Expectation vs. Faith

A young couple phoned into the radio station one day, seeking advice on their rebellious teen daughter. The teen broke curfew every night, often coming home at the late hours near dawn. This drove her parents nuts.

But I’ll never forget what the radio counselor said next. “Switch your perspective from expectation to faith.”

Expectation means demanding that your child come home at a specific time, which doesn’t leave her much room. Unexpected situations can happen. But having faith meant believing that you raised her well enough that she will come home safe and sound. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But by continuing to exhibit faith, one day she’ll come around and come home on time.


In my early trading years, my own parents would occasionally sit me down and ask about my progress. When it became clear that my 6 month path to stardom wasn’t coming true, they questioned if this was the right decision. It’s not too late, I can still find a desk job. But at the end of each open and honest discussion, they always left me to make that final decision. And I always decided to stick with trading, at least a little bit longer.

It’s not until recently did I realize that they’ve been showing me the ultimate act of faith. They continued their  support despite my constant failures.

It’s this form of support that I’ll always be grateful for.


How often do I fail to exhibit this mentally in my life, in my trading?

When I was on the brink of my first blowout, I was desperate to reinvigorate my account. I decided the very next trade would follow every single rule to the letter. I traded $P, Pandora. Pandora released weak earnings, gapped down, and setup intraday for a clear support break. In what can be described as the cleanest pattern imaginable, I entered for a short. You can imagine what happened next.

I was infuriated. Everything I had learned, I applied. Why didn’t this trade work? I followed the rules. I’m a good person. I brush my teeth and signal before changing lanes.

But looking back on it now, my reaction was so silly.


My problem? I expected this trade to work.

That’s not how life works. That’s not how trading works. We can’t control the mini events that happens in our lives. But we can control the overall flow of our life’s direction.

And therein lies the difference between expectation and faith. Time. Expectation has an expiration date, a set time in which your demands must be fulfilled. If they’re not, you’re filled with anger and frustration whether it's in your child, your career, or your trading. But take that time constraint out of the equation and what you’re left with is faith.  

Faith that although your child may not meet curfew today, she will one day. Faith that this trade may not work today, but it will one day. Faith that you may not be consistent today, but that you will be one day.