Wednesday, October 16, 2019

How To Make Meaningful Changes In Your Trading

The above observation seemed to resonate with a number of attendees at the recent Traders4ACause conference.  It's not enough to write a journal and express written goals.  If you're not making daily efforts at change, change never occurs.

This is a very important principle.  Ultimately, everything we do is practice.  We are either practicing the right thoughts and behaviors or we are "practicing" the wrong ones.  We always internalize our experience.  It's when we tackle change on a daily basis that the change becomes part of us.  The great enemy of change is procrastination.

So how do we overcome procrastination?  As long as the prospect of change feels as though it will *consume* energy, we'll find ways to avoid it.  We're wired to conserve our limited energy supplies.  If something doesn't feel like a necessity, we tend to put it off.  

The key to undertaking daily changes is to find a framework for pursuing your goals that *gives* you energy.  That means framing goals in inspiring ways.  It means finding the right social support for your goals.  It means emotionally linking to the trader--and person--you ultimately want to become.  This is why "discipline" alone will not bring you to your life goals.  Ultimately, it is *how* we pursue our goals that determines whether they are energy-renewing or energy-draining.

Traders often wonder why they aren't improving.  After all, they're putting in screen time and journaling their results! But that approach wouldn't facilitate change in any field.  You could spend endless hours playing chess and keep summaries of your games, but nothing would change.  The real chess masters literally replay every one of their games and review in great detail what they could have seen differently, which moves they could have made.  In the process of extensively reviewing many, many games, they internalize new ideas.  They get far more experience than grandmaster wannabees because they pick apart each game and figure out how an expert would have set a strategy and put it into practice.  Move. By. Move.

That replaying of the game is a process of discovery.  You learn to see new and different things and identify new, promising areas of opportunity.  That is *exciting*; it gives energy.  So often we procrastinate because we approach the change process with no sense of urgency, enthusiasm, or inspiration.

The motivation to trade is very different from the motivation to learn trading.  You can learn quite a bit from money managers and traders by observing them outside of market hours.  It's the productivity of the non-trading hours that determines the ultimate level of mastery achieved.

Further Reading: