I mentioned in my last blog post (Shifting Fcous – Part 1) that this month I have come to a major turning point in my life — one where I have decided that I’m going to elevate to top priority reducing my pain levels in order to create a “life space” where I can function productively.
Short of resorting to long-term use of drugs, which I am not prepared to do, this will mean working out how to re-draw the “brain map” that is keeping me in severe pain, as such maps do, for example, in what is known as phantom pain syndrome.
Readers interested in the science and clinical relevance of neuroplasticity might like to know about “Soft-Wired” … a new, non-technical book from field leader, Dr. Michael Merzenich.
Thus I will now be using the Kunming rehab program as a platform for staying fit for the next couple years and devote the few good hours I have each day to study.
When not at the hospital rehab center, I have been constantly studying a subject known as “technical trading” of financial assets. My ambition is to create out-sized wealth in support of neuroscience research.
Presently, I trade government bond futures, large cap equities and the foreign exchange cash market. The methodology I use is based on complex geometry that reflects graphically what might be called the “animal spirits” of financial markets.
Used correctly, technical trading enables accurate anticipation of oncoming price changes without reference to news or fundamentals of any kind.
Focus on technical trading when I’m not at the gym is about the only activity that enables me to avoid thinking constantly about the pain. Indeed, I view trading financial assets through a sort of libertarian prism, as being an activity that allows a skilled and disciplined individual more life flexibility that any other endeavor I’d discovered even before my accident.
Notwithstanding the complexity of the geometric patterns formed by price and time data, most successful traders consider consistent success to be 90% psychological. Consequently, not only do I strive daily to refine the technical aspects of my work, but I’m also constantly striving to secure peace of mind and reducing the anger I often feel about the accident.
Many of the great traders, who’ve earned literally billions in a single career, say that their trading performance greatly improved after they learned to accept and understand a wide spectrum of their own emotions.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that once you can accept the reality of a bad experience (like breaking your neck!) and learn to detach specific negatively charged emotions from certain beliefs, then you can push those emotions into a neutral place and think more clearly about a lot of things … like anticipating accurately today tomorrow’s Treasury Bond price! I reckon that if I can get that down cold, I’ll be able to fund an awful lot of research.
I know from talking with many of my new handicapped friends that it is quite common to hold onto the past and never truly find a “happy” place after the accident.
Frankly, I woke up one day this month and decided that it is just too exhausting being unhappy all the time. I realized that if I spent more time working towards accepting my situation, then I could make a lot of progress in the coming year.
I realize this is an ongoing and, indeed, lifetime challenge that most spinal cord injury survivors go through on a daily basis. Of course, I also appreciate the fact that less than 100 years ago most of us would not have survived the accident in the first place!
On paper, this adjustment process reads a lot easier than it is actually accomplished in real life. So I’ll need to keep beavering away for quite some time at resolving all my issues, but I have to accept that I will never be as I was before the accident, and so I am determined to find a new identity that squares with my new reality.
I have been reading a lot of books and studying different methodologies to get to grips with these psychological issues, so if some readers are interested in any of the systems I am pursuing, please feel free to e-mail me.
Finally, I’ve observed that a good many spinal cord injury survivors I have met seem to be constantly trying to prove themselves physically via extreme sports, such as quadriplegic rugby, basketball, etc.
While I admire greatly their courage and determination, I also think a lot about the effects of likely further injuries from these rough sports for handicapped people. Maybe that’s because successful traders are cagey about assessing risk.
Meanwhile, I haven’t met too many handicapped people who want to prove themselves competitively with their uninjured brains — be that financially, educationally, psychologically, etc.
So I’m working on a career approach that takes advantage of my uninjured brain, which first I have to re-program to ditch the pain!
Although I do not understand a word or even a syllable! of your trading theories, I DO understand your plan to focus on ditching the pain and reconciling/inventing a new version of you that is based on your talents, expertise and intellect. I think this is a GREAT approach and I say that knowing it is terribly complicated and certainly not a straight line to where you are going. I wish you the very best in generating huge profits financially and in your path to inner peace (sounds a bit corny but you know what I mean). xo
I follow your blog with great interest, but have never commented until reading this one. Diane and Ian are friends and former Cornwall neighbors, and my sister, now 60, has been a quad since a car accident when she was 21. My sister long ago reached acceptance and contentment, but frankly, she never showed your drive or determination. It’s been a challenging road for her, too, but she never endured your pain! I have no doubt that you will achieve great things personally, and for others will spinal cord injuries. Please know that I’m following your path with admiration, and also with the greatest respect for your wonderful family.
I have no doubt you will meet the brainy challenges you have set for yourself 🙂
Sounds like a very good plan. You are not like the rest Ali. You are making your own mark – it’s a journey and this is a terrific breakthrough. I’m rooting for you all the way and know in my heart you’ll find your way. You’ve done so much already. Hugs…
It sounds to me like you have taken a very important psychological step. I have great admiration for you Ali, and your obvious determination gives me confidence you will keep trying to put this into practice. I think it is so wonderful that you share your journey with so many. Many hugs, Tania.
This is my favorite post you’ve written. It’s so honest and you. And by the way, I can think of one person…. Stephen Hawking 🙂 Different “injury /illness” but still… Miss you so much!
great awareness and insight, I enjoy reading your blog
Dr. Susan Solman Sent from my iPad
Thank you for shariing this