Saturday, April 28, 2018

Adjusting Your Trading Focus

My most recent Forbes article relates an unusual trading experience that I had last week.  I greatly reduced the number of things I watched on my screens and adapted a meditation routine I have long used to tracking the ES market.  

This was contrary to my usual trading in a few respects.  I was not working with any preconceived ideas about market direction (although I had reviewed all my research in advance) and I was not looking for trade "setups".  My sole focus was focus.  I immersed myself in market behavior the way I would immerse myself in the behavior of a distressed client I was speaking with in my work as a psychologist.

What I can relate (and the Forbes piece details) is that the extreme level of focus completely changed my trading.  I picked up on patterns I had not even considered in advance.  It was the most unusual and powerful trading experience I have had in years.  It was also the most profitable in years.

There aren't many experiences I would describe as "life-changing", but this one comes awfully close.  As a result, I have committed myself this year to literally relearn trading, with the central component being the creative perception and pattern recognition that come from enhanced focus.

It is ironic that we fill our heads with more and different things to track in markets: various indicators, time frames, charts, chats, and so forth.  It was only when I thoroughly emptied my head that I was actually able to *see* what was happening.

I am all too aware that this sounds hopelessly mystical and subjective.  If I didn't have the experience of doing my best work as a psychologist when I have been most highly focused on people, I probably wouldn't have believed what happened with trading under focus.  It may well be that controlling emotions, enhancing discipline, and all the things traditional trading psychology talk about are effective only insofar as they improve our focus.  By working directly on techniques to enhance our focus, we may best access our ability to process noisy market data.