If I asked you if you’d like to be perfect, chances are that you would say yes. Who wouldn’t be seduced by the prospect of always being right, always knowing exactly what to do and always doing it? But, alas, no one on the planet as far as I can tell, is perfect. That necessarily means that we all are works in progress. We are flawed, indicating that the driver of our emotions and behaviors (our thoughts) have many limiting beliefs, unsupportive biases, faulty values and doom/gloom head movies that invariably cause us to do things that moments before we swore we wouldn’t and to not do things that we have promised that we would. This is the nature of humans. Paradoxical however is the counter-intuitive notion that we are perfect at our core. That is, we have been created with a marvelous system that does in fact have everything it needs in just the right balance to be an awesome specimen in every way; physiologically, physically, mentally and spiritually. So, what is it that keeps us from the perfection we have at our core? Again, that would be thoughts. Here is the buried lead…thoughts are both the key to your greatness and the catalyst for your destruction. In other words, because humans are prone through negative thinking to sabotage their efforts, you must be willing to change limiting beliefs, unsupportive biases, faulty values and doom/gloom images in order to change the trading results that you’re getting on a regular basis.
One thing that you must come to grips with is that the trading results changes you seek cannot happen until and unless you become aware of your issues. Yes, you may be aware of the fact that you are getting results that you don’t want, but that is not enough. You must become aware of your underlying self-sabotaging thoughts, emotions and limiting beliefs that drive what you do. If you don’t you’ll continue to do the same thing and you’ll get the same result. You must be “self-aware.” I have often talked about the critical importance to being in the now; in order to be in the now you must be cognizant of where you are, what you are doing, and how you are doing it. You’ve got to be sensitive to changes in your feelings and emotions. Emotions like fear, greed and anger can be triggered by an unconscious thought, such as: “…if I lose in this trade that means that I am stupid.” This unconscious thought might give rise to a surge of anxiety initially and after the loss, self-loathing; but the emotions may not be identified by your conscious mind (your awareness) because you are not in touch with them. Rather, what you feel, for instance, is a tension in your gut, a pressure in your head, or a pain in your back. These feelings are related to the unconscious emotion, but you are not aware of the connection. So, you barrel ahead oblivious to the pattern of behavior that has been initiated like turning on a switch to a chainsaw that has no handler – it can cause a lot of damage.
So, the conversation about change is more than increasing the awareness of your issues and problems. You must develop sensitivity to the signals that your body and mind are sending to you indicating that something is wrong and requires your attention. For example, when you are about to enter a trade and you feel a knot in the pit of your stomach, it may be more than that undigested sausage sandwich you ate for dinner last night. Your subconscious attempts to communicate with you early and often as it relates to engaging in important efforts (like trading) where you are out of alignment and working against your best interests. Actually, when you feel any discomfort, it is usually connected to a part of your inner self that is attempting to express itself. Your personality is made up of a number of distinct parts, which is why you are often in conflict. This conflict is a reflection of differing notions, belief systems and values that are vying for expression. How often have you “decided” upon a plan of action in your trading only to “second guess” and renege on the plan…then to find that the second guessing caused you to lose.
Becoming more sensitive to the signals (internal thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc.) means that you must stop and “listen” to your body. It means that you must be willing to invest the time and energy to get to know you. It means that you must be willing to get outside of your comfort zone and be uncomfortable in the service of your highest and best goals and your A-Game. I remember one of my students decided not to do an exercise in one of my classes. When I asked him why he said that he didn’t want to “remember” the trade and go there. I told him: “…but, that is exactly the point!” You must be willing to confront the unpleasant thoughts, emotions and memories to find out what is at the core of your conflicts, bad patterns and limiting beliefs. What you resist persists. Using mindful practices like self-reflection, introspection, meditation, and just asking the question “why” will help you immensely in your quest to connect with your highest and best trader.
Mastering the Mental Game is designed to help you reach and sustain your A-Game. We teach tools to help you become more sensitive and self-aware so that you can change and begin to get the results that you deserve. We have Online, On-location, and XLT opportunities to help you turn the corner and go to the trade trenches prepared to do battle. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information. Also, my book, “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.”
Dr. Woody Johnson