I was watching a good Bruce Parry documentary at the weekend.

He goes and lives with the Penan people. They are one of the last pre-agricultural hunter gatherer societies that live nomadically.

Now their society may not be ‘advanced’ – at least according to Western measures – but each member knows exactly what he or she must do to get the result they want.

And that is: 1) gain acceptance into the tribe, 2) have their basic survival needs met, and, 3) live a life filled with simplicity and joy.

And there are very clear and simple rules that allow each member of their society to achieve this.

Now this all might sound a bit random but I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot since the weekend.

So let’s try and bring some of their primal wisdom into the domain of trading

First of all, ask yourself a few simple questions to get some perspective and clarity on what you want.

It’s easy to get lost in the detail of strategies and systems sometimes, and forget the reason why you’re doing it all in the first place!


  1. Do you know exactly what you need to be doing as a trader to get the results you want – not the results other traders in forums say they are getting, the results that are right for YOU?
  2. And are there a set of simple rules you can follow to give you the best chance of achieving these results?
  3. If you wanted to be welcomed into a ‘tribe’ of other profitable traders, what might you need to do exactly?
  4. If you were part of a (admittedly strange!) tribal community that relied solely on trading for their existence, how might a highly respected member of that tribe behave?
  5. What challenging task might be set in order to prove that you deserved your status as someone that could be relied on to support and provide for the rest of the tribe?

Here’s why I ask…

These remote tribes are completely self sustaining.

If certain members can’t be trusted to get up in the morning and do whatever is needed to fill the cooking pots with food for the women, children, and tribal elders, they are socially outcast.

If they aren’t bristling with spears, and bows and arrows, ready to fend off any threatening advance from other tribes in an instant, they are shunned.

If they can’t bring themselves to do the necessary – to do the things the rest of the tribe expect of them – they get kicked out of the village completely.

Now, when it’s a matter of survival like this – a matter of life and death – it gives everything clarity.

There’s an inbuilt level of accountability and mutual understanding that is unavoidable.

You do what is needed or you don’t last long. It’s that simple.

But, for home traders it can be a bit different. Many have income from elsewhere and their trading campaigns are a secondary source of income.

This does provide an invaluable safety net – it means their families can still eat and the bills get paid even if they have a bad month of trades – but it can also take away that immediate accountability.

It can be easy for sloppy self discipline to creep in.

For excuses to be made or for panicky decisions made in the heat of the moment.

And, worst of all, it can start the merry-go-round of jumping between different strategies and systems. Looking for the perfect one instead of settling on something robust and reliable that’ll actually get results.

So, if you ever find yourself in a situation where it feels like you’re not really making the progress you’d like, do a bit of role playing…

Think: what your own tribe would need you to do if their ABSOLUTE SURVIVAL depended on your trades?

It might mean getting better educated in sound trading principles. It might mean pulling the plug on things that just aren’t working for you.

But whatever it is, go and take that first step in the right direction.

Make your tribe proud.

Until next time…