Lessons from the Taoist Farmer

Lessons from the FarmerHere’s the Story of a Taoist Farmer

“There is an old Taoist farmer who had worked his crops for many years. This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbours came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”

A month later, the horse came home, this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbours became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses. He was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.”

Source: Unknown.


Before you continue reading, have a deep think about what you learnt from the story? Can you see yourself as the farmer? Or, do you know anyone who is like the farmer? Do you think the farmer can become a great trader?


Letting Go of The Past

Some of you might have read this story before. If you have, just bear with me for now. If you have not, then you should know that there are many interpretation of the story. I am not here to decide which one is better but I would like to share with you some of my views and the lessons that I have learnt after reading it, and how it has impacted my own trading journey.

I believe everyone has a journey and everyone will go through different obstacles before they mature and become stronger. Nonetheless, people tend to have different emotions (including sympathy, anger, happiness, sadness etc) towards from the various experiences in their life. And those emotions can create unnecessary or even the wrong expectations in trading.

Yes, from some, those can be painful. Nonetheless, I am an advocate that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Further more, the fact that you are reading this now, it means you’re still alive. 🙂

Life-is-a-balance-of-holding-and-letting-goDear Traders,

Let’s take a step back and ask yourself, is there anything in your past that is holding you back from becoming a great trader? If yes, I would invite you to think otherwise.

Because there is always something to learn from the past (in case you disagree, those of you who cannot see the lessons, it doesn’t mean that they do not exist). So, instead of looking at the misfortunes, why not look at what you can learn? Just like the farmer’s son, a broken leg (and being unfit to fight) was not a bad thing after all. In fact, it made way for better things.

Have you ever thought that your past misfortune could be making way for something better?

Once in awhile, I hear traders having a streak of losing trades and they immediately gave up. Does that mean the “losing streak” is enough to kill your dreams? In other words, are your dreams so insignificant? If not, then please let it go, get up and continue moving forward.

Remember that looking at the negative side is a choice. Just like the neighbours, they decided to look at the sadness of the farmer and feel negative about it. While I don’t know what was in the farmer’s mind, I am guessing that he probably took it as a random act of nature that was beyond his control and just moved on.

Would you agree?

Focus on The Present

I may be wrong on this but it seems rather clear to me that the farmer had no idea what was held in the future. If he knew, he would probably have kept his son from riding the horse, would he not? On the other hand, if he wanted to keep his son from war, I’m sure he could have done so without breaking his leg, right?

Just like trading, we have no idea what it will take to become successful. I mean, you can have a rough plan but you’ll never know the exact steps until you get there in the end, right? Nonetheless, the only thing that is certain is that if you kept focusing in the past, it’s difficult to move forward.

So, instead of having so much negative self-talks, why not just focus on becoming a profitable trader now.

And remember that it is not a question of whether you CAN, but it’s a question of WHEN and HOW, and believing in possibilities. Once you get that into your subconscious mind, that’s when miracles happen.

Creating Inner Peace

Trading PeaceIn all honestly, the most important lesson I learnt from the story has little to do with Forex or trading. However, as a result of what I learnt, my trading has improved dramatically.

When I last wrote about inner peace, I talked about finding that inner peace and finding it within you. And I believe that is one of the strongest and deepest messages that the author is trying to convey when he/she wrote the story.

You see, there is nothing good and nothing bad about fortunes or misfortunes, things can and will continue to happen in randomness. However, to be able to ignore the noises from his neighbours, the farmer needs to be certain of himself and his actions. Because, while the events were beyond his control, his actions and reactions were.

Hence, instead of reacting to the environment, he chose to remain calm, and that is powerful. More importantly, he could differentiate what was within his control and what was not, and that was clear when he posted those thought provoking questions.

The farmer’s ability to rationalise the situation in the midst of chaos is what I feel is most amazing, and we can achieve that too when we have true inner peace.


Thank you for reading and hope you have enjoyed the story.

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