2nd Skies Trading

What Dogs Can Teach Traders About Overcoming Obstacles

In the month of October, I had planned to do a big article on price action and ichimoku. However, I had a significant life changing event which took me away for a few weeks.

My dog (Noodle – image below) had what we thought was a ‘stroke‘ of sorts.

The morning of her ‘stroke’, she was running around as usual, happy as can be. But in the middle of the day, I was suddenly called by my girlfriend to look at Noodle. She was having trouble walking, balance was off, and looked like she had a seizure of sorts.

Being that I studied neuroscience, I immediately started looking for signs of neurological damage. What I noticed was her eyes were twitching horizontal to the right (about .5) inches virtually every second with metronome like timing.

The twitching eye condition is called Nystaxis, and it’s symptoms communicate ‘neurological‘ problems.  Needless to say, we took her into the local vet emergency room.

The vet gave us some bad news. Noodle had what is called ‘Old Vestibular Disease‘. The thing is, there’s no way to determine if a dog will ever recover from these conditions. Here we were, at the hard right edge, not of a chart, but life itself and the life of our little furry friend.

We got instructions, but were told to just sit tight for 1-2 weeks and see what would happen. The next day came, and we were hoping for her to be better. But instead of getting better, she got worse.

She couldn’t walk more than 1 meter without falling, couldn’t make right turns (vestibular disease often causes a head tilt like the image below), wasn’t hungry, was dizzy and nautious.

After a few seconds, she just fell in our arms, shaking, looking really scared. We felt like we had hit the end of the line for Noodle-bear.

Then, after a few days, she showed her first sign of improvement. Before, when she’d shake her body like dogs do, she’d fall over and crash. However, this time, she was almost able to hold her balance.

Then she could walk less without me holding her up by the leash.

Then she could almost walk DOWN the stairs by herself, without eating shit.

Then the nystaxis finally went away.

After about a month, Noodle is 90% back to normal. She still has the head tilt thing, and we think her hearing in her right ear is either gone, or almost gone.

But by and large, she’s living her life now as if nothing has really happened.


Minus the first two to three days after her ‘event‘, Noodle kept on truckin’ like nothing happened. It was fascinating to observe her ‘mind‘ through this process.

You could tell she was struggling just to walk up 5 stairs. However, there was no self-referencing about it. In other words, Noodle wasn’t making any meaning about her ‘condition‘ and challenging ‘experience‘.

Self-referencing is something we humans do, where we ‘self-reference‘ what the majority of our experiences ‘mean’ about us (our strengths, weaknesses, inabilities, capacities, are we a good person, a good trader, or a bad person, a bad trader, etc). It’s such an ingrained habit in us, that we ‘self-reference‘ the most meaningless things.

Case in point…what kind of self-talk/thinking did you engage in the last time had a big loss, or made a major mistake while trading?

My guess is 90+% of you ‘self-referenced‘ after you made such an error/blunder/loss. And my guess is the majority of that was negative.

Self-referencing can cause a lot of problems, but watching Noodle go through her process of recovery really showed me a lot about overcoming obstacles, building mental toughness, and how self-referencing really gets in the way of us building a successful mindset.

We’re supposedly the ‘superior beings‘, but dogs got us completely beat on this one.

Noodle is just fully present in the moment, not self-referencing, and not meaning making about any ‘loss‘ she’s experienced. She just relates to things, as they are, without thinking she’s a ‘good’ dog when she wins, or a ‘bad’ dog when she loses.

She has no real mechanism to self-reference, and ironically, by not having this faculty, she doesn’t get in her way, or get down on herself for having her condition.

Noodle has tackled every obstacle from this health scare with 100% effort in the moment. If she falls, she gets back up. If she can’t do something (hearing in her right ear), she adapts (turns her head to the left to hear).

And nowhere in those struggles, process, or overcoming obstacles is Noodle every making this meaning anything (good/bad) about ‘Noodle’. She just does what she can in that moment, and accepts it as is. If she fails one time, she makes another effort.

After watching Noodle over the last month, this little 4-legged dog has given me a powerful life lesson on overcoming obstacles. I’m not sure I’d be as gracious as her had the same happened to me. Shoot, you should see how impatient I get when traffic is going too slow!

I wrote this article because I felt like many of you get too hung up on what you’re current losing streak, drawdown, or struggles in trading mean about you. I think y’all self-reference too much, and it only makes your trading obstacles more problematic, not better.

Noodle taught me that dogs can teach traders a lot about overcoming obstacles. Hopefully you can find some nuggets of wisdom in this pithy post of mine.

I’m back now after this incident and my recent meditation retreat, so expect more regular articles out of me.

In the meantime, I wish you good health, confidence in your mindset and that you become a profitable trader.

If you want to learn real practices and methods for overcoming your trading obstacles, then check out my Advanced Traders Mindset Course where you can learn the mindset needed to succeed in trading (and life as well).

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