Looking Back on the Year
The Holidays are here. Where did all the time go? When you look back over your trading goals for the year, has Santa magically given you the gift of consistent profitability? If not, where do you find that you need to improve to make consistent profitability (or beyond) a real possibility?
What actually stops traders from moving forward? After listening to the stories of many traders in all walks of life, I find the biggest obstacle to the growth of a trader is his or her pride. That may sound surprising, but, upon close inspection, it cuts to the core of the emotional instability seen as an old familiar pattern in the performances of traders.
They see they have a problem that keeps eating their lunch. But their pride keeps them stuck in the very problem they want to resolve. Crazy isn’t it? They refuse to acknowledge to themselves and to others that their trading mind simply is not working as planned. The more they bump up against the primal directive of their survival instinct – and emotionally fall apart at exactly the wrong time – the more they honker down and refuse to acknowledge the obvious.
A Mind for Trading Success
The mind that you brought to trading (no matter how effective it has been in the past) simply is not the mind that is going to produce success in trading. They are two entirely different animals. One reacts to uncertainty through fight/flight (that’s the survival instinct of your emotional brain making a house call), while the other that produces success in trading is a probability-based mind that is comfortable sitting with the uncertainty of not knowing outcome.
Pushing hard against your survival instinct simply doesn’t work in the world of trading. It only compounds the problem by adding trauma over losses to the mix. Yet, pride stands in the way. You see your mind is falling apart, but you refuse to work with the problem at the core. The core is so messy. You have feelings of powerlessness, competency, and worth that really have to be dealt with rather than pushed aside. You think, “If only I push hard enough, I’ll finally break through”. Unless you happen to win the lottery, no you won’t.
Managing Pride in Trading
The markets don’t care about your pride or your ignorance. Many traders have squandered their fortune by holding on to their pride until the markets sucked every last dollar. The question is: How much money do you need to lose to accept that you need to change? And what will it take for you to push pride aside to find the possibility of bringing forth a new trader that lives within?
It will take work – and a good bit of humility – to accept the illusion of control that has guided your trading. And it will take work for you to lay down the foundations of a new mind – one that recognizes that the only thing you ever had control over was your performance in the moment. This is where the probability-based mind lies. Letting go of the false feeling of power and control over outcome is always difficult. Evolution has programmed you for short-term survival using reactive emotions, but trading has presented you a new environment where those very emotions become your undoing.
As a human being, you have the unique gift of being able to re-design what nature has bequeathed you. It is possible and you can do it. And you will need to get past your pride so you can re-create the mind that engages uncertainty.
To learn more from Rande, be sure to check out some of his other articles at TradersStateofMind.com.
This website is for educational purposes only. Futures, options, and spot currency trading have large potential risk and traders should be well-educated before putting real money at risk. You must be aware of the risks and willing to accept them in order to invest in all markets. Don’t trade with money you can’t afford to lose. This website is neither a solicitation nor an offer to buy/sell a futures contract or currency.