Well it’s official, we are deep into the first month of the New Year and, of course, all the euphemisms are in order, like references to merry-go-rounds and moving much too fast. However, the fact is that this is another time frame altogether; and the good news is that with each turn of the wheel comes another opportunity.
Now, we know that it is with great clarity that we see all the missed chances to really show up, all the broken promises and all the genuine screw-ups that we made over the past year. So often people look at these issues with great gnashing of teeth and angst ridden assurances that next time will somehow be different; but has it been since the last proclamation in 2017, or ’16, or … ? What have you formally set out to change and what, if any, changes did you make? Or, do you choose to ignore the past, turn on automatic pilot and ensure that you are doomed to repeat it. After a while, even though part of you is perfectly willing to look the other way at this car-crash of a life, another, deeper part of you is not. The healthy, strong and awake self that is willing to do what it takes to make and follow-through with new chances, mend old promises and fix what needs fixing, tries to speak-up only to have its voice drowned out by; ‘I’m too tired, it’s too much, it’s too late…’ or worse, ‘I just can’t.’
If reading this has left you feeling even more angst ridden, know that it’s not my intention to have you feel more uncomfortable than you may already. It is my intention to share some good news about a simple way to take one small step in the direction of change; a small step that, if continued, will take you to new heights of growth in your life and in trading.
Let’s consider what most traders experience when a wayward trade that they believed in; a trade that they began counting profits on before the first tick, that after being filled was a flat loss. After the loss, many might say something like, ‘I should have made a profit, it was a perfect trade!’ Actually, no, you shouldn’t have made a profit. How could it have been any different than what it was? In other words, based upon the personal and market conditions and circumstances you devised just the right plan, entry, time frame and exit to get exactly the outcome that you received. It could not have been any different; yet you kvetch and ruminate even into the next trade about how you were betrayed. A real life example of this would be the question: How much should you weigh? Most people that are either under or over weight will say that they should be X pounds more or less of their actual weight; but how can that be? They ate just the right amount of food, exercised just the right amount, and vegged on the couch just the right amount of time to weigh exactly what they do. So, in this situation, as with viewing your past year of hits and misses, they were exactly where they should have been.
What I am suggesting is that with similar circumstances as in the above, you use this three step process. When you encounter either the thing that needs changing in life or the trade that went sour, first you must accept it and be fully prepared to recognize it. Some would say that they don’t want to accept it because that is too much like condoning the behavior. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you cannot embark on a path of change unless you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions and that means you accept it and take accountability for it. If you don’t accept it, you are paddling up the river of denial and nothing will substantively change. However, once you fully accept it you can move on to the second step which is to learn from it.
Learning from your mistakes and short-comings only takes a willingness to document and track the data until you decipher the pattern of thinking, feeling and doing that the behavior sprouted from. This pattern data will provide you with just the information that you need to deal with the breeches of trading process one departure at a time. Just like pro athletes, military Special Forces and test pilots, you’ve got to pick apart the things that don’t work. Once you have identified them, you then practice the weak part so much that rather than doing it until you get it right, you are practicing it until you can’t get it wrong.
The final step is arguably the easiest, but when you step back and consider what it takes, many would argue that it is the hardest; that’s because, in this step you must move on! That’s right, you must turn away from the event and focus attention on the next task while getting wholly into it. This is not a time for vacillating. Like the pro golfer who missed the last put and walked focused with a laser precision on the next hole; so you too must turn your back on the losing trade after you have de-constructed it and learned as much as you can.
So, take this occasion to examine your past year with an objective eye. Look into those things that you say kept you from being the trader/person that you had intended last year. Take the next couple of weeks in this month and devote them to accepting what happened; de-constructing the process and learning from the missteps; then move on with purpose and new found fortitude. This is what 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.