A chill went through her body. Sharron could not understand what was happening and waves of frustration, confusion and self-loathing rippled through her like groceries tumbling out of a torn-bottom bag. She was struggling to make sense of why the stock she was trading had plummeted. Daily Briefings gave a good report on the stock as well as a bullish CNBC analyst. Actually the stock did go up, just before it reversed; while she was still in the trade. She reviewed her indicators, the CCI, MACD and RSI along with the Keltner Channel and they all told her the same story…at least so she thought. Of course she still had 3 moving averages on her charts as well. What was wrong? And, why did she continue to have drawdowns over and over. She had conferred with her trader friends and they told her that it was a good trade. “They must not know what they are talking about,” she thought. “Sure,”…she continued, “I had moved my stop, but just the other day didn’t I get an internet program that was selling a system that said I didn’t need stops any longer. And, of course there were the kids who kept coming into my office with requests for one thing or another even though I had told them that I was busy. And then there’s my husband, who normally is supportive; who still keeps asking me to run some errands. It appeared that he still doesn’t understand that I needed peace and quiet to take care of my trading. And then there’s the cat that comes in after one of the kids left the door open and he constantly jumps up on my desk causing a commotion each time. If only things would work the way they are supposed to!” Sharron was stuck in a downward spiral and was looking everywhere but where it counts…inside.
Sharron, unfortunately, is not alone in her misguided belief that most if not all of her issues are caused by someone or something outside of herself. Firstly, she doesn’t realize that she is exactly where she should be. That means that based upon the conditions and circumstances present in her trading and in her life, that is, she relied on outside variables like internet programs, news, and friends; she communicated with her husband and children, or not, just enough that they misunderstand her needs while trading; and she has disregarded important facts within her trading environment in order to be confused and frustrated. In other words she is exactly where she should be and getting exactly the results that she should get based upon the conditions and circumstances present in her trading and her life.
One of the laws of The Universe is based upon cause and effect. If you set a cause in motion there will be a corresponding effect. For example, if you have tried to lose weight you might think that you “should” weigh something different from your current weight. But, how could you? You ate just the right amount of food (junk or otherwise), you vegged out on the couch just the right amount of times, and you exercised (or not) just the right amount of times to be exactly the weight that you are…you should be that weight. Why, because you are. Any thought that you “should” be different is a rejection of reality and a failure to accept what is fact. Sharron has failed to accept reality as she blames her conditions and circumstances on outside forces. She also has failed to take personal accountability for her results, and she has seduced herself into thinking that they are not her fault.
The dictionary defines accountable as being held to account for an outcome. Additionally, if you were to look up responsible, it would define this term similarly. I take a different view. I’ll explain. To be responsible is to accept or have someone appoint you as the person who “can” respond to an event, issue or situation. On the other hand, to be accountable is to be held to actively “account” for the results that have transpired. I can be responsible for a trade going sour. But, that does not mean that I will necessarily do something to ensure that I’ll use the feedback to adjust and do better next time. Conversely, if I am held “accountable” for these results then I am more likely to be emotionally and cognitively invested in that outcome so that I will adjust my behavior accordingly to achieve the desired results. To be responsible is more passive in nature; and to be accountable is more active in nature. So, what does that means for your trading? Everything!
You are responsible for your trades. If you execute it, then you own it; but that doesn’t mean that you will “accept” responsibility or hold yourself accountable for the results. Many traders blame everything and anyone for their results. These traders also continually seek outside themselves for the answers to their issues and shortcomings. What’s more is that they crowd their charts with so many indicators and tools that the price action can barely be seen. These are symptoms of a lack of alignment and integrity in trading. It is also indicative of a failed approach to achieving long term objectives.
In order to be consistently successful you must be self-aware while in the trade; that means you are focused with intention on what matters most in the trade. It means that you are in the moment, for the moment, fully available and in the now of the trade. Self-aware also means that you are tracking your thoughts, emotions and behaviors because these internal variables are what drive your execution. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have, if your internal data is conflicted, confused and confounded, you are not going to execute according to the plan…while maintaining your rules. That requires that you be diligent and vigilant about what is going on both inside of you and outside. You must be accountable for your thoughts, emotions and behavior at every juncture of the trade. You must be active in this pursuit if you are to be deliberate and trade by design in a “rule based” protocol. If you hold yourself accountable you are more prone to identify what is working and what is not working both internally with regard to issues that surface in your trading and with your strategies, set-ups and procedures (protocols). What’s more, you can’t identify what is working or not working unless you are documenting your mechanical data (everything that has to do with market information) through a Trade Log; and documenting your internal data (thoughts, emotions and behaviors associated with the trade) in your Thought Journal. This is true accountability.
So, take control of your process first by holding yourself accountable for all of your results. Remain self-aware in order to weed out and root out negative issues that are caused by limiting beliefs and unruly emotions that lead to conflicted executions and rule violations. You can’t change what you can’t face and you can’t face what you don’t know. If you do this you will get closer to your A-Game, which is what you must do if you want to begin to get the results that deep down you know you can get and deserve. In Mastering the Mental Game Online and On-location courses we show you how to remain self-aware through a number of powerful, easy-to-use, and simple tools to discover your A-Game, bring it to your platform and keep it there. Be accountable! Ask your Online Trading Academy Educational Counselor for more information. Also, get my book, “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.” You’ve got to do the inner work to be the trader that you always wanted to be.
Dr. Woody Johnson