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Trading With Amnesia
Last year the Colts were the first team in NFL history to go 0-13 following 9 straight playoff appearances. They had the single biggest lost of 2011, the worst AFC record in 3 years and finished with a 2-14 record which was the worst in the league that year. Because of this, they got the first overall pick in the 2012 draft. They chose Andrew Luck who is the subject of today’s lesson.
Being the first overall pick in the draft is a special honor, and burden due to the high expectations. Once he was selected first, former first round draft picks were interviewed and asked to give advice to Luck on his first season. Prior to yesterday’s game, Luck was also interviewed about the Colts amazing turnaround, being 7-4 and in 2nd place in the AFC South division. They talked about his reactions to the advice given by former first round drafts.
The one that really stood out for him was one of the quarterbacks suggesting he develop amnesia. What he meant was, you are going to make mistakes, and although you want to learn from them, you want to forget about them so that you can focus completely on the next pass, the next play and the task at hand.
By developing amnesia, you are willing to risk again, regardless of the last loss. You are willing to forgive yourself for over-leveraging, for not following your system, for pulling the trigger too late. Developing amnesia in some sense can be a great skill because each trade is its own, where there is no past mistakes haunting you. No fear of repeating the last major loss, no thoughts about losing more money.
If you are constantly brewing over the last mistake, trading in fear, it will take you out of the present moment. It will reduce your intelligence, awareness and cognitive skills needed to trade successfully. But if you have forgotten about the last mistake which cost you a lot of money, you can treat the newest trade as a fresh start, as another chance to do it right.
Quarterbacks need this skill because they can throw the ball 20, 30 or 40 times in a single game. Imagine what it takes to make a major mistake on live television, being watched by millions of people, and then having the throw the ball again.
In last Sunday’s game, Luck did not have a perfect game by any means. In fact for 90% of the game, his team was behind and he had made some major mistakes. He threw for three interceptions in the game, some of which were rookie errors. He threw a total of 54x and only completed 24 of his passes for 44% accuracy, which is incredibly low for such a talented quarterback.
In the last four minutes of the game, his team was down by 12 points and they had the ball, but had to go 85 yards. He had already thrown three interceptions, and time was running out. Yet, in 1 minute and 23 seconds, he completed 5 of the next 8 passes and scored a touchdown.
Luck got the ball again with 1 minute and 7 seconds left in the game and had to go 75 yards. With less than 4 seconds to play, he threw for a touchdown pass and won the game.
These last two amazing drives would have been challenging for the best ever to play the game. Yet a rookie quarterback did the amazing, and won the game.
None of this would have ever been possible if he hadn’t forgotten about those three interceptions. If he kept dwelling on them, he would have not been focused enough to make the crucial plays, to be totally aware and pass where he needed to, run when he needed to, decide when he needed to. He would have been stuck in the past which is a dead place you can never go back to ever. And that is where his intelligence would have been, stuck in a dead zone and imprisoned by his mind.
This often happens to traders, especially developing ones who haven’t built up a consistent track record. Ask yourself if you have ever been paralyzed to make a trade. Perhaps over-analyzing because you fear another loss. Perhaps not pulling the trigger because you are afraid to lose more money. Ask yourself what limits you from trading profitably? Are you afraid to make a mistake and what that means about you. Worried you might make a bad choice, or risk too much, or be completely wrong.
Has this ever happened to you? Does this sound familiar?
I’ve been there, and almost every successful trader has at one point or another.
In what may seem like a paradox, you need a good memory, and amnesia at the same time. Pattern recognition becomes easier with a good memory, especially if you’ve seen the patterns hundreds of times before. You know what follows, and you know what to do, so you just do it and execute your forex trading strategy.
But at the same time, you also need to trade with amnesia, you need to forget your mistakes, stop punishing yourself, stop getting back your losses in trading, stop being critical of yourself, stop being afraid, and treat the current trade like a fresh start, like its completely new and disconnected from your past mistakes.
This is skill that can be learned, and a strong memory can be developed as well. The mind is neuroplastic and has the ability to rebuild neural connections, the ability to build a mindset of success, for trading and life. Brain gyms are a great way to build up your memory and pattern recognition, while ERT training (Emotional Repolarization Technique) is exceptional for re-building neural connections, re-programming bad habits into good ones, fears into strengths, confusion into understanding and awareness.
Yes, you do need to remember your mistakes and learn from them. Reviewing your journal weekly is helpful for this, so you are aware what you need to work on and what are your strengths. But dwelling on your weaknesses and mistakes is not helpful, and will likely harm you psychologically from trading successfully.
In conclusion, there are three things needed to trade successfully;
2) Proper Risk Management
3) Successful Trading Psychology
Andrew Luck did not have a fantastic first game of the year and made tons of mistakes. In many cases he did some embarrassing things when the whole world was watching. But he was never paralyzed by a bad pass, an interception or a critical mistake. He understood he’s going to make hundreds of passes, and one pass cannot define him or his career. He remembers his mistakes, and yet has amnesia about them so he can be totally present in the moment.
You will make hundreds of trades in a year, perhaps even a few months. No one trade will define you, and never will, whether its a big winner or a horrible loser that cost you a lot of money. How you move on and treat the current trade will determine how you perform. Do you hesitate to pull the trigger in fear you’ll make another mistake, or do you treat it as just another pass attempt and an opportunity to move forward. If you struggle with this, there are ways to get past this, but there will always be another chance to make a good trade and move closer to the endzone of success.
I hope you enjoyed this article and look forward to hearing your comments.