After a family trip last week, within a day of landing back at the zion mainframe, I got the flu. I’m still feeling a bit under water at this point, but wanted to share a quick article with you about a few great lessons I’ve learned about trading, mindset and the process of becoming a better trader during my ski trip. My hope is you will find these trading lessons insightful, interesting and clarifying about your trading process, along with how you can become a profitable trader.
Let’s jump in…
Lesson #1: There Is No Success And Growth Without Pain
This year I started doing skiing and snowboarding. I grew up skiing, but then after a few ACL and MCL tears, switched to snowboarding as it’s easier on my knees. I haven’t fully rebuilt the strength and endurance in my knees, so the process can often times be exhausting and painful.
In trading, you’re not really building any physical muscles. The muscles you’re learning to grow and flex are in your mind, and this process of pruning old biological/neurological pathways while creating new ones is without a doubt ‘painful‘.
Just like we have growing pains as youths while our bodies become taller and stronger, trading is no different. You cannot grow in anything (sport or trading) without experiencing loss and pain. They are inevitable.
Hence ditch the idea of a pain-free path to success or climb up the trading mountain. It doesn’t exist. Once you get more comfortable with that, the process becomes easier.
To put this into an equation: your desire for success has to be > your response to the pain.
Lesson #2: Bad Technique Is Actually More Exhausting Than Good Technique
When snowboarding, you want to let the natural edge of your board carve the turn for you by simply leaning into it, feeling it, and timing the pressure + turn correctly. When you do this, you’ll often find a natural rhythm emerging between turns as you surf the snow in a zen like experience.
And while you have to condition your body to move in ways you normally don’t do in life (i.e. turning your front knee outside to initiate the turn), the process feels great when you nail it.
However, if you’re not doing this, and start using the back heel to kick your board out and complete the turn, you’ll find your back leg and ankle feeling strained and taking on more force than any natural turn.
What this translates to is bad technique is more exhausting than good technique. The same goes for trading.
If you start going against your biological gut feelings in trading, you’ll experience more stress, which consequently takes longer to let go of. If you have a haphazard trading routine, you’ll never consistently build a natural biological rhythm which supports successful trading.
Thus it’s important to remember, bad technique is way more exhausting than good technique.
Lesson #3: When You Are Fatigued, You Will Often Default To Bad Techniques
I live in a ski town around Lake Tahoe. While we have over 11+ mountain resorts within an hour or so from each other, our elevation is much lower than Colorado skiing (7-10K ft in Tahoe vs 9-13.5K ft in CO). We spent our time between Keystone and Breckenridge (Max 12.4K ft, and 12.9K ft).
Any decent increase in elevation will stress your cardiovascular system, even for routine tasks such as walking. While I took my time to acclimatize myself, I still felt the difference and noticed myself breathing harder, and working much more.
When you’re fatigued, your body will often default to a worse technique.
The same goes for trading. If you’re stressed and tired after work, most likely you’ll perform poorly, or make worse trading decisions.
Hence be really mindful about your energy and fatigue levels. If you start noticing your technique slipping, most likely you’re approaching your upper bandwidth of fatigue.
Lesson #4: When Fatigued, You’re More Likely To Be Emotional
Emotions in trading as a whole are not only good or bad. They can be both, however a large majority of them can bypass our PFC (pre-frontal cortex) which is needed to make a careful analysis of our trade setups and help us avoid bad trading decisions.
When you are fatigued, you’re much more likely to become emotional, and thus, be without the needed biological and neurological resources to make money trading.
Hence if you find yourself being emotional while trading, check your energy levels. If you’re fatigued, it’s probably better to get some rest, and tackle the market the next day.
Lesson #5: Look For Support In Your Learning Process, & Be A Support For Others
My brothers that I spent time with on the mountains this weekend are definitely ‘advanced’ skiers. My older brother Bill (who’s about to turn 60) has been a ski patroler for years, and had no problem sticking a 12 foot drop onto the back side of a 5 ft mogul, even while having his lower back fused years ago.
They’re both really strong skiers. I myself am an intermediate snowboarder who’s really only been snowboarding full time for 2 years. And they were definitely taking me on terrain above my snowboarding pay grade. They often had to wait further down the hill for me to catch up.
But none of this was an issue. They patiently waited, as we were focused on having fun via being on the mountain, which is an absolute joy for us.
As they say in the Tao Te Ching, “there are 10,000 above, and 10,00 below.” Point being: someone, somewhere will always be better, while someone, somewhere will always be worse than your current skill level.
I recently read a review on Forex Peace Army about our trading courses where they talked about how supportive our community is. I’m not just interested in building profitable traders, I’m seriously invested in creating a supportive trading community.
Trading can often be a lonely venture. 99% of the time, you’re alone, by your desk, with nobody watching. Having the support of a trading community can be a game changer for your growth in becoming a successful trader. And helping others become stronger is another way to become stronger yourself.
Some of the most magical moments of my life have been effortlessly gliding across the snow in a natural rhythm without the presence of ‘me’, ‘mine’, or ‘I’. It can often be a ‘zen‘ experience which seems to transcend words.
I’m a person who’s always thinking about trading regardless of where I am, and am looking for lessons or parallels between what I’m doing, and trading. I’ve had many ‘aha‘ moments on the mountain that taught me a lot about trading, the trading mindset, and how to continually grow as a profitable trader.
My hope and wish is through these 5 lessons here today, you’ve found them insightful and clarifying into your own trading process, and how to become a stronger trader today.
Please make sure to share your comments and sentiments on this as I really enjoy your feedback on these trading and mindset articles.