Sunday, December 29, 2019

Three Ideas To Turn Your Trading Around

Over the holidays, I've received a number of positive comments and expressions of appreciation for the free blog-book that I wrote this year, Radical Renewal.  I wrote the book as a blog (each chapter is a separate post), so that it could be accessed anywhere at any time with an online connection.  I wanted the book to be a gift to the trading community that has been so supportive of my work over the years.  Amidst all the self-promotion and false claims that go on in the trading world, there are valuable people doing valuable things in the trading world.  I acknowledge some of those people and their contributions in the book's appendix.

There are three ideas in the book that could be particularly important to turning your trading around in the new year:

1)  Being a better trader means being a better listener - We fill our heads with what we think markets should do and how much money we should make.  That leaves little room for processing what markets are actually doing.  As a psychologist, if I filled my head with how much money I would make doing therapy and what I think my client will say next, I'm not fully attentive to what they are saying.  Without listening, there can't be deep understanding.  A great first step in improving our trading is improving our focus and immersion in market activity.  We're best able to perceive market patterns across different time frames if we're actively processing who is in the market, what they are doing, and when.  Trading can only hijack our emotions if it first hijacks our egos.

2)  Peak experiences are a key to peak performance - We typically operate within a narrow band of emotional experience.  That helps us get tasks done from day to day, but it doesn't bring out the best in us.  A wealth of research suggests that we perform at our best when we are inspired:  when we experience joy, fulfillment, and energy.  I read the journals of traders and talk with them about their trading and rarely do I hear inspiration and a sense of vision.  Too often, we run our lives to reduce stress, not to maximize well-being.  We achieve a fraction of our potential because we're operating at a fraction of our energy level.  We cannot achieve great things in our trading or in our lives if we're not doing something greatly each day.  We can't trade with inspiration if we're not doing something inspirational each day.  It's the absence of distinctive positives and not just the presence of negatives that keeps us from being who we are capable of being.  What we do outside of trading--our relationship lives, how we treat our bodies, how we learn from what we do right and wrong--are key to either inspiring us and giving us energy or draining us and keeping us on autopilot.

3)  Relationships are a powerful vehicle for growth - Being with the right people brings out the best in us.  Being with the wrong people--or being isolated from people--leaves our many of our strengths dormant.  Every relationship is a mirror:  a way of experiencing ourselves.  If we're with people we can learn from, who support us, and who inspire us, that stimulates our own development.  Many traders are in suboptimal learning environments:  they are not exposed to new ideas, new research, and people doing new and promising things.  Entrepreneurs love being around others starting new companies; there's a vibe to the startup mentality that isn't present in large, stodgy companies or solo, isolated enterprises.  Turning your trading around can't occur in a vacuum.  We gain from being parts of networks that make everyone better.

In short, reaching your trading potential is not simply adding more "setups" to your trading, writing more in a journal, or vowing ever-tighter "discipline".  How we live impacts how well we trade.  We cannot turn our trading around if we ourselves remain static.

Further Reading: