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It is literally gold in my world…stock trading.

In buying and selling equities, moms and pops compete with super computers which execute multitudes of trades in milliseconds with microscopic precision. Automated trading has become a kind of Holy Grail.

Many who live and work in this world of Main Street vs Wall Street crave it with manic obsession. They chase it like Indiana Jones in pursuit of the Lost Ark.

Set up a strategy, flesh out a technique, implement an idea…all before it actually happens. Then, leave it in the “cloud” to be mysteriously–almost magically–executed at the precise moment for highest impact.


Trade stocks on autopilot. Study, research, read, deliberate? Fuhgetaboutit!

Just set it and forget it! Remove the human element and guarantee the results. Make a bundle while practicing putts or getting a massage.  It’s a dream come true.

Unfortunately, that dream morphs into a nightmare for too many gullible people just trying to better their retirement or build their inheritance.

Money lost; peace of mind sacrificed. Fiscal responsibility and proven trading discipline chucked overboard for the latest hot scheme, esoteric technique or quantum strategy. Worse yet, many mindlessly follow pump and dump offerings just because Uncle Bubba heard it through the grapevine.

Chances are, whatever world you live in is replete with the same push and pressure for automation. Program computers to research it, preset digital devices to control it and proactively accomplish it. Oh, and then pretend that it worked!

Everything from package delivery to garbage collection is accomplished with mechanization that is supposed to improve efficiency, increase accuracy and guarantee results. Auto-completed web searches, pre-filled digital forms and targeted online ads all designed to speed up, streamline and synthesize our daily experience.


But for well over a decade I have watched what this attraction to automation is doing to naive traders in my industry…and to people in my life.

It scares me.

Partly because I am so susceptible to it!

Seems to me we are creating automatons who cling to PEDs (personal electronic devices) like oxygen masks dropped from the “cloud” in the overhead compartment. Push the button, leave the thinking to the experts and let the resulting chips fall where they may.

This rush toward automation creates a frantic, de-personalized lifestyle where we can’t slow down, won’t stop to smell roses or consider lilies and just can’t remember what really matters.

What we care about is “now”–packaged, personalized and perfect.

We are living–automanically.

That’s what happens when we somehow convince ourselves that we HAVE to get from this life everything that matters. It’s all we have. Happiness, peace, satisfaction, fulfillment must be milked from the moment.

If now is all there is, then we need the most efficient, effective and effortless methods possible to suck the life out of whatever it is we experience. Automate life…make it work quickly no matter what it costs.


  • What if we are trying to automate what doesn’t work in the first place?
  • What if we are climbing ladders leaning against the wrong walls?

What if we are rushing toward a destination that at best doesn’t offer the life marketed in the brochure or at worst doesn’t exist at all?

Going nowhere fast is still going nowhere.

Maybe it is away from this frenetic craziness–this automanic existence–that Jesus calls us quietly… “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG)

Perhaps the Maker who created each of us for incredible works that make history and form destiny knew something we don’t…

…Kingdom results that are authentic and eternal are not generated automatically by prefabricated illusions or automated delusions.

Instead, the stuff that matters in real life is meticulously excavated from meaningful moments in the rub and reality of raw living. Cautiously cultivated, passionately pursued and deliberately developed.

Nothing auto about it.

You see, “auto” is all about me—like the root of the word “autos”—self. Autograph. Autobiography. Autonomy. Autoimmune.


Life and death depend on me. Outcomes are based on me. My life revolves around and my future is determined by me. Atlas with the world on his shoulders.

The tyranny of the here and now in the hands of me and mine.

That’s a lot of pressure.

It will make me manic…automanic.

But when by God’s grace I realize that now is not all there is and something bigger than I can see, feel, taste, touch–or monetize—is both at stake and in charge, then I am free to slow up, settle down and simply make decisions from within the deeper parts of me.

Life unhurried, unhindered, unfettered, unfiltered–unplugged.

“Be still and know that I am God”…seems stillness and knowing are closely synced.

But not automanic!


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