Lessons from the Pros

Specialty Skills

Getting Desired Trading Results: Where Are You Placing Your Focus?

How are you framing your trading process?  In other words, what are you focusing on as you are preparing, processing and creating your trade plan?  Is it something like… “Where is this going and will the plan work out?”  Or, perhaps it’s worse… “I just can’t seem to get this right; why do I always lose?”  This type of thinking begins to spiral downward to the point of becoming out-of-control and it definitely can destroy your trading results by causing you to take your focus off what matters most in the trade.  When the results do come they quite often are exactly what you were afraid of – more losses caused by something that you didn’t do that you should have done, or something that you did that you shouldn’t have done.

It’s so easy to get caught in problem oriented thinking; you can become consumed by what you don’t want.  The trader becomes immersed in the issue(s) (often related more to irrational and limiting beliefs than what’s happening in the charts) rather than focused on what you truly want; i.e., to keep your commitments to mastering rule based trading.  In those instances, most traders know what to do, but they become caught in a self-imposed straight jacket made of their own thinking.  Preoccupation with what you don’t want keeps your energy, your resources and your emotional attention on the undesirable condition.  In other words, your energy flows where your attention goes; and more times than not you end up with what you don’t want.  This is what is also called an “away from” filter of thinking; meaning that you are motivated to move away from that which you don’t want. For example, you might want to change brokers because you don’t like the platform structure of the one you are using.  Or, you want to learn to trade because you hate your job.  These examples do represent motivators; however, they are fairly weak in comparison to motivators connected to what you crave.  Here are a number of additional “away from” goals:Stop Loss

I want to stop chasing trades

I want to cease moving my stops

I want to stop feeling so anxious when the markets open

I have to stop losing so much money

With examples like the above, you end up not only thinking more about the undesirable condition, you also will attract to you more of that condition rather than the opposite.  Achieving desired results is like sailing to Spain from Boston, you’ll never get there if your sights are set on Nova Scotia.  You need to know where you want to end up before you set sail.

It’s important to know what you really want and make it a focus of your actions.   Achievers understand the power of knowing what they want and envisioning that specifically and clearly.  It is a matter of having a compelling set of goals that stem from a compelling reason for those goals.  There is a pattern to this thinking, which is focused on the goals.  Additionally, achievers are often unaware of this process.  It is an outgrowth of the hunger, the intensity and the passion with which they desire what they want.  This type of focus acts like a turbo charger catapulting them into the desired results.  This is “results oriented” thinking.  Notice the difference between these two thoughts: “I hope this plan works out, I should use the “Odds Enhancers” but what’s the use, the market is out to get me anyway.” And this one… “I’ve done everything I can to ensure that I’ve got a high probability trade, now let me make sure that I’m managing the details as I get filled.”

For most people this difference is striking.  Even if you’ve only been trading for a short time, it’s possible for you to understand that you may still be lacking important knowledge but all-the-more willing to do what it takes to get the knowledge that you need.  Additionally, you might realize that you could be at a disadvantage and that the first order requirement is to protect your portfolio at all times.  With this kind of thinking you would become fiercely attuned to what is in your best interest and you would passionately want to achieve your stated goals.  In this mindset you might talk to your trading buddies about what is important to you and accomplishing goals for not only yourself but also your family.  In this mode you would be respectful of differences of opinion but you would not easily be moved from your objectives.  Your eyes are on the prize.  You would show yourself to be on track to achieve your outcomes as you enjoy the journey toward them.

Being results oriented means envisioning what you really want as if you stepped into the future and got it.  In the words of Steven Covey, this “towards thinking” is “beginning with the end in mind.”  For example, identifying what you want in a broker, finding those features and then making the move.  Or, identifying that there are specific things about trading that you thoroughly enjoy and setting a plan in order to make the transition from a job or career.  Consider the difference:

I want to patiently wait for high probability trades;

My stops are extremely important to my trades and I let them do their job;

I enjoy and promote feeling relaxed and calm when the markets open;

I plan my trades and trade my plan protecting my money at all times;

Moving toward your goals creates focus by increasing the energy around the desired condition.  If you program yourself to think about being calm or getting things right, you are dramatically increasing the chances that this is how you will be.  Achievers have mastered self-programming.  It doesn’t mean that they are not challenged or that things aren’t difficult; but, they use these situations as opportunities to ramp up their focus on the important things in both their trading and in their lives.  They have modeled themselves on excellence.   Results oriented thinking is about identifying what galvanizes your focus and your passion.  This is the type of self-programming that we teach in “Mastering the Mental Game” courses.   Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information.  Learn to bring your A-Game to your platform and keep it there; you’ll need it if you plan on being consistently successful, where success is defined as planning your trades, trading your plan and being completely governed by rule based trading.   Also, get my book “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.”

Happy Trading,

Dr. Woody Johnson


DISCLAIMER 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.