Trading psychology is in part designed to support you to trade in a highly disciplined fashion; that is, to be aligned in body, mind and emotions, fiercely focused with a laser precision on what matters most and to be centered, grounded and dedicated to the trade. This has a lot to do with being in the now.
One of the ways that being in the moment supports your trading is that it refines what you are paying attention to. You are more likely to catch issues that may be brewing with the indicators, the price action, or the time frame. Additionally, your plan has a better chance of being strategic. You are more likely to have used information like trend and price patterns that are relevant. Furthermore, that plan is more likely to be implemented once you have finished writing it. Also, when you are in the now of the trade it is probable that you have anticipated potential obstacles and red flags that may take you out of the trade or cause you to manage it differently. You are always responsible and accountable for your results…whether you like them or not. So, it is incumbent on you to begin to track potential weak spots and issues, to document the trade experience and begin to address them one issue and one trade at a time. Again, this is facilitated by being in the now of the trade.
Being in the moment is an exceptional position to take. Although most people would agree with the underlying premise, if you observed them trade they would not be resonating with the moment. Instead they would be ruminating about the last trade, a rule violation, or some other concern, or fixated on a trade they have yet to implement with revenge in their eyes while stewing in the anger that is fueling the desire to put on that revenge trade. Being in the moment requires you to pay attention to the task at hand and to remain on purpose. The beauty of this position lies in the fact that you will likely optimize your internal and external resources; that is, your critical thinking skills and your ability to develop capacity for strength and endurance in the trade. Let’s face it; your facility for managing your emotions is critical to staying on the right side of the order flow. It can’t be over-stated that mental and emotional distractions are the most destructive of the internal concerns that impact upon your process.
To be in the now of the trade you must first be self-aware. This is a function of being rooted, grounded and centered in this moment.
Self-awareness is not to be confused with being self-absorbed. Self-abortion is an ego function where you are in self-promotion (conceit and hubris driven) and/or self-protection (fear and greed driven). Self-absorbed means that you are more focused on how you are perceived by others, you are so afraid of being judged that it distracts you from the important matters. You are not willing to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability is important for the development of curiosity because being curious opens you up to accepting appropriate calculated risk which is an investment in you and your outcomes. This is the ability to risk failure to test what will happen in a given situation. It is trial and error. Great achievers are prepared to fail because they know that the return on investment is more information and data. Information and data are crucial to increasing your knowledge, and if you increase your knowledge you will learn more, and if you learn more you will do more and if you do more you will be more. This is a prescription for growth and development which inevitably leads to becoming consistently successful; that is, getting the results that you want.
So, when you are self-aware you are becoming more aware of what is going on in your system. Again, you are gaining valuable data. By monitoring your thoughts and your emotional state you can position yourself to shift from being frustrated, frazzled and fragmented into being centered, grounded, and focused. This shift is the secret sauce of being in the now of the trade. You are not only able to tolerate errant emotions like fear, greed, anger, anxiety, doubt and worry by being deliberate in going forward in a step-by-step fashion; you are also “designing” the state that you want to be in. This is a REALLY big point. When you are designing your mental states you are choosing how you want to feel. Yes, this is not only possible but it is a powerful skill that is a lynch-pin for effective trading. Armed with this capability, you can potentially overcome any obstacle that presents itself in your path. Why? Because rather than becoming overwhelmed by “doom and gloom” thinking you can bring your absolute best to bear on the situation; your calm resolute nature, your clear thinking, your empowering beliefs, your fierce focus, your decisive demeanor and your passion. When you are measured in your movements and firmly embedded in the now you are ready to make it happen. Your alignment is predicated upon being in the now. When you are in the now, you are more likely to be congruent in thoughts, beliefs, identity, emotions, attitudes, values and behavior. Of course, you must continually monitor your thoughts, emotions, feelings and behavior to first instill and secondly take advantage of this position.
To be in the now is not easy, it takes diligence, vigilance and a willingness to train your mind. One of the ways to cultivate the capacity to be in the now of the trade is to develop an appreciation for and respect of this moment. This is what we teach in “Mastering the Mental Game” on-location XLT courses. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information. Also, get my book, From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.
Dr. Woody Johnson – firstname.lastname@example.org