Lessons from the Pros

Specialty Skills

Mindfulness is an Integral Part of Power Trading

He cringed as the price action was moving closer to his stop. He had placed a trade on the EURUSD at a significant supply zone level that coincided with an R1 pivot. David was fighting an overwhelming urge to move his stop, that was motivated by anxiety and fear. Furthermore, streaming thoughts of his last trade, which had resulted in a heavy loss, distracted him.  Interestingly enough the earlier loss had come under amazingly similar conditions.  In other words, he had experienced the price action getting close to his stop, but he didn’t just move it, he took his mechanical stop out right as the market plunged creating a whopping loss.  So now it was even more distressing to watch the candles form as the tick got closer to taking him out because he was reacting to the emotions associated with the trade he was in but all the anger, self-loathing and turmoil stemming from the previous loss.  David’s mind was frustrated, frazzled and fragmented.  He was hardly in a position to focus on what mattered most in the trade – his plan and the flawless execution of his rules.  It was difficult at best to pay attention to all of the important components of his trade when he had the incessant noise going on around and inside of him.  Then the unspeakable happened.  It was as though a phantom hand grabbed his hand while on the mouse and with a click, before he knew it, he had moved his stop…again.  For a moment, he felt relieved; but it was only temporary relief from the discomfort that the emotional and mental noise was causing.  The noise in his mind was causing him to take his eyes-off-the-ball, which meant that he was not focused on what matters most in the trade.  He was no longer “mindful” meaning that he was not in the now of the trade. 

Mindfulness in your trading, that is, to be in the moment for the moment, fully available, fully present and in the NOW is crucial to doing what it takes to be consistently successful.  Some people are focused on the past.  They are inundated by the residue of what has already transpired and ruminate on past trades.  It is very difficult for them to move on.  On the other hand, there are many traders who are constantly thinking about what might happen and are focused intently on the future.  They ask what will be for dinner as they are eating the mid-day meal.  The only moment that truly matters is the one that you are experiencing now.  The past is important, but you can only learn from it after you have experienced it, you can never return.  It is important to learn from it, accept the reality and move on.  By the same token, if you are so focused on the future to the exclusion of what is taking place you are reducing the percentage of attention that is available to stay on purpose and on task with the current trade.  You only have 100% of attention to expend on any situation or trade.  If your thoughts are caught up in the past or the future that percentage available for the trade can be significantly compromised.  The present moment is not only the only moment in which you can live; it is critical to your ability to focus with laser precision on the demands of the current trade.  If you are distracted by what just happened last trade, last week or last month it can also lead to distorted judgment regarding what is in the charts and relevant data. 

Another point to be considered is that your internal resources, for instance, data processing, analysis, memory, etc., are not fully available to you; when your attention is not 100% you are not in the moment.  Trading is a very difficult undertaking.  When you are in a trade with every tick of the market you are either gaining or losing and every weakness, blemish or character flaw will be called out and severely tested as a result of the thoughts and emotions that are activated.  Of course the market is not doing this, you are doing it to yourself.  Your beliefs are triggered and subsequent fear and greed come into play.    And, to be successful you’ll want to be aligned in body, mind and emotions in order to go in the same trading direction and for the same trading goals.  Having 100% of your attention focused on what matters most cannot be overly emphasized.  Mindfulness is a method of ensuring that you are fiercely focused and ready to make choices and decisions that get you a greater amount of the results that you want.  It is difficult at best to do what is in your best interest when your internal data is destructively negative and your emotions are running amok.  When your thoughts are clear, proactive and positive, and when your emotions are relaxed, confident and stable, you are in a much better position to plan your trade and follow-through with your commitments.  

Mindfulness can be achieved by taking deep breaths, stopping to become aware of your internal data by monitoring your thoughts and reframing any thought that is negative to one that is positive.  Reframing is a tool that changes the original context or content frame of a thought where the emotional relationship is negative and consequently disruptive to your ability to remain on course.  For example, take the idea of loss.  The frame for most traders is that it means failure, rejection and the emotional relationship is painful.  Now “reframe” the idea of loss by changing the context or content frame as in, “losses are only lessons” or “every loss gets me closer to a big win” or “failure is only feedback.”  Then the meaning has changed from negative to positive or neutral at worst and the emotional relationship between you and loss has changed.  In this instance you are much less likely to do something that is not in the interests of your highest and best trader.  When you are in the now and mindful of what you are doing you can then remain on task and on purpose; you can maintain your A-Game at the platform and get yourself much closer to the results that you want.  Online Trading Academy helps you to remain mindful, and to focus on and do what is in your best interest by teaching you tools, techniques and concepts to master your 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.”

Happy 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.

Join over 170,000 Lessons from the Pros readers. Get new articles delivered to your inbox weekly.