Kevin Kelley never played pro football, nor coached at a professional level. In fact, you’ve most likely never heard of him.
And yet, he does something incredibly unique as a football coach, something everyone else told him not to do.
He plays every down with one intention – winning.
Nobody in the NFL or college football is doing this, yet the numbers do not lie.
His team at Pulaski Academy has won 5 state championships (‘03, ’08, ’11, ’14, & ’15).
Last year, they beat a team which had won 84 home games in a row – a streak lasting back to 1999!
And if this isn’t phenomenal enough, after 5 mins of their game vs. Cabot High School, Pulaski was up 29-0 before the other team had even touched the ball!
How did Kelley create such a unique formula for winning? In short – he relied upon stats.
But the real answer comes down to two things:
- He focused on winning
- He stopped focusing on others
And this leads me to today’s title, which was a quote I heard almost two years ago:
“Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.”
When I looked back upon the times I under-performed or lost, I was predominantly focused on others (winners or losers).
Yet when I examined all the times I performed the way I needed to, I was focused on winning.
Hence I decided to change this quote to the following:
“Winners Focus on Winning. Losers Focus on Others.”
Now think about this idea for a second. Take a good look at whether you are winning at trading (or other ventures in life). Are you more focused on what it takes to win?
Or are you more focused on others and what they are doing? I’m willing to bet the lions share of you who are not winning spend too much time focused on others.
In today’s article on traits of successful traders, I’m going to give you 4 reasons why winners focus on winning, and losers focus on others.
Reason #1: Attention, Your Brain & Winning
(image source: simon fraser university brain lab)
Are you thinking about others, or perhaps writing about them on a regular basis (every day or week)? If so, your attention on them is causing you to lose in your brain.
Holding items in our attention and focus requires a lot of the brain’s energy. Every moment you spend focused on things that don’t help you win, you reduce your neuroplastic edge.
This is your ability to wire habits in your brain so you can make money trading.
One of the most important aspects of building successful habits via neuroplasticity is intense focus.
If you are not winning now, you have to build the neural structures in your brain to win. To make new connections and circuits in your brain, you have to focus on what you want to create and win at (trading).
Yet if you are focused on others, or thinking about them every day or week, you aren’t focused on winning.
Dwayne Wade (3x NBA Champion) recently wrote about ‘they‘ when Peyton Manning (as an underdog at 39yrs of age) beat the New England Patriots to advance to Super Bowl 50.
If anyone gets talked about by others, it’s high profile professional athletes like Dwayne Wade. You’ll notice they all have a similar approach to these situations.
Reason #2: Winners Constantly Move Towards Their Goals
Winning at trading requires a constant motivation and movement towards your goals.
There are several parts of our brain which help us be motivated and take steps towards our goals.
One of them is the nucleus accumbens.
People with a strong negativity bias wire their amygdala to become highly reactive to negative experiences.
This in turn affects the nucleus accumben’s ability to produce thoughts & actions towards our goals (winning).
By contrast, people with a positivity bias stimulate their brains to create actions & thoughts towards our goals.
This in turn releases dopamine which is a ‘feel-good neurotransmitter’. Prolonged dopamine input to the amygdala helps tune it towards good experiences & working towards our goals.
But you don’t get this by constantly being focused on what others are saying, or what’s wrong with them & the world.
Hence keep your focus on winning and constantly taking steps to win.
Reason #3: Using Time to Win
CEO’s on average work 14 hours per day 300 days a year. There’s a reason why some outperform others.
This has to do with time management and a relentless focus on winning.
Now take a minute to think of how much time you’ve spent this week thinking about ‘others’ vs. working towards your goals.
This would include:
- wondering what your competitors were doing
- thinking about what that person said who really doesn’t matter for your success
- checking to see how many people liked your tweet/Facebook post
…and anything similar
So what’s your total? Are we talking minutes or hours?
Now take the total of minutes (or hours per week) focused on ‘others’ and multiply this by 52 (i.e. weeks in a year).
What was your number?
Now ask yourself, what would your performance be like if you used those hours to focus on winning?
Compare the two images below and ask yourself which one do you think is more likely to ‘win’?
You Who’s Focused Too Much On Others
Which one of the two above do you want to be?
Choosing version 2, what could you practice, train or wire your brain to do to win at trading? I’m guessing a whole lot.
Hence try going on a diet next week taking only a maximum of 1 minute per day to think about ‘others’.
Anytime beyond this you catch yourself going off track here, repeat the following mantra to yourself:
“Winners Focus on Winning. Losers focus on others.”
Reason #4: Motivation & Your Brain
Remember how I talked about dopamine in your brain and how it helps you move towards your goals? Well it also helps with motivation.
Dopamine is often called the ‘reward neurotransmitter‘. Why is this? Because as you progress towards accomplishing your goals, it releases in the brain creating an expectation of a good outcome.
The greater the value of reaching that goal (or outcome) the faster you move towards creating that outcome.
This creates a self-reinforcing cycle in the brain by releasing more dopamine. Increased dopamine secretion gives you a sense of pleasure & reward, thus a boost of energy.
And the release reinforces neural connections which help us perform that rewarding activity.
But you don’t get this by focusing on ‘others‘ and what they think or say.
You get this by focusing on winning and actively taking steps towards that every day. This increases motivation to accomplish your goals, and that gives you a brain you can win with.
Hence if you want a better brain for trading, continually focus on winning.
Are There Times You Should Focus on Others?
Family, friends, work-mates, students and those you care about (or a random stranger who simply needs help).
All of these people help you to win. They care for you and help you become a better person.
I have a very tight inner circle and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate them. They care for me and I take time to care for them.
I consider that ‘winning‘ as people you care about (and yourself) are some of the best things you can invest your time into.
There are however a lot of people outside this circle who won’t help you win at trading or life.
Just understand the difference between who you should focus on and those that won’t help you win at trading or life.
Along those lines, I’ve always been a big advocate of working with mentors. I’ve been fortunate to have some great ones over time.
And I’m not just saying this to further my cause or work.
I’ve been working with the same teacher for 16+ years and pay monthly for their time, energy and guidance. I’ve spent well over 6-figures in this mentorship process, and 5 figures per year training with them.
Successful businesses often pair developing employees with mentors to accelerate their growth. Professional athletes often have the senior players take the younger ones under their wings for a reason.
There is a reason professionals at many levels get people involved in the mentor-student relationship.
Hence I highly recommend working with a trading mentor if you want to reach your goals faster.
I cannot imagine who I’d be today without my teacher as she’s improved almost every aspect of my life and mindset.
NOTE: If you want to read a great article about my teacher, click here to read about what she says regarding discipline & success.
The Internet & Social Media
With social media and the internet, everyone has been given a voice to say their opinion. Although this has its positives, much of it is toxic to your brain and trading mindset.
Along these lines, my teacher recently said:
“Now with the internet and social media, this is the age of information. What it’s not is the age of wisdom!
Very few people actually go deep into what they learn. Be the person who goes deep and shares wisdom, not just information.”
As someone who does a lot of work online, I’ve often found this to be true.
Go to ESPN and search any football articles about a recent game. Notice how long it takes before the comments turn negative, with people spouting toxic opinions to others they barely know.
I’m willing to bet most of these people aren’t ‘winning‘ at their chosen craft. Winners and professionals focus on winning, while people who lose focus on ‘others’.
I’ve shared 4 reasons above why you need to focus on winning, and less on ‘others’. These had to do with
- attention and the brain
- a relentless movement towards your goals.
With that being said, how much time do you spend listening to or being focused on ‘others’?
What have you learned from this article? Do you have any suggestions to help with this?
Make sure to share and comment below as I’d like to hear your experiences and thoughts on this.
Until then – may you win at trading and life.
46 thoughts on “Winners Focus on Winning, Losers Focus on Others”
Thanks again for the reminder Chris 🙂
Yeah had a feeling you’d jive on this one as I know you can relate to this experience.
Loving this article…
Hello Rana – glad you are liking it and hope you can apply it to your life and find it useful.
Yes indeed Chris. Reason no. 3 happens to be where much of my attention was riveted at. Why so? because time management has been my Achilles heels. And I’ve been struggling to get a winning formula if you would on how to manage my time more productively at least to a fair level of relative satisfaction. And I think your article has just continually been hitting the nail on the head. Now I think know where to begin working on. Thanks again. I look forward to enrolling for the PA course in a short while.
Many people struggle with time management, which has many components to it. Part of it is focus and presence of awareness in the moment. Part of it is planning, part of it is dedication to one’s efforts.
Sounds like there are some mindset issues involved here. With that being said, have you considered the ATM Course which focuses entirely on how you can change these habits and wire them into your brain?
I find your article quite intellectually stimulating and challenging. Thanks.
Am glad you found them thought provoking. Was there anything in particular about the article which caught your eye and made you think about things differently?
Thanks Chris. What a great read. I’m forwarding this yo my non-trader friends.
Fantastic as always.
Definitely – feel free to pay it forward as many people both inside and outside of trading can benefit from this.
What can i say?..another great inspiring article as always.
Everytime im a little bit “off the track”,i then read one of your articles and i know im on the safe path.
Thank you chris
We all get off track at times, including myself. The key is to return and use what methods help you return. I’m glad this did for you.
Thank you Chris. Your articles and ATM course have changed my life and I believe that it will change more and more as I go on. I have been thinking since last week about deleting my Facebook account because I am going to do something more useful than checking other’s people posts and comments. I just deleted my account after reading your article.
Hello Kristoffer (Ali),
Am glad to hear the ATM course has made major changes in your life as it’s designed to change not only how you think and trade, but your life as well.
Thanks for the article. This is a subject very close to my heart. My focus on other people and what they have or don’t have has reeked havoc in just about every part of my life. Just looking at facebook can leave me with anything from a sense of mild discomfort and dissatisfaction to outright misery. And all over nothing other than what my mind created for itself in response to a few images, news articles or comments.
With this mindset, nothing was ever enough, even when I had enough money to do whatever I wished, almost all I could think of was that other people had more. Through the ATM course and various other techniques, I have been learning to see this thinking as a (very) bad habit I have wired into my brain. By understanding this and switching my focus to the positive, I am infinitely happier even though I have a lot less, and I have the energy and focus to do what I need to do rebuild my wealth
Yes, people can imprint powerfully upon us and our trading mindset – this is why it’s key to understand how they do, what they are imprinting, and how we can change these for success.
The good thing is you are making the right shifts and seeing it in your mindset and every day life.
i am thinking that a part of why people compare themselves with others is that they dont have a measure of success and are searching for one. my experience of this is fairly recent, i got saw people reporting 5r, 10r etc etc trades and i began to believe that i would never be good enough at this. at the time(not now, i wish) i had been making 2r a week on average for quite a while. i believed at the time that it was a measly effort because of the reports of these many r trades.
i said this on Chris’s website and he replied saying that 2r a week was good. i have since hunted around and have found that 1r a week is good – from reports of professional traders here and there.
what i reckon is that often people dont know what a reasonable level of profitability is enough for them and only measure themselves against that.
you do need knowledge about what others, especially professionals are achieving in general so that you dont set extreme goals then wonder why you are not getting anywhere.
continually comparing yourself with other individuals does not seem to be a good idea.
Well it’s important to understand +R could mean a lot, it could mean .1% or it could mean .5% or it could mean 1%. Based on that, +1R could either be nothing or a lot, so it’s not necessarily the best measure to compare oneself to across other traders, as even pros are risking different amounts per trade. So again – not a good measure.
But this article wasn’t so much about thinking about what other course members are doing as they can be a support. However being focused on their results and referencing them in relationship to ours isn’t healthy.
Seems like you got this but just wanted to mention.
I totally agree with this article, It’s a great one again!
My experience is to realize how toxic the social media can be, and how powerfully decreasing the performance if somebody focus too much on others need a higher level of consciousness. To set the healthy balance between focus on others and myself need an other higher step on consciousness/wisdom scale.
Great topic and excellent writing!
Hello Csan – yeah social media can be useful, but also toxic. Same with any old blog. Being the age of information, everyone has a voice, but that certainly isn’t the best thing out there. The key is to know the difference.
Nice article Chris…Thanks for sharing
Glad you liked it Raja.
Eye-opening article Chris.Esp. the social media buff, its such a distractor in todays times and makes you lose focus.The reason i believe many people look at “others” is because our physical eyes which always makes you look outside instead focusing on ourselves.
Waiting for more inspiring articles.Have a good week. 🙂
Hello Avanish, yes well our vision is our strongest sense meaning that we take in more input via our eyes than any other sense (approx. 70% of the sense data) hence it can be quite seductive to our attention.
But there is more to this than just how our senses work. It takes training to pay attention to things that help us win and those that don’t which is what this article is pointing to.
Enjoyed the article very much. Society these days seems to be shifting to being “liked” such a bland word. What other people think of you is irrelevant unless they are important to you. Caught myself thinking what someone I just met thought of me the other day and I nipped it in the bud, waste of energy.
Hola Lee – indeed, there are many opinions and ideas shared today publicly that never existed years ago, yet can have a massive impact upon one’s mindset if we get taken off course.
Often times as you noticed, it’s just a waste of energy so glad you’ve seen this.
Always look forward to your blog posts. Very inspiring and motivational. I am very grateful for your time and insights.
Maybe Charlie Sheen was on to something after all with all that “winning”. Cheers.
Howdy James – am glad to hear you find the blog posts inspirational and motivating.
I liked your article but I don’t think I have experienced this internal positive feedback. I’ve a few accomplishments that I was praised for or that were important to me, but I find the release of the data set, or completing the task, is a let down and rather depressing. I’m not trying to argue against your point, I just can’t connect it with my experience. So, I don’t believe I have experienced the internal positive feedback you talk about.
The other points about minimizing distraction and focusing are quite true. Taking a step everyday is how I focused in order to rebuild my bikes, but in that the course is laid out in the service manual: it’s clear and mechanical.
I have to try to balance my trading time against the ordinary daily grind and I have other interests. Those projects have had to wait while I try to trade. I still have a long way to go.
Thanks for the advice.
Hello Tabb – can you clarify what you refer to when you talk about ‘release of a data set, completing a task is a ‘let down’? Not sure I understand here.
But seems like you’ve caught onto a key point about minimizing distraction and focus.
Thanks for such an interesting and captivating article…
Glad you liked it Ranjit
Good stuff. I heard today that trading is 90% emotional, 5% money management and 5% actual trading skill. The psychology is by far the hardest to manage. Seems out of out control majority of the time.
Indeed – the mindset/trading psychology is the biggest obstacle and causes all the others to go astray or off kilt, hence why we have to work heavily on it.
Great article! I am well on my way through your Price Action course and I’ll re-do it again and again because there are so many positive messages. I didn’t expect so much content on mindset and furthermore I didn’t expect these gems of wisdom to not only transform my attitude to trading but also affect my judgement in areas of my life outside of trading. Thank you from a grateful trainee and student!
Hola Nathan – am glad you are liking the Adv. Price Action Course. There is a ton of content in there on mindset and we’ll be adding more, so glad you are enjoying it because as you are noticing, it can have a positive impact outside of trading as well.
Great article Chris!
When reflecting this to myself, I am also guilty of thinking too much about other people that really have no significance in my life.
I clutter my mind with their opinions and what people say or might think. Totally not worthy of any attention, and not relevant to my goals at all.
I will definitely remember the mantra and try repeating it in my mind when my mind wanders off to “others”.
Just what I needed to read.
Hello Mike – you wouldn’t be the only one to have this experience. It’s easy to get cluttered with other people’s opinions in the age of information.
Hence a good thing you are taking on this mantra and practice.
Great article. I often get sad by others negative opinion. Due to them every time I lose my self confidence. I get scared to repeat the same thing, because If I make mistakes again they are ready to charge over me. After reading this article I get boost up. For now I will focus on winning not on others opinion. There is also one quote which I heard ” Learn from everyone, but follow no one”.
Yes it’s easy to get affected by others negativity bias which I’ve written about extensively. It’s unhealthy for one’s mindset and imprints negatively on oneself.
It seems like you are realizing this and making the key adjustments.
Great article! This is so true. 90% of the media today is toxic, like a washing machine just tumbling the negativity around and around. This is especially true for the social media that is a fantastic tool but too many use it to just spread information that they have no deeper understanding of and which often also is not 100% true. People have become so busy doing this that they spend a big portion of their life just forwarding and arguing around information without ever getting anywhere and in the end just creating a negative mindset.
This is something I’ve come to realize more and more over the last years and something I am actively working with to distance myself from more and more and instead focus on “ME” and my goals and dreams.
Really important and good points in this article that definitely will help me and others with this process.
Indeed – I don’t watch TV or media. Haven’t had a cable TV subscription since 1995 as it’s toxic to one’s mindset.
Focus on what you need to learn and grow into – that is a focus on winning.
I couldn’t agree more! Having never used a Twitter or Facebook account, I have avoided such distractions, but being preoccupied with other peoples’ successes has distracted me in the past from my goals. That is definitely the “previous me”, I am glad to have found a great mentor in you Chris to help mould the “new me”.
Thanks for all that you do for your community!
Yeah, it’s easy to get distracted by others opinions, ideas and thoughts with the internet and social media now.
The key is to just keep focus on winning and what helps you win.
Great article again. Hope you will the mentor that I am searching about.
Hello Adam – glad you liked the article. Hope to be working with you soon.
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