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Trading in Alignment with Yourself Means Trading Your Best

Dr. Woody Johnson

Have you ever tried to ride a bike that had wheels that were out of alignment?  It is not a pretty site.  Once when I was on a century ride for the last 30 miles I felt a strong tug, which made me feel as though I were in a head wind.  I had to work twice as hard to go half as fast.  It was very difficult to say the least.  When I reached the end of the ride I noticed that I had broken a spoke.  This meant that the wheel had become out of alignment and looked like a wobbly noodle.  As a result, the wheel had been rubbing on the brakes almost constantly which caused me to work against myself.  This is what happens when you are out of alignment in your trading.  You begin to work against your own best interests as your internal conflict rages causing you to become confused, frustrated, angry and fragmented, to name a few.  This is not a good prescription for properly planning and executing your plan as you trade.  And, your trades are so serious that you’ll want to have all your mindset cylinders “rockin” as you enter and exit trade set-ups.  So, part of the point illuminates the fact that your mental/emotional system is immensely critical to this process of alignment along lines of body, mind, and spirit so that you are going in the same direction with your preparation and training taking you to ever higher heights of trading while you execute your trade strictly according to your plans.

Being in alignment with yourself can also be described as thinking, feeling and doing in a way that resonates with the reality of the charts and optimizes all of your internal and external resources.  It is supporting yourself through states of mind that have a confidence based on competence; it is founded on a belief system that maximizes supportive positive beliefs and minimizes limiting beliefs that may still be in your unconscious.  Being in alignment also means that you are aimed to be and remain in the “now” of the trade because you are necessarily reducing the available attention in your mind when you allow yourself to become distracted and fragmented.  Becoming distracted and fragmented are negative in and of themselves; but when you are in the trading process these negatives compound your deficits and exacerbate any ill thoughts or feelings that you might be experiencing.  No doubt you have noticed when you were out of alignment and out of the trader zone in a trade where you became highly conflicted about what would be the best thing to do versus what your ego was telling you.  That ego-voice might have been telling you, “Don’t mind that plan, you can move that stop if you want to!”  Another indication that you are out of alignment is when your values become challenges; for instance, instead of “keeping commitments and promises,” you seem to become tolerant of rule violations and other lapses of judgment.

When you think, feel, say, and do in a way that is congruent—meaning that you have internal and external consistency, perceived by others as sincerity or authenticity—then you are in alignment.  It can also be termed an ‘intra-rapport’, moving in tandem with self, in sync and balanced, centered and grounded.  You can also be described as having integrity and ‘walking your talk’.  Alignment cannot be overstated in its importance to trading or anything that involves performance, for like the congruency and alignment of the moving parts of an engine or piece of machinery, if integrity and alignment are compromised, even in minute ways, the object will either not reach its destination or it will, due to internal friction, become off course and disengaged to the point of disruption and destruction.  On the other hand, when alignment is true, optimal performance is all but guaranteed.  All parts are moving towards the same goal and in the same direction with precision.

Humans are often out of alignment, but sadly, many don’t recognize it.  They trudge along trying through force of will to achieve desired outcomes, and when they descend into mental and emotional fatigue due to the stress of moving against themselves, they often wonder why and search for the answer to their issues from every vantage point but the one that matters—inside of themselves.

There are many parts that are involved in alignment.  Some of the more important parts are:

  • Purpose
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Identity
  • Behavior

Purpose is first on this list because it’s of vital importance that you’ve identified the reason why you are in pursuit of any goal, objective, or desire.  You must be able to answer the “why” question.  A compelling reason will not only move, but catapult you to achievement.  There are categories of reasons that form the context for being compelling, such as:

Marriage or family—when you associate the thing you want with the people you cherish, that thing you want also inherits a large degree of that energy.  Spirituality is another of the “compelling” reasons that might be used.  By tying what you want to your notion of the Creator and devotion; that is, to do things on a higher plane, for some holds great force.  Also, the concept of community and one’s desire to be an agent for positive change would be a powerful reason as well for some people.  Additionally, your reasons may have a strong tie with personal growth, to be the best that you can be.  Knowing the underlying gripping reasons why you want to trade will greatly support your success.  Know what your purpose is for trading and it will go a long way in the service of you goals.  Online Trading Academy has Extended Learning Track programs that can help you to identify that compelling reason which will tie into your passion and greatly support you in becoming and remaining aligned.

Next, you’ll want to have beliefs that support your purpose.  Of course, you must first know what your beliefs are.  Many of your beliefs are unconscious and must be discovered through a process of introspection and reflection. An excellent vehicle for this process is a Thought Journal to be used with your Trade Log.  For instance, by using your Thought Journal, if you discover a belief that you lack the intelligence and analytical skills, or if you think that the markets are based on “luck” and you are not lucky, then it doesn’t matter much how compelling your reason is for trading.  You are out of sync and the prospects of becoming successful—as long as you harbor those notions—are slim to none.  You should be able to answer the question: What are my beliefs about the market, my abilities, and my worthiness?

Values are also critical.  As with beliefs, values must, for the most part, be uncovered.  You may want to “choose” values that are lofty and noble, but if you aren’t already “living” a value, it is not a personal value; it’s a personal principle, no matter how much you talk about it.  Personal principles and values are similar but not the same.  Personal principles are what you hold as important, and you aim to be true to those standards and maintain them.  Personal principles are what you “want” to live by. Values are how you are living – how you roll, so to speak.  Once you identify a personal principle and incorporate it into your life by committing to it as a behavioral standard and using it as a mantra of movement, then you transition to holding it as a value.  That is why values-clarification is misunderstood by some.  They think that, given a list of salient-sounding concepts like honesty, charity, health, wisdom, learning, diligence, integrity and so forth, they would then include in their personal values list the ones they “like.” However, you can no more declare a value than you can declare good health without doing what it takes to be in good health; this would be out of alignment and incongruent.  Here is how it works taking for example good health.  You would have to declare your commitment to good health, then eat, sleep, and exercise to finish the equation to take it from personal principle or aim to a personally held value.  You can change a principle into a value once it is assimilated into the fabric of your being and reflected in how you live.  So, true personal values are reflected in where your attention flows and what your behavior shows.

Identity is another important aspect of you that must be in alignment.  It is the description of who you are.  Of course, you must first figure out which person in you we’re talking about.  Who are you first thing in the morning?  Who are you when you are really stressed?  Who are you when things are going well?  Who are you when you’ve just entered into a trade with an oversized position?  The fact of the matter is that you are not one personality; rather, you are an amalgam of any number of personas fashioned by your experiences taken from all manner of influential figures throughout your life.  The trick is to identify the person you’d like to be and begin to incorporate courageous change into your daily routine to activate the strong, healthy parts of you towards being that person.  In this way, you can use the treasure from your wounds and focus on the goals of your highest and best self. When you are able to do this, you are on your way to becoming, step by step, the person you aspire to be.

Finally, what are you doing in the service of your alignment?  Are you focused with a purpose that encompasses the desired outcome?  Behaviors are the test of alignment.  In other words, are you doing what you said you were going to do, like keeping commitments, following through with projects and following up on task items?  Do you have a trading plan and are you following through on it?  Do you have trading rules?  Are you practicing appropriate money management and position sizing?  When you have losses or experience other disappointments, are you able to accept the reality and move on, or do you wallow in self-pity, sadness, and anger?  Are you following the market? Or, do you wish, hope, pray, and otherwise try to make the market go where you want it to go?  Are you journaling?  Are you logging your trades? What you do speaks volumes about who you are.  Alignment also relates to how you are conducting yourself in other parts of your life. Are you expecting more from others than you are willing to give yourself?  Are you keeping your promises?  Are you having difficult conversations with loved ones and other important people in your life?  Are you exhibiting courage? Align yourself and your trading for consistent success.  You are an organic machine, and you work best when all parts of you are working in the same direction and on the same goals.  Online Trading Academy is poised to assist you in successfully preparing yourself to trade as a winner, planning your trades, trading your plans and following all of your rules.  Ask your Educational Counselor for more information.

Happy Trading!

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.