Specialty Skills

Embrace Trading Challenges

Dr. Woody Johnson

Trading is difficult…at best. It’s not that trading is rocket science; the difficulty is due in large part to the negative and often painful emotions that are activated throughout the trading process. Emotionally laden personal issues that get in the way of trading cause consternation and inner turmoil in traders all around the planet; and every day they cause people to throw in the towel because it has become too much to endure. I know, it’s tough and you question if you can keep doing this. You’ve got your problems and issues but consider this…there are people throughout history with some pretty gnarly challenges too. For instance, some have no feet, others no arms and some with diseases that cause severe pain and physiological, mental and emotional trials. It’s very rough for them, to say the least, but despite their “seeming setbacks” they remain focused on what they want…most, and not on their “conditions.” In fact, millions of disabled individuals across the planet are remarkable leaders and achievers. Here are a few examples: Hellen Keller was born deaf, blind and mute and despite these setbacks went on to be a world thought leader and author. Albert Einstein, the Mathematician/Physicist had a learning disability, did not speak until age 3 and had a very difficult time doing math in school. Francisco de Goya was a Spanish painter (1746-1828) who at age 46 contracted an illness that left him deaf  yet he went on to create the most famous Spanish art of the 19th century. Lord Byron, “Mad, bad and dangerous to know,” Britain’s great romantic was born with talipes, a club foot. It is said that he “walked with difficulty but wandered at will.” He toured Europe extensively and captured the popular imagination through his poetry and his personality.

Free WorkshopHere are some examples of courage in sports. South African amputee Natalie du Toit competed in 12 Paralympic swimming events in 2004 and 2008. She won gold in 10 of them. Du Toit also became the first amputee to qualify for the Summer Olympics. Grey-Thompson is Great Britain’s most famous Paralympian. This remarkable athlete with spina bifida won 4 golds in the ’92 Paralympic Games, 1 in ’96, 4 in ’00, and 2 more to cap things off in ’04. Erin Popovich was born with achondroplasia, one of the common causes of dwarfism. However, though her physical stature may be limited, Popovich is a giant in the Paralympic pool. She’s won 14 golds and 5 silvers since the 2000 Games. Beatrice Hess of France has cerebral palsy, which makes swimming a pretty challenging thing to do. Hess won 15 gold medals from 1996 to 2004. Two came in 1996, six came in 2000, and seven came in 2004. Mayumi Narita a quadriplegic went 7-for-7 in her swimming events in 2004. Trischa Zorn was born blind, but that hasn’t stopped her. Between 1980 and 2004, this woman won an unprecedented 46 Paralympic medals, 32 of which were gold. In 1980 and 1984, she went 5-for-5 in her events. Then, in 1988 she went 10-for-10. These accounts are just some of the millions of physically, physiologically and intra-psychically challenged women and men who suck it up and go way beyond their “perceived” limitations to break through mental and emotional barriers and achieve their goals and a whole lot more.

These brief accounts of those who refuse to see themselves as limited and rise to the occasion time after time are models for how to approach normal issues (like trading) that seem insurmountable. This approach is what “self-discipline” is made of. These individuals define obstacles, set-backs, barriers, blocks and obstructions simply as challenges. They do not allow these things to define them. They move towards what they want with a single-minded tenacity and an attitude that there is nothing that will get between them and the results that they crave. The word crave is used purposefully because it is with a profound “hunger” that they pursue the goal. They develop a “magnificent obsession” which propels them like a turbo-jet towards the goal. A magnificent obsession is a grand mindset where you are thinking about the details of how you will pursue what you want all the time. This emotional fixation creates a blueprint and a road map in your unconscious causing the unconscious to work as hard for the goals as the conscious mind is, with the identified destination being nothing less than the results that you yearn for. When you become positively fixated on what you want most, the conflicts that would otherwise distract and detract from your focus reduce significantly. In other words, you become aligned in body, mind and emotions to go in the same direction and for the same goals. This means that your unconscious beliefs are reflected in what you are telling yourself consciously, and these conscious thoughts are shaping your emotions and your emotions begin to drive what you do…you begin to take decisive, determined and unequivocal action in the service of your utmost objectives.

The burning desire to have what you crave is the “real” self-discipline. With this mindset you are not “making yourself do what is necessary” – you do what is in your best interest with joy and anticipation. It is not “will-power” that is thrusting you because will-power (a stress producing action that is disconnected from your compelling reason – your purpose) is a distant second for self-discipline due to the fact that it is “extrinsic” as a motivator. Here is an example; will-power is wanting money and pursuing an endeavor solely for money, which is something we can all agree is a motivator…but, when you want something as bad as you want your “next breath” it totally changes the dynamic, you now have a primary motivator. Do this: hold your breath…that’s right hold it till you can’t anymore…you’ll come to a point where there is NOTHING that you crave more than that next breath! and you will do whatever it takes to achieve it. This is the “real” self-discipline of having a magnificent obsession as your purpose driven goal. You want it so bad you can taste it; you can feel it in your bones; and you can “see” the outcome in a sensory rich vision that lights up your whole brain with desire. This is where you want to trade from; that laser-focused intention on doing only that which will attract to you like an industrial magnet the trading process that has excellence in analysis, processing and execution as the standard; where you are planning your trades, trading your plans, following each and every rule and keeping all of your commitments. This is the process that we teach in “Mastering the Mental Game” Online and On-location courses. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information. Also, get my book, “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.”

Happy Trading

Dr. Woody Johnson


This newsletter is written for educational purposes only. By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever. Trading and Investing involves high levels of risk. The author expresses personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. The author may or may not have positions in Financial Instruments discussed in this newsletter. Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Reprints allowed for private reading only, for all else, please obtain permission.