I’ve been wanting to write a mindset article like this for a long time, but a recent event has given me the final impetus to do so. The goal of this article is to be my last post to a particular group of people today affectionately known on the internet as ‘haters’. While this is not a trading related article, I believe it can be highly useful to you in terms of mindset, and what you want to avoid for yourself in terms of your own success, well being and self-image, all of which affect your trading and life.
Let’s jump in.
Why I Am Done With Haters
If you’ve ever spent time on social media, or online reading any of the comments below various types of articles and videos, regardless of the subject, you’ll find one staple – the presence of ‘haters’. To be fair, I’m not sure ‘haters’ is the best word, but for now, it will suffice.
Haters are anyone who denigrate others, tell people what they are/are not, tell people why they are wrong, stupid, etc., all the while thinking they are the wise ones, while not having an open mind to different points of view, and are simply going negative when its not necessary.
Although it may seem like there are more haters now with the presence of the internet, and the relative anonymity that comes with posting online, haters are not new to our existence. They’ve been around as long as humans have.
They are simply the byproduct of a fundamental part of the human experience whereby we express neurosis, confusion and ignorance. As long as those exist, there will be haters. And as long as you are not a hermit living in isolation, you will encounter them regardless of what you do. There is no way around this!
When you have a social media account with lots of followers, or post things online, you will without a doubt run into haters.
Enter Vinelco (aka James Peterson)
About a week ago, I got the following comment on my YouTube channel (click to enlarge)
First off, why is this person making comments about my traders mindset course (via a video) regarding my NeuroTrader partnership and hedge fund trading program? What does their comments about my traders mindset course, or me being a Buddhist have anything to do with this video?
Never mind that incongruency, but another question comes to mind…
Why is this person talking about meditation and vipassana retreats when my traders mindset course is 18 lessons on building a successful traders mindset? Yes, there is a 12 lesson meditation series in the course, but that is in addition to the traders mindset lessons.
Clearly this person hasn’t taken my course, so why is someone without direct knowledge of my course claiming they have an informed judgment about something which they’ve never taken?
Lastly, why is someone who has never had a conversation with me prior to this (as far as I know), claiming I’m not a Buddhist without providing any evidence to demonstrate their claims?
Along those lines, my questions to Vinelco and other haters are the following:
1) Do you really think going online, and having little to no prior communication with said person, then denigrating them, is an effective way to get anyone to take you seriously?
2) Do you really think I’d value your opinions over others who know me well, or at least have had several dialogues getting to know me? Do you really believe that? If so, why, and if not, then why spend your time making such communications?
3) What kind of inner ecology/mindset do you have that you feel this is an effective way to spend your time and influence people in a positive way?
Thus far, I’ve never seen any ‘hater’ ever come up with any reasonable, cogent or clear response to the above 3 questions. Yet they persist in these behaviors regardless.
Before I share with you my response, I’d like to present you with another piece of evidence, specifically that Vinelco (on YouTube) also came onto my site around the same time, and shared his thoughts, again – not having anything to do with my mindset course (click to enlarge).
Notice how they posted the exact same comment word for word? Who goes onto someone’s YouTube channel, shares their comments, and then goes onto their site, posting the exact same comments word for word? Did they write this out on some document, save it, then share it on two different channels? Honestly I don’t know, but it seems odd to say the least.
Regardless, I decided to entertain this comment, and give my response. For brevity’s sake, here are the main points of my response:
1) Why are you claiming I’m not a Buddhist without providing any evidence to the contrary?
2) Here’s why I think I’m a Buddhist (which I’ll clarify further below).
3) Why are you claiming to know something about my traders mindset course when a) you haven’t taken it, and b) the course is much more than my meditation series?
Why I Think I’m A Buddhist
First off, for disclaimers sake, I am not a Buddhist lama or teacher. I am also not a Buddhist scholar. I’m simply giving my reasons for why I feel I’m a Buddhist practitioner. I also haven’t asked my teacher this question, or looked for any formal discussion on this. I’m simply providing my thoughts on what it is to be a Buddhist.
If my teacher reads this, and disagrees, I’ll gladly accept her feedback, take that perspective on myself, and post her response in the comments below. If there is any fault in my description of what it is to be a Buddhist, the fault is simply mine, should not reflect upon my teacher or school in any way, and I take full responsibility. Here goes…
I think 3 general qualities make someone a Buddhist (or Buddhist practitioner):
1) That you work with a teacher. This can either be a type of ‘spiritual friend’, or ‘vajra master’.
2) That you minimally take refuge in the 3 jewels (Buddha: teacher, Dharma: Buddhist teachings, and Sangha: Buddhist community), and continue to take refuge in them over the course of your life once you’ve made that commitment.
3) That your training, focus and efforts are dedicated towards reducing/eliminating the causes of ignorance, confusion and suffering (either for oneself, or for oneself + others).
From my perspective, if you are doing the 3 things above, then you can consider yourself a ‘Buddhist’.
Let me briefly unpack these 3 above, and why they are important.
#1 Working With A Teacher
There are many schools and traditions in Buddhism, and they all vary in terms of how you should work/relate with a teacher. But as far as I can tell, on some level, regardless of the school or tradition, you work with a teacher.
To sum up the ‘why’, a simple answer would be:
If you’re not working with a teacher, and just going on what you think, interpret and perceive, how are you ever going to go outside of your own mind, conditioning, beliefs and confusions?
I work with a teacher, and have been with the same one for the last 18+ years. I communicate with her regularly, take regular teachings from her, let her decide what practices I should engage, then I commit to those practices till she feels I’m complete, take her guidance as an instruction, and a lot more, but this sums up my basic relationship with her.
My reasoning above why I work with a teacher is also the same reason why I think you should work with a trading mentor. How will you ever get past your habits, confusions and non-productive behaviors if you’re not constantly getting feedback from your mentor?
#2 Taking Refuge
I’ve not only taken refuge in a formal ceremony several times, but continually take refuge in what are called the 3 jewels, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
#3 Training to Eliminate Ignorance + The Causes of Suffering For Oneself (and others depending upon the tradition)
Unless someone is liberated from the causes of ignorance, they will continue to experience it and repeat the causes/conditions which further create more ignorance. This is what leads to the causes of suffering for oneself and others. IMO, to be a Buddhist practitioner, you have to continually train until your training is complete.
When you examine the 3 points above (which is a huge simplification), IMO it makes me a Buddhist practitioner. I don’t mean to claim this as some sort of ‘identity’, just merely a fact of what my understanding of being a Buddhist is really about.
Back to James Peterson
I wrote my response to James, and ended with a clear communication stating that I have no interest in them posting any more comments on my channel or site. You can read my full response here.
Lo and behold, James Peterson didn’t get that communication (or decided to ignore it), and a week later decided to post the following, again…both on my YouTube channel, and my website (click to enlarge).
Looking at the above, notice how James is no longer talking about my mindset course? Dear James…if that was your main critique before, why are you not following up on this? And why are you posting on a different article than before?
Regardless, I’d like to communicate a few things here as my main response to James.
RE: “Screaming I’m a Buddhist from the rooftops…”
Really? That’s interesting, why do you say this? Reason I ask is, if you search on my site, you’ll find somewhere between 6-10 pages/articles/posts where I talk about being a Buddhist.
We have 1000’s of pages on my website, so are you saying that the 6-10 pages out of 1000+ (or <.1% of all pages) = ‘screaming from the rooftops‘? Really? Ok…that seems a little extreme.
RE: “You’re not a Buddhist…”
Really, what are you basing that on? According to my assessment of what it takes to be a Buddhist, I fit that criteria. Yet I haven’t seen you provide any evidence to the contrary.
But a couple questions come to mind for you James:
1) How many conversations/dialogues have you had with me prior to this? As far as I can tell – none! So are you really claiming to know something fundamental about me, while having no prior dialogues/communiques with me? Really? Ok…that’s interesting.
2) Along those lines, do you really think I’m going to listen to you based on your two posts, particularly where you denigrate me, belittle me, and make a lot of inaccurate/uninformed statements about me/my course?
Why would you think I’m just going to believe you, respect your comments, or even take them seriously? If you believe this, why? And if not, why make such an effort?
RE: “Listing Accomplishments/Credentials Does Not Make You A Buddhist…”
Yes, I agree, however I wasn’t listing them as ‘accomplishments‘. I was merely providing various reasons (according to my criteria) why I think I’m a Buddhist. I don’t think they make me special, nor do I view them as ‘credentials‘. I view them as facts of actions I have taken, and that they fulfill my criteria for calling myself a Buddhist.
RE: “If anything, it shows ego…”
Yes, I still have an ego, especially since I’m not fully realized in the nature of mind. But my guess is, you’re not willing to make this claim either (that you’ve fully realized + stabilized the nature of mind). If that is the case, then isn’t your ego still present in you in some moments of time?
Does the fact you were clearly told “hey, your voice is not welcome here“, and yet decide to come back, suggest the presence of ego?
Does the fact that you think I’d actually value your statements about me, despite not having any prior communications with me, suggest the presence of ego?
From my perspective, I’d say yes, but am open and willing to be wrong on this.
RE: “I’m a Follower of the Buddha’s teachings…”
Really? Please clarify where in the Buddha’s teachings it states you should go onto someone else’s website/channel, and denigrate them, while giving unsolicited advice? I’ve yet to discover those teachings, but am open to them being there.
TBH, I don’t think James Peterson is a ‘hater‘. I don’t know enough about James to make this qualification. I use this word ‘hater’ because over the last 11+ years of running 2ndskiesforex, I’ve run into many people who have come onto my site, and acted in a similar way to James. I’ve had people call me all kinds of various names, which really weren’t kind, nor were they meant to create real change in someone.
For now, I’m sticking with the general approach that anyone who comes onto my site, tries to denigrate me in any way, without an open mind, or interested in dialoguing about whatever they feel I’m doing wrong, in a constructive manner, will not be welcome, accepted, or allowed a voice here.
My general requirements for allowing any voice on my website or social media channels are simple:
1) your tone is neutral or positive (as a negative tone isn’t constructive)
2) you are open minded
3) if you disagree, state why with facts/data (whenever possible), and if not, then explain your reasoning while being open to different perspective
4) you are willing to be wrong, and see another persons perspective, regardless of whether you agree or not
If you follow those rules, and aren’t trying to promote someone else without prior approval, your comments will be posted. If not, then you have no business posting here, and I will simply delete your comments. Thus, don’t bother wasting your time – my guess is you have better things to do!
From my training and perspective, all people, unless they are realized + stabilized in the clear nature of mind, will display a mixture of wisdom and confusion. And I think people like James who do this are (more often than not) acting from confusion when it comes to actions/communications like this.
As a whole, I don’t want anyone to suffer, and I don’t want people to experience ignorance, or suffer from it. I certainly don’t want James to suffer in any way from his actions or communications with me. I sincerely wish James be free from suffering, and the causes of suffering, just like I wish the same for you and me.
One of my main goals in life is to have a positive impact upon myself and others. I can’t do this with haters who a) don’t respect me, and b) aren’t even willing to entertain my ideas and perspectives. Thus it wastes both our time, and serves no purpose to engage with these people.
It is my hope with this article, that any/all who read it become just a little more kind, clear and aware of how they act/communicate online (or in person) with others.
I myself make mistakes, and will continue to do so, especially since I too am a mixture of wisdom and confusion. Hopefully over time, I’ll make less of those mistakes, and continue to become more free from ignorance and the causes of ignorance. And that is my wish for you as well, whether you’ve been kind to me or not, whether you’ve spoken with me or not.
Hopefully I’ve accomplished this with my post.
Until then, I’ll look forward to your comments/feedback (assuming you meet my general guidelines), and wish you good health and growth in your mindset, trading and life.