Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Making Fear Your Friend

In life, as in the gym, there is no such thing as comfortable change.  Change requires moving beyond one's comfort zone and challenging one's limits.  With those challenges comes uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.  What makes us most comfortable--most free of fear--is precisely what keeps us from changing.  As the saying goes, if you change nothing, nothing will change.  The comfortable life is the static life.

The implications of this view are profound.  We think of anxiety and fear as negative emotions.  We focus on limiting, eradicating, or coping with those feelings.  As the quote above suggests, however, anxiety and fear yield energy.  That flight or fight response aroused by an anxiety-producing situation can disorganize us--or it can propel us to challenge our limits.  A great deal of performance success consists of making a friend of fear: using it to motivate and energize fresh responses to challenge. 

Are you afraid of taking a loss?  Afraid of growing your sizing and risk-taking?  Afraid of expanding into new trading instruments or approaches?  Afraid of looking foolish by going against consensus thinking?  

Consider the possibility that fear is pointing the way toward your growth.  Fear is giving you the energy to take appropriate losses, grow your trading, expand your universe, and exercise your independent thought.  If fear is your friend, pointing the way toward your growth, perhaps your deepest confidence will come from seeing--first hand--that you truly can master what you're afraid of.  

Every fear is an opportunity for mastery.

Successfully facing anxieties yields ever higher levels of security.

The trader who totally controls emotions is the trader in his or her comfort zone, not the trader who is growing and adapting.  Anxiety is a problem waiting for a solution.  It is comfort we should fear.

Further Reading:  Becoming Solution Focused