Sunday, November 01, 2020

Using The Body As A Gateway To The Mind


As traders, we expect to sustain various mindsets, but what are our bodies doing?

*  We want to be focused, but we jump from screen to screen and activity to activity, not wanting to miss any information.

*  We want to be confident, but our greatest emotional expressions occur when things go wrong.

*  We want to be energized and opportunity-seeking, but we are sedentary a good portion of the day.

*  We want to generate novel ideas, but rarely do we experience novel emotional or physical states.

*  We want to be peak performers, but our exercise routines rarely challenge us in significant ways.

The great, unacknowledged challenge in trading psychology is that our bodies betray our minds:  what we internalize is much more of a function of what we do than what we say.

So we write about accomplishment, achievement, and improvement in our journals, but how we eat, how we exercise, how we recover and renew ourselves, how we access and express a wide range of emotions, and how we develop our bodies remain entirely mediocre.  Can we achieve greatness if we are not actually doing things greatly?

The most recent Forbes article draws upon research regarding dance to illustrate how the movement of our bodies can shape our mindsets.  There is a very important idea captured in that article: that the best way to shape our minds is to activate corresponding expressions of the body.    

Traders and psychologists love the idea of visualization.  If you want to be more confident and trade with greater conviction, then visualize yourself trading from the front foot.  That's all well and good, but is keeping your body sedentary and performing safe, comfortable exercises really going to help you challenge yourself?  What if you performed those visualizations while pushing your comfort zones during exercise or during radically prolonged periods of meditation?

When we pair physical activity with a desired mindset, that alignment of mind and body is what provides us with access to spirit--and spirited performance.  That provides a deeper form of anchoring, where entering physical states activates the thoughts and behaviors that define us at our best.

The bottom line is that we internalize what we do.  Who we become is not what we intend, but what we enact.

Further Resources:

Radical Renewal - Free Blog Book on the Spirituality of Trading