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’?
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.
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 1) attention and the brain, 2) motivation, 3) time and 4) 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.