “know” there are no quality women left in the world – then know that your lineage ends here with you. You are responsible for breaking the chain, because you did not have the strength to fight to continue it.

Undeniably, Western society will collapse. At this point, it’s just a case of whether it is sooner rather than later. Does this mean that suddenly everyone will vanish in a puff of smoke? Of course not. From the wreckage, a remnant will remain of those people who kept to the traditional ways, who did not give in to their urges of selfishness, and it will be up to this remnant to begin the rebuilding process.

Human life has inherent value. Civilisation has inherent value. These are things that it is worth fighting to preserve and protect. If you do not think this, then perhaps indeed you are within your right to ask yourself – what I am even here for?

Western Women Are Not Entitled

Contentious title? Perhaps so, but bear with me whilst I explain my reasoning.

When those in the Manosphere accuse Western women of being entitled, what do they mean? Essentially, they are accusing them of acting in a manner unbefitting their “true” level of value.

Very average looking women, who don’t dress well or look after their physiques, go around acting as if they were twice as attractive as they really are – diva-like behaviour, rudeness, flakiness, unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions, wanting privileged treatment, and so on.

Who then is the arbiter of this evaluation of someone’s true value, and therefore able to decide whether someone is acting above their station? Is value an absolute concept? Or is it subjective, according to the culture and society in which an individual resides?

If I believe my value is high, but no-one else does – are they all wrong? Or am I deluded?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter what you think your value “should” be – value is only relevant if other people around you believe you possess it.

Having made this deduction, it’s then clear to see that an average looking woman’s value in Western culture is exactly what she thinks it is. Men kiss her ass, tell her that she’s amazing, supplicate. The more above-average she is in her looks, the more she will encounter this behaviour. She can post up a profile on an online dating site, and receive 100s of emails every day, from thirsty men just desperate to get laid by any girl who isn’t completely physically repulsive.

Their behaviour then is not entitled in the least – it is exactly befitting the level of status which society is conferring upon them.

As men, we adhere more to the concept of “absolute” value – that is, regardless of culture or society, a person’s value should be viewed objectively based upon their physical attributes and accomplishments. Anyone acting above their station in this regard, in an entitled manner, is called out, and brought down to size. Women however, being inherently more social creatures, less rational and more emotive, do not operate on this model.

In an ideal world, the objective model is how things “should” operate, but we are being naive if we expect society and culture to play by the rules under which we think it should operate.

Value as an objective concept exists. One can most definitely make a concrete assessment of a woman’s beauty, or a man’s accomplishments, and critically evaluate their value. However, this is not the predominant model of value at work around us. In our current fem-centric society, the prevailing model is one of subjective value – namely that your value is precisely that which others deem it to be.

Understand this, and you understand that “entitled” women are merely doing what any other human being would do in the same situation, and acting in a manner according to their apparent status.

Human beings evolved in a social hierarchy, and we have built-in psychological mechanisms that grant us permission to act in a certain way when we believe our social status warrants it. Consider the confidence boost you feel when you are in good shape, or dressed well, or have a lot of money in the bank. We give ourselves permission to act in a more socially dominant manner, reinforced by feedback from those around us who confirm our elevated status by their behaviour towards us.

Much of this “privileged” behaviour is ugly, yes, but then human nature is ugly, and many men in positions of high status are no less ugly in their behaviour.

Since the model of subjective value is the one that is in force, the only way to change it, and impose the “true” objective model in its place, is to get through to the masses of modern men and tell them to stop pedestalising women, and encourage them to develop their masculinity and rely on concrete measures of value instead.

This, of course, is easier said than done, but I remain ever hopeful.

You Do It To Yourself

  • “I never have any good luck”
  • “Good opportunities always pass me by”
  • “Things never work out for me”
  • “I never get the girls I want”
  • “I always get treated badly by others”

Any of these sound familiar? These beliefs, and many others like them, are held by an overwhelmingly large number of people.

A single bad initial experience can create a tainted view of the world in people’s minds. They then fall prey to cognitive dissonance. Everything that happens to them from then onwards is viewed through the lens of their preconceived notion of how things are “supposed” to go. 100 things could happen to them, 99 of them disproving their belief, only 1 supporting it, and the 99 conflicting events will simply be ignored, and the sole event supporting their hypothesis will be latched on to as “proof” of their views.

What people fail to realise is that is it precisely this attachment to their negative viewpoint that increases the likelihood of it coming to pass. As a result of what they believe, they inadvertently behave in such a manner that they bring about that which they most fear. A self-fulling prophecy. Then, when the undesired outcome comes to pass, they will take it as validation that they were “right all along”.

Consider the man who is convinced that he can’t get the quality of woman he desires. “She’s out of my league”, “I’m not good looking enough or rich enough”. Even if he plucks up the courage to approach, by radiating doubt he self-rejects before the interaction has even had a chance to get off the ground. Then along comes another guy, objectively no better than the first, but with a healthy sense of entitlement and self-belief, who succeeds. (incidentally this relates back to my opinion that value-building is the single best thing you can do to help in this regard – you don’t need to be delusional, you can give yourself numerous concrete reasons to believe in your own worth).

Perhaps the man who is convinced that he always gets passed over for promotion opportunities. He exudes negativity and self-doubt, deprecating himself at every opportunity. He doesn’t take chances, because he fears it will backfire. Time for promotions rolls around, and the boss has a choice between the negative, hard-working but play-it-safe drone, or a positive go-getting creative employee who isn’t afraid to push boundaries and try out new ideas. Who does he pick?

It works the other way too. People with delusionally positive outlooks on life will find a way to frame everything that happens, no matter how apparently disastrous, in a positive light. Got sacked? Great, now I can really focus in on that new career path, or use the time to start up my own business. Got dumped? A blessing in disguise – if she couldn’t see how great I really was, then she didn’t deserve me anyway, and I’ll find someone who does.

Exactly the same events can happen to two different people, and one will turn it into an advantage, whilst the other will use it as confirmation to keep holding on to their self-limiting mindset.

Even if you’ve had a bad run of experiences in life, it’s never too late to change the way you frame reality. It’s a choice that only you can make.


We’ve all heard of MGTOW, that movement typified largely by socially awkward men with little game, who having repeatedly failed to secure the attentions of a woman of even average quality, have in a childish fit of petulance exclaimed “Well I never wanted them anyway!”, convincing no-one except themselves in the process.

Ironically however, there is wisdom is their approach. Every man should in fact strive to be a “man going his own way”. Your life mission should be your primary focus, women a welcome addition but not a necessity.

By concentrating entirely on your aims and goals and gaining validation therein, you stop needing women to feel good about yourself, and start being self-affirmed. And when you stop needing women, that’s when you can get as many as you want.

There’s a caveat however, and this is where the MGTOW go wrong in the main part – they carry with them a heart full of bitterness and resentment towards women, for all the times their “best friend” game was rejected, for all the times they were passed over in favour of the jerk, even though “they know they’re better than him”.

“Going your own way” is only attractive to women when you’ve already got a handle on game, social dynamics and female socio-sexual psychology, and you’ve got some good reference experiences behind you of getting with some decent quality girls.

Quitting a game because you are losing is the worst kind of sportsmanship. Retiring near the top of your game to pursue more rewarding options is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Thoughts on Kratom

After seeing Pill Scout post about Kratom, I started writing this as a comment on Victor Pride’s blog entry on the subject, with reference also to what Chris GLL has to say.

All of the “symptoms” of pre-Kratom, especially the ones Chris describes – mild depression, anxiety, unproductive, not as happy as you could be – I also use to suffer from on a daily basis. I now feel exactly the same as Chris says he does when he burns Kratom daily, but without any of the occasional low points. To me, these persistent negative feelings and moods are clear signs of unresolved mental conflict, at a subconscious level.

What did I do to solve it? Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT. I know I’ve written about this many times before (here here and here, there are probably more), but it’s a subject close to my heart.

All of the negative mental factors in my life were coming from these unresolved inner conflicts. Ones you don’t even realise are there, because your ego has become so good at deflecting thoughts away from them over the years, at telling yourself the pretty lies you want to hear.

CBT gives you the ability to just learn to accept who you are at a base level, and stop fighting your own nature. When you learn to do that, over time your problems just gradually end up going away by themselves (provided you’ve got good daily habits of course).

I simply cannot stress enough how important it is in life to learn to accept yourself, and accept your own emotions, whatever they may be. Trying to fight or deny your own nature is a guaranteed way to never fix yourself.

I used to beat myself up, mentally berate myself for having approach anxiety. “You stupid pussy, why don’t you just man the fuck up, you’re such a beta faggot, look the opportunity’s gone now, you fucking retard” etc etc (and then the ego would swoop in with the pretty lies – “she wasn’t that hot anyway, you could have got here if you wanted to, you’re still the man”).

CBT taught me to just accept things as they were. Recognise and accept my emotions, but to not allow them to rule me. The hardest thing I ever had to do was learn to say to myself “Yes, I am a pussy. Talking to women scares me. That is who I am, and I am ok with that. BUT I will still act anyway, and do the right thing. I will allow this anxiety to exist inside me, I will watch it as a dispassionate observer, but I will focus my attention elsewhere, and it will not rule me.”

I realised my brain had picked up learned thought patterns, which immediately kicked in during times of high stress, setting off negative spirals of thoughts (or rumination as it is known in CBT lingo). I gained the ability to take a step back from my conscious thoughts, and watch these patterns unfolding as if I was a third party. It was actually amusing, after all those years being a victim to my mind, to be able to say “Hah, look, my stupid brain is doing that thought pattern thing again. I will accept it, and let it do its thing, but I will not identify with these thoughts”.

It was Steve Jabba that got me on to the idea initially, and I can only thank him for it, as in the 24 months since I learned how to apply CBT techniques to my own mind, I’ve transformed as a person, become more productive than ever, and found inner peace. Sometimes I just sit, quietly, with a completely blank mind, soaking in the simple joy of existing, present in the moment. It sounds like corny new-age bullshit, but it is a great thing to be able to do. My brain is now just something that I can pick up like a tool when I need to get something done. I use it, and then put it away again, and go back to a completely still mind.

When I first became proficient with CBT, I used to freak myself out with my behaviour. Finally free of my ego running the show, my inner self was free to come out – you know, that part of you that just acts on impulse, and says what it wants, the part that people usually have to use alcohol to sedate their frontal lobes for in order to access.

As a result, it felt like an “autopilot” was running my body. I’d do and say things without conscious thought, just talk to the nearest stranger and say whatever floated up from the recesses of my brain without shame. When it first started to happen, I’d retreat into a state of momentary shock – “Why the fuck did I say that? I didn’t think about saying that before I said it”. The truth of the matter was, I was just taking my first steps into living fully outside of my head, instead of being stuck inside it all of the time.

I’m at a point now where I’ve completely internalised CBT methods. The exercises and methods just happen in the blink of an eye at a subconscious level. However, now and again, I still have a stinker of a day, where my mood is at rock bottom and social anxiety creeps back in (it’s usually when I get up later than 9am – my body clock doesn’t get on with late starts). At these times, I have to go back to consciously applying the techniques that are otherwise 99% of the time automatic. But it still works just the same, and my terrible days are in reality usually no more than just a terrible half a day.

It didn’t come easy. It took a lot of mental discipline to keep applying the techniques every single day, to try and catch myself when I’d start to slip back into old habits. But the mental skills I gained are now with me for the rest of my life. My mood and productivity every single day are entirely in my own hands, and I don’t need to drink Kratom tea to get there.

All power to those who find it highly beneficial, but my own pride would not allow me to rely on using a herb to make me be the kind of person I want to be every single day.

Now it might be the case that if I were to use Kratom on top of how I feel, it would be even better – and I might just try it out of curiosity. Indeed, if you’re the kind of person that is happy 90% of the time anyway, and has got your shit together in life, then what harm could it do.

However, if you are feeling low most days, have social anxiety and low productivity, then I urge you to consider that you’ve got unresolved emotional issues, and look to fix yourself properly, rather than relying on a herbal crutch to get there.



As we approach the end of another year, it’s natural that thoughts turn towards reflection on the year just passed.

This has been the first year since I started full-time employment after university that I have failed to be earning more money than the previous year. A cause for dismay? Taken out of context, perhaps, but in light of the journey I began when I quit full-time work around this time 12 months ago, entirely to be expected. Even if for no other reason, I would still deem this year a success because I’ve learned a lot about how to cope with adverse situations.

Being blessed with a high IQ, a rational mind and strong problem solving skills (if you will excuse the resume-sounding language), I largely breezed through academia, and along a career progression. Most mental challenges I came up against were overcome with little effort – or at the worst occasionally I’d have to sit down and actually use my brain fully for a few weeks – but always succeeding without too much trouble. I was in the position of envisaging where I’d like to get to, in terms of mastering a new domain or skill within a set amount of time, and being able to get there.

That is, until I tried to learn how to trade at a high level.

I spent the first 7 months floundering around, without even finding the relevant information that I needed. Imagine enrolling on a course at college or university, and on your first day, you’re led into a room with 10,000 textbooks. The lecturer tells you “You’re pretty much on your own on this one. Somewhere in all of those textbooks is the single correct one that you’ll need to master this course. The others will contain small pieces of the correct information, but mixed in with a lot more bad advice. You’ll have no way of knowing whether the information you try to apply from the textbook you’ve chosen will work other than extended trial and error over a period of weeks. Even then, you might think that it is the correct information – because it still work occasionally – but not all of the time, leaving you to wonder whether you’ve in fact found the correct information but are just not applying it correctly. You might actually find the correct textbook on day 1, but because of your inability to apply the information correctly to your trial and error process through inexperience, you won’t realise it’s the correct one until you’ve tried many of the others and realised that they’re wrong, and you end up going back to it. Oh and one last thing – you’ll be surrounded by thousands of other people also searching through the textbooks, and all shouting at you that they’ve found the right one already, and that you should go and read theirs.”

That’s pretty much the story of how I eventually ended up with the information I needed after 7 months. My friend, who is also learning to trade, actually found it in the first month, but neither of us realised the significance. Even after it was rediscovered, I (in my typically overconfident manner) only read it partially, and then ran off half-cocked ready to conquer the world, only to have to come back to it 2 months later and read it properly. For hopefully obvious reasons, it’s not really in the best interests of successful traders to scream their secrets from the rooftops with a megaphone. Fortunately for people like me though, there are communities based around traders all working from the same methodology, sharing their progress and helping each other out along the way.

I tweeted recently on my personal account that “The first step of any journey of self-improvement begins with acceptance of where you currently are”. This was a harsh lesson I had to learn first hand. So accustomed was I to quickly mastering new disciplines, that no sooner had I quit work, than I was already imagining how I would spend my first £100k – which would surely be mine within 6 months – without actually acknowledging that I was a total novice, approaching something that 95% or more of people fail at. When reality failed to live up to this expectation, I became extremely frustrated, and combined with a dwindling cash reserve, almost frantic in my efforts to succeed.

You see, trading is a game of patience. You analyse a chart, spot a nice place you think something might happen, and then you wait patiently for things to play out, before making a decision whether to trade or not. Frustration and desperation are not your friends, leading to impatience and poor decisions, only worsening your plight.

As the weeks and months went by, still not finding the success I had assumed would so easily be mine, my mental state deteriorated further and further. The first genuine challenge I’d come across, and I’d crumpled pathetically. What an idiot. What a fool. How could I have thought I would be spending millions of pounds so quickly?

What I’d done is instead of accepting where I currently was in my journey, and focusing only on doing the correct things on a day by day basis, was set myself a large mental expectation of where I’d be at a certain point, without actually having any control over the variables needed to reach that point in the set amount of time.

Let’s say two men set themselves the task of building a 10 metre wall. The first man says to himself “I’m going to nail it, and build the whole thing in 3 weeks!”. The second man says “I understand that building a wall is a big challenge, seeing as I’ve never done it before, so I will just concentrate on laying each brick correctly, one by one, and not concern myself with how quickly it proceeds”. During the course of the next 2 weeks, a number of setbacks occur. Bad weather prevents the men from working every day. Vandals come and knock down parts of the wall, and steal some of the bricks. 2 weeks pass, and both men have achieved a modest wall, a few metres high. The first man, aware that his 3 week self-imposed deadline is fast approaching, becomes more frantic in his working methods, laying each brick haphazardly or not using enough mortar, to save time. The second man, under the constraints of no such self-imposition, merely carries on working slowly and steadily, laying each brick carefully, aware that his wall is growing in size, but unconcerned about when the ultimate goal will be reached.

At the end of the third week, the men take a step back to evaluate their progress. The first man’s wall has collapsed, such was his haste to reach his arbitrary goal. He is inconsolable, and wonders even if it is worth starting again. The second man’s wall is 5 metres high already, strong and sturdy. The second man is pleased with what he has achieved, but does not get too attached. He knows that he may suffer more setbacks, but if he just continues at his pace, laying each brick carefully, his wall will eventually be completed.

Since I relaxed, accepted that I wasn’t where I thought I would be by this time and that it may take a lot longer than I thought, and merely started concentrating on just doing the right thing to progress, day by day, and waiting patiently for my goal, my trading has improved immeasurably. I’ve made more progress in a month than in the preceding 8 combined. Now, each failed trade is simply a lesson to be learned, a dispassionate realisation that a nuance of my method was incorrect – whereas before, it was a crushing defeat, a humiliating slap in the face, a stinging failure to be where I expected that I should be, a cause for denial of my situation.

Whatever you’re working towards – improving your physique, building your own business, mastering a new complex discipline, increasing your social skills and self-confidence – it pays to not set yourself unrealistic expectations of where you want to be at a given point in time. The achievement is made when it is made, no sooner, no later. Provided you are approaching the problem in the correct manner (breaking it down to its foundational elements, in possession of the correct information – indeed, this could be the subject of a post in itself), then if you just keep chipping away day by day, with no prior expectations of when you think you will reach your goal, it is a simple inevitability that you will get there sooner or later.

Expectations lead to disappointment. Things are what they are, and the sooner you learn to accept that fact, the happier you will be.