Monday, May 19, 2008

How I lost the piano wars

My youngest daughter started taking piano lessons when she was five years old. She started learning with a Suzuki piano teacher in Kansas City. When we moved to Chicago, we found one of the leading teachers and our daughter became one of her star pupils.

I used to love to see her perform at recitals, usually held on in an elaborate recital hall at the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago.

The only problem, and it was a real problem, was that although our daughter liked the attention she got at her recitals, she hated practicing. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that her teacher insisted that she practice several hours a day.

The teacher said our daughter had real talent.

Insisting that she practice started our, now-infamous, piano wars.

We would ask, beg, cajole, threaten, and, lastly, scream at our daughter to get her to practice. Our daily emotional outburst would result in either our daughter grudgingly practicing, or my wife and I exhausting ourselves explaining the importance of the piano practice.

Even with her uneven practice schedule, she became quite an accomplished piano player.

My wife and I were happy.

We traded in our baby grand piano for a grand piano. We envisioned our daughter some day thanking us for forcing her to learn to play the piano. Our efforts seemed worth it.

Our daughter became so proficient that her teacher insisted she enter a citywide piano competition. Our daughter was 12 and would compete against the best in her age group from around the greater Chicago area. The competition was held at Triton College, somewhere in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Because I did not know where Triton College was, we arrived late and mistakenly sat in the room with the 14-16 year old pianists. As we missed our daughter’s age group and she was two years younger than the children in the group, they let her play.

When her time came to play, she was amazing.

When she finished her performance, I clapped so loud that I thought they might ask me to leave. She came in second in the citywide 14-16 year-old age group.

That was the last time I heard her play in public.

We still have the grand piano and somewhere we have her awards, but she quit because, as good as she was, there was no joy for her in her playing.

I lost the piano wars because I failed to appreciate that excellence in anything should bring joy, as well as awards. Whatever you do may be hard, but it also needs to be fun.

No one can reach and maintain the high level of performance necessary for excellence in anything unless what they are doing brings them joy.

This is why we emphasize that the ideal of success in
Transformative Trading is to be a Successful Really Happy Trader, or SRHT as we call it. Unless there is joy in what you do, any monetary success you attain will be incomplete and will not last long.

If you are a serious trader, your trading should bring you joy – the kind of joy that comes from doing something well - the kind of joy that comes from effortlessly executing your plan and knowing that if you just follow your plan and make good trades, the market will reward you with profits and joy.

Your goal should be to advance your trading to the point where trading is joyous.

Wishing you joy in your trading, Jeff

Copyright ©2008 Jeff Quinto
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