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In the Trade, it’s Not Your Fault – But it is Your Responsibility

Dr. Woody Johnson
Instructor

The statement in the title line is somewhat controversial.  There are those that reject the pass that some people are given to being accountable for things like addictions, issues with the law or some other infraction. This faction of the population feels that if you do something wrong, or fail to do what is warranted in a given situation, then you should be held accountable for that act. However, when all is said and done it is true that much of the impetus for bad behavior stems from experiences that happened in early childhood, often years from when the frontal lobe (the executive brain functions) developmentally comes on line. That being said, the caveat is that you still need to take responsibility for how you think and act.

Blaming yourself when trades go wrong doesn't improve future results.

For instance, a child may experience physical or emotional abuse, neglect or some other painful incident that causes them to interpret all that happened through a very limited view of the world.  They then usually create a belief regarding what happened which is filtered through an extremely self-interested perspective and most often will result in the child first thinking, then believing, that they caused it and it is their fault.  This belief often looks like, I’m not good enough or I’m not smart enough.  This purview, once it has taken the form of a belief, can and often does remain in play for the rest of their life. The exception to this comes about if the belief is challenged and through a process of hard work and taking responsibility for one’s self and one’s actions the belief is proven to be inaccurate.  When it is proven to be untrue, then the underlying belief is forever changed.

The change in the brain’s processing of information regarding painful events that have become hard-wired comes about as an outgrowth of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is a term coined to mean that the brain can change and in fact can grow new brain cells; something thought to be impossible just a few decades ago.  This is a fairly recent development in neuroscience and it is, of course, quite relevant to the development of the individual’s ability to resist continuing in a self-centered, and sometimes self-deprecating pattern of thinking.

Free Trading WorkshopThe fact is, that though the tendency to have a self-centered view of the world often disappears as we get older, a lot of adults still have the tendency to personalize everything and consequently experience fairly wide emotional swaths like anger, fear, greed, etc.  This type of emotional upheaval can destroy a trade because the thoughts connected to these emotions sound something like: I’m going to be stopped out and that means that I’m a poor trader.  At this point, the behavior associated with emotional instability is also erratic and often initiates rule violations that cause you to lose money.  This can be especially problematic for the trade when, for example, the price action begins to drift toward the stop.  Most traders, particularly novices, will panic and make something up about the price action and their position like: I’m going to lose all of my money. This may seem particularly melodramatic, but the fact is that self-statements like those in the above are uttered all too often, leaving the trader paralyzed and ill equipped to change their thoughts and their state in order to negotiate through these tough times. Very often this becomes a repeating and frustrating pattern.

Of course the key is, it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it; are you taking responsibility?  Rather than see the situation as out of your control and becoming hijacked by the limbic system of the mid-brain, you can remind yourself that it is not your fault. That’s only step one, however; you must go the extra mile and get back on target by recognizing that it is your responsibility.  You must be able to use the tools that we teach in the Mastering the Mental Game and shift from being frustrated, fragmented and frazzled to being centered, grounded and focused in order to respond rather than react in the trade. In this way, even though it’s not your fault, you approach it from the position that you don’t care if it’s your fault or not.  What you care about in this instance is what your options are and which option reflects your A-Game.  That must be your only concern.  This is what we teach in the online and on-location course, Mastering the Mental Game.  Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information. Also, get my book, From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.

Joyful Trading

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.