This is the second part to our last article on Awareness, Negative Habits and Concentration in Trading. It is designed to help you remove any limiting/negative beliefs which may be holding you back, while building a successful trading mentality.
In the beginning of our trading ventures, we become aware of the new possibilities that await us:
Working for ourselves
Working from home
Not having to go to a Job
Not dressing the way someone else tells us
Not getting paid what someone else thinks we should or when they want to
Working when we want to
and of course the big one that gets almost everyone – being financially abundant
These are all real possibilities that become available to us through the market. This new found awareness of other possibilities for our life and starting fresh energizes us. Our enthusiasm is strong, determination high and focus is penetrating. We feel a sense of purpose in an activity which is both engaging, challenging and rewarding.
But, something happens. Either we hit a losing streak, a big loss, an obstacle, or an inability to read the market. Something happens, and if we lose concentration while engaging emotional reactions, or stories to what is happening, our awareness begins to weaken. This causes concentration to dim, enthusiasm lessens, and we tend to lose energy by becoming involved in emotional or negative mental patterns.
This reduces our ability to trade successfully and will directly interfere with our desire and goals to trade successfully. It is this moment where we begin to hand over the keys, allowing our mind to manipulate us from being successful and getting past our hurdles.
This may manifest into the following scenarios:
-Trying to ‘get’ our wins back
-Over-leveraging beyond our normal limits
-Not following our trading plan and taking trades we normally wouldn’t
-Doubting our ability to make a good trade
-Hesitating to pull the trigger when our system gives us an entry
-Becoming unsure we can become a successful trader
-Unwilling to fill out our trade journal or review our trade performance
-Gotten impatient with the market or irritated by how it is playing
-Had fear about taking a trade
-Blamed your broker, or the market or the ‘gameplay’ going on
-Made excuses for why we lost on a trade or didn’t do things correctly
Has any of these things happened to you? Have you ever slipped into these mental stories or negative beliefs?
If so, it is likely you have developed a negative habit or limiting belief around trading. Nothing could be more dis-empowering to your trading to have these beliefs. It is possible these beliefs already existed in your sub or unconscious mind and are just playing themselves out through your trading experience.
Whether you know it or not, the markets are like a mirror that reflects your mind. It does this without bias or care of who you are. It reflects back to you beliefs about yourself, about being successful, about having lots of money or none at all, about being confident or having a lack thereof. Like a mirror, it has no attachment to what it reflects, it just does it automatically.
When you engage these limiting beliefs, perhaps such as (i’m not good enough, smart enough, don’t have a degree in finance, don’t have enough money, am not mathematically inclined, am not good with numbers, i’ll never be rich or successful, or whatever…) you are letting the mind deceive you into forgetting your natural state.
This is to be clear, vibrant, energetic and healthy. Engaging these energies will lead you to trading successfully. But accepting any limiting beliefs robs you of your natural intelligence and separates you from your inner strengths. They are not the path to successful trading, or being successful at anything. It is in the vice grip of these mental patterns we take away the chance to be a successful trader.
Regardless of this reflection the markets offer us, it is highly likely you came to the world of trading with some of these limiting beliefs. If so, they will be there, like a bugaboo hiding in the forest of your mind. Only until you recognize and transform them will they go away. This is when your trading take flight.
In fact, those obstacles which may be confronting you now will become mechanisms for your growth and success in trading. Ironically, that which inhibits you now will become your fuel for growth. It is our past mistakes and missed opportunities that become an invitation to a new way to trade.
What Breaks Through These Limiting Beliefs?
Awareness and recognition. By taking moments to build our awareness, then applying it to our trading experience, we can see how these limiting beliefs have played out in our trading. It is this recognition which will point us to how unhelpful they have been, and how we need to turn our compass in another direction.
Trading is like riding a horse – it can be bumpy and we may feel like we are riding a powerful beast (the markets). If you learn to stay in the saddle and apply your knowledge, then the markets become a riding ground for your own enjoyment and success.
It is through awareness and concentration we can learn from our trading experiences. These two together applied to our daily trading routine build up an inner strength as we witness our progress. This leads to an increase in our trading skills, whether in reading price action, having less hesitation to take a trade, finding good opportunities or challenging ourselves by being really disciplined.
Methods for Eliminating Negative Habits and Building a Successful Trading Mentality
These are methods I do every day and have been for over a decade which can help raise your clarity, energy and awareness, which ultimately, enhance your trading experience.
1) Posture Check
First thing before trading, along with several points throughout the trading day, take a moment to check your physical posture. Are you sitting upright with a straight spine, or are you slouching with your neck bent forward (or backward)? Your posture affects not only your breathing, but your thinking as well. A straight spine allows the energy to move freely up and down from head to heart and keeps your thinking more clear. Also a neck bent forward (or backward) cuts off the free flow of energy down your spine while trapping it in your head. This can literally keep you ‘stuck in your head‘ so make sure to keep your posture and neck upright.
2) Increasing Focus
For the next few weeks, try and be more focused while trading. Perhaps meditating before you start your day, turn off the TV, close your internet browser, turn off your cell phone and stop checking email. Just focus on the markets and what you are wanting to trade for that day. After you have tried this out for a few days, check to see how much more focus you had and if this changed your trading experience.
3) Energy Check
Along those lines, ask yourself before you sit down for trading, or at several points in the day, what is your overall energy level? I am constantly feeling this to see if its strong and vibrant or sluggish and weak. I try to rate it on a scale between 1 and 10 with 10 being optimal, and 1 being, well…dead.
If your energy is weak, the cause could be physical or mental, so I quickly shift my posture and feel into my body to see if anything is going on. If it’s mental, then I apply awareness to see if I am engaging in any negative patterns of thought. If so, I take a moment to clear my head via a short meditation technique, then get back to trading.
This can be done not only at several key moments throughout your trading day, but also be a constant monitor. Ever notice your energy drops when eating? It’s likely you ate too much, or something that does not agree with you. That drop in energy is your body telling you it’s needing to use other resources just to digest your food or compensate for how it’s not feeding you properly.
As a general rule I use, anything below an 8 or 8.5 and I do not trade. Why trade when I have a lesser edge or ability to make good decisions? Why would I want to trade on any other state then feeling energetic, clear and sharp? Give yourself every advantage you can when trading.
4) Choosing Positive Thoughts
The moment we see how we’ve been interfering with our success, it is time to apply the remedy. Choosing positive actions will inspire you and build confidence in your experience. This will make your vision more panoramic, create stability in your trading experience, enhance your determination, and deepen your understanding of the markets. This positive energy will build from a puddle into a reservoir which will manifest in an increased confidence to trade successfully day in day out, month in month out. You will refuse to engage in excuses, emotions, or procrastinate doing what you need to. You will plug all the leaks and settle into the saddle.
Trading and the markets are the proving ground for our actions and our positive attitudes. So to build these, pick a time each day, ideally before you start trading. Tell yourself mentally, ‘I will not submit to laziness, hesitation, emotionality’ and will turn towards the positive. Begin saying mentally to yourself, ‘I can trade successfully, I can be financially wealthy, I can make great trading decisions every day’. Do this for the next two weeks and see how your focus and concentration changes.
5) The 5% Rule
For the next day, or week, resolve to give just 5% more energy to your trading. Ask yourself what areas you need to develop in most, and dedicate an extra 5% to strengthening that. As you do this for several days or a couple of weeks, see if you notice any difference in your trading, mindset or results. As soon as you feel stable in this new effort, bring it up a notch and add another 5%.
Evaluation and Closing Thoughts
By evaluating the results of these new habits above you have applied, notice what you have done differently, what you have achieved, how your trading experience felt different. Take notice of what you have accomplished and then use that experience as motivation to continue developing your skill set and forex trader mindset. This will become a self-reinforcing process which allows you to become your own teacher. It is that moment you will have turned the trend sharply upwards in terms of your trading growth.
I want to end by providing a list of different patterns of thinking which can either inhibit or help your trading. Take a look at the list below and see which you engage in. I will list them side by side so you can see the unhealthy and healthy side of such mental experiences.
|The Unhealthy Players:||Constructive Ways of Thinking:|
|Complaining about the markets||Acceptance of what is happening|
|Making excuses why you didn’t do something||Taking responsibility for your trading decisions|
|Having fantasies of driving a ferrari in a year||Being present taking things step by step|
|Hesitating making a trade||Acting on your system|
|Doubt about your abilities||Being open-minded nothing is fixed about your trading|
|Being harsh or critical to yourself||Being humble about your developmental process|
|Uninspired to develop your trading skillset||Being creative and motivated to take things to the next level|
|Stuck thinking about past losses||Recognizing past does not equal your future|
|Stuck thinking about what just happened||Understanding how to do things differently the next time|
|Caught up in your emotions||Being clear-headed and not identifying with your emotions|
Look at this, study it well, and see which of these you engage in. Then apply the 5 methods I have listed above and see how you transform these experiences and how your trading changes.
I look forward to hearing your comments and reflections on this.
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Feel free to check out the companion article to this on Awareness, Negative Habits and Concentration in Trading.