Sunday, January 15, 2017

Positive Psychology and Trading Psychology: Bloomberg Radio Interview With Brett Steenbarger

I have to say, in the many years in which I've participated in interviews, I've never encountered one as detailed and well-prepared as Barry Ritholtz's recent interview of me on Bloomberg Radio.  He sent me questions in advance, updated those questions before the interview, and then came up with additional questions during the interview that revealed his prior thinking on the topics.  Barry's podcast series, Masters in Business, has become an impressive body of work, including interviews with such authors as Michael Lewis, Daniel Kahneman, and Philip Tetlock.  

One of the major themes of the recent interview was the role and importance of positive psychology for the discipline of trading psychology.  Positive psychology grew out of the early work of Abraham Maslow and the subsequent research of Martin Seligman and others.  It is the study of human strengths and competencies, as opposed to the study of psychological disorders.  An excellent curated list of positive psychology readings can be found here.

In a performance field such as trading and investing in financial markets, it is the leveraging of these positive attributes that distinguishes success.  Solution-focused work turns traditional counseling, therapy, and coaching on its head by intensively studying our successes--and then building upon those.  The Trading Psychology 2.0 that I describe in my recent book is a view of trading performance that highlights such strengths as adaptability, creativity, and the continual evolution of best practices into best processes.  Those topics were barely mentioned in trading books when I first began working with participants in financial markets almost two decades ago. 

If you have goals and a vision for yourself, the best way to reach those is to find the ways in which you are already moving toward those ideals in some ways, at some times.  There are patterns connecting your smaller successes that can become the framework for larger successes.  We are already the people we wish to become, but often only occasionally and inconsistently.  It is our moments of best performance that hold the key to the achievement of our greatest dreams.

Thanks again to Barry and the Bloomberg team for the opportunity to exchange ideas.  The podcast series is an invaluable resource for traders and investors.