Why the Self-Image & Comfort Zone Determine
Your Success in Trading

Grab the popcorn as I'm going back in time, a long way back
(approximately 600M years).

I'm going to tell you a brief story about your central nervous system.

Why?

Because as your brain evolved over the last few million years affects your success (or struggles) in trading today.


Then I'm going to talk about EDN, or Experience Dependent Neuroplasticity and how this builds the foundation for creating trading success (or failure) in your brain.

From here I'll get into the self-image, what this is, and why you keep making the same mistakes.

I'll expand on this by getting into the comfort zone and how you can expand this to increase your trading performance.

But back to that period of around 600 million years ago.

From the First to Apes

Around 600 million years ago, the very first nervous system was born. It was quite crude in nature as it could only respond and react to basic stimuli in the environment.

Another 400 or so million years passed before the first mammals arrived on this earth with primates coming into the planet's history about 60 million years ago.

About 2.5 million years ago from today, some of our early ancestors came about (Homo Habilis) where they could make basic tools out of stone. The very concept of 'leverage' we use today was just being introduced to our early fore-fathers.

Fast forward to about 200K years ago and the clever ape (Homo Sapiens) started to emerge.

Hunter-Gatherers, Small Groups
and the 1 in 8 ratio

Only 10,000 years ago did we shift from hunter-gatherer wandering groups to create small bands and our first farming collectives.

During this shift, on average 1 in 8 men died from protecting their families and communities. Contrast this to the 20th century, and the number is 1 in 100.

Now with that small story of our evolutionary history, why does this matter for me as a trader?

Because even though our brain tripled in volume over the last several million years, most of these experiences have an impact on our brains today.

None of us are generally protecting our families from our neighbors, yet we still have the same wiring in our brain from the last 100 millenia or so.

To translate this, it means we still often act (or react) to threats today as if our life is under constant attack, yet we are rarely under this scenario.

Part of this is reflected in our fight or flight response, but the simplest way to express this is we react far more intensely to negative threats than the positive experiences.

And this has a massive impact on your trading success today (particularly how you relate to losing a trade or losing money).

As the author of Buddha's Brain (Rick Hanson) states, our brains are like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for good ones.

It Was About Survival

To pass on our genes, we had to avoid threats first. Only after we eliminated these could we start to focus on pleasurable things.

The rule was 'eat lunch, don't be lunch'.

This created a 'negativity bias' in the brain, and it dominates most of your thinking, reactions and trading decisions today.

If we were to map out the real-estate in the brain and the neural networks, we'd notice a disproportionate amount of wiring dedicated towards avoiding these negative threats.

On average, our central nervous system and brain can react to a threat with lightning speed (<.1 secs) while it can take us 5-7+ seconds to respond to a positive stimuli.

Hence our brain is hyper-sensitive to every pip that goes against our trade, but takes time to fully relax and digest a positive one.

Going back to the Teflon - Velcro analogy of the brain, you've already had this experience many times.

Case in point, have you ever had a day where (for example) you took say 10 trades on a day, and perhaps 8 were winners, one was for breakeven, yet you made one mistake that took out almost all your gains for the day?

Who hasn't had a day like this?

Not many.

Now ask yourself this - at the end of the day, what do you remember most?

The 8 trades you executed well, or the one big loser which wiped out almost all your gains?

Most likely you remember that big loss, and probably remember big losses more today than your big wins.

You've probably even thought about your big losses far more often than your big wins.

If so, then you are directly experiencing this negativity bias and how the brain is teflon for the positive and velcro fro the negative.

We actually built an entire course on how to re-wire your brain for trading success and get past this bias.

But before we get into ways to correct this, we have to cover one key point about the brain.

Experience Dependent Neuroplasticity

EDN, or Experience Dependent Neuroplasticity is a long way to say 'the brain learns, adapts and changes from experience'.

It means we can wire new habits in our brain and correct mental errors which affect our trading performance.

There are two key points which underline EDN. They are;

  1. Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together
  2. Consistent Passing Mental States Create Lasting Neural Traits

To summarize the latter point, the dominant mental activity (or thoughts) that run through our brain can and will change/wire the structure of our brain and neural networks.

In regards to the first point, the networks that are strongest will help to

  • a) determine how we are most likely to act,
  • and
  • b) help strengthen the neural networks we build for trading success (or failure).

Hence with point #2, if you are constantly worrying about a loss, being fearful, doubtful, thinking about that last loss, you will create a neural structure that will most likely continue that line of thinking and acting.

This as you can imagine will have a negative effect on your trading mindset and performance.

And with point #1, it means if we want to build new neural networks which go beyond this, we have to employ different neural networks to help re-wire our brain for trading success.

So if we want to pull the trigger consistently when our trade setup is right in front of us, we'll need to wire that neural network to become a dominant network.

We'll explore more of this later in the article, but I'd like to venture into...

Everyone Wants to Win the Lottery Right?

Of course you want to win the lottery. It's the golden ticket to getting out of your financial situation. Or is it?

Callie Rogers won the UK lottery at the age of 16 snagging a solid 1.9M pounds. Not a bad high school graduation gift eh?

One would think she was set for a great start in life.

What did she do with her winnings?

Partied, went on vacations, gave out gifts, and had 2 children with people she is not with today.

Within 3 years, she completely went through her winnings and was last reported to work as a cleaning lady.

Now it's easy to say (and I'm guessing many of you are) 'she was immature'.

But let's look at an example of a 'mature' person and see how this didn't matter.

A Pentacostal Preacher

Billy Bob Harrell Jr was a pentacostal preacher in the south west of the US. If Billy Bob Harrell Jr isn't a name for a pentacostal preacher, then I don't know what is :-)

He was a man of the faith who had simple tastes and was by all means 'mature'.

He worked a side job at Home Depot as a stock laborer.

One day his prayers were answered and he won $31M in a lottery.

He made what many would consider to be 'smart investments' in real estate, a ranch, and a few cars.

Eventually he lost it all with handouts and bad real estate, and yet he was a 'mature' individual who always kept his word according to his friends.

Eventually his wife divorced him and he did a very un-preacher like thing...he took his own life.

So if 'maturity' wasn't the issue here, then what was?
The Self-Image and how it is affecting (and defining) your performance right now.

A Larger Than Life Ego

In my opinion, this person has what may be the largest (and not exactly 'mature') ego on the planet.

His stories about success are generally fabricated a tad (IMO) and through some poor business decisions, went from being several $B (billion) in profit to -$1B in debt.

If it weren't for creditors and banks restructuring his debt, you would never know his name today as you do now.

A few years later, he was in the black and now is worth $8.7B.

His name is Donald Trump.

How did he get himself out of this giant hole and climb higher than before?

The Self-Image

The answer comes down to his 'self-image' and it is one of the greatest measures of your performance.

It sets the upper and lower boundaries of your success and performance (in trading and life) and it is how you see yourself.

We could define it as 'the sum of your habits, attitudes and beliefs' and it is what you think is 'like you' to do well (or not well).

Do you feel confident you are good at numbers? Then it is in your self-image to be good at numbers and I'm guessing if I threw some number related challenges, you'd do fine.

Do you feel it is not 'like you' to be a good dancer? I'm guessing unless you practice a lot or undergo some dance training/classes, you won't be able to move that well if I asked you to dance right now.

Why?

Because it's in your self-image, and it's how you define what it is 'like you' to do well (or not do well).

Back to EDN

Remember how the base models of experience-dependent-neuroplasticity talked about habits and lasting neural traits?

Habits are simply things that are wired into our brain and neural networks which represent dominant neural networks.

They are 'dominant' based on their strength and being stronger than most neural networks regarding specific related actions.

Habits is what determines how we act, and the Self-Image reflects this consistency.

Like Me

Anything that is a habit is in the self-image as being something 'like me' to do with regular consistency.

What this also means is when you change the self-image, you change your performance.

However we have to be careful with the self-image because there are many things which 'imprint' upon your self-image.

Learning what imprints upon you, and how, is critical to re-building your self-image to think it is 'like you' to trade successfully.

Why Positive Affirmations Don't Work

This is one of the main reasons why positive affirmations are not sufficient to change your self-image. I'm guessing many of you have tried them already and said them till you are blue in the face.

Did it work?

No, because positive affirmations (although useful) are not sufficient to change your mindset and self-image for trading.

There are other critical reasons why positive affirmations won't work, but we'll get into that another day.

The Comfort Zone & Your Trading Performance

What does the 'comfort zone' sound like to you? I'm guessing most of you will regard it as what you are 'comfortable' doing, and that would be an accurate description of it.

The real question is how does this zone get defined and what does it mean for your trading performance?

This zone gets defined by your daily actions, whether you take consistently repeatable actions or not.

Do you generally take the same way to work each day? If so, that is an action which is within your comfort zone.

Is dancing in front of people you don't know something you feel fully comfortable to do right now without a single thought worrying about how you'll look?

If so, then it is within your comfort zone.

Whether you are above your comfort zone or below it, your performance will bring you back into your comfort zone.

The words 'over-performing' and 'under-performing' relate to this exactly.

How many people consistently over-perform and maintain that for years on end?

Very few.

Yet it is far easier to under-perform if one's mindset and self-image are off.

Since 2009 Without A...

Along those lines, does anyone really think that Tiger Woods still does not have the skills to win a major tournament?

I'm guessing y'all are going to say NO. So why hasn't he won a major since circa 2009?

Mindset and self-image, both of which were forced to change in the wake of his personal issues.

Until he can re-build and re-define that, he will unlikely win a major again.

But to restate the main underlying point of the self-image from a mindset or psychological perspective, your self-image really defines what you feel it is 'like you' and 'not like you' to do consistently.

Along the lines of what it is 'like me' to do, I'd like to share a story about someone who exemplified this.

Michael & the Shutout

My brother and I both played football (or soccer in the US). We also both played the same position (Goalkeeper).

My brother was a perfectionist who both trained and played by this credo.

In his senior year of high school, he set the state record for most shutouts in a single season (18). He did this in 25 games, so statistically, 72% of all his games nobody could score on him.

Sometimes even getting a shutout didn't mean 'perfection' to him.

One day I was watching a game of his where in the first 5 minutes of the game, someone kicked him. He made a noise when it happened and you could clearly see he was in pain.

The opponent ended up kicking his left hand which is one of the most important tools for a keeper. Mike clearly knew something was wrong.

What did he do?

Put his hand behind his back and played the rest of the game one handed.

Amazingly, he got the shutout, yet that wasn't the most impressive part of this story.

When we got in the car, he took his glove off and told my dad to go to the hospital.

The moment he pulled off his glove, we could see what was wrong.

His little finger knuckle was under the next finger. He played with a broken hand 90% of the entire game and still got the shutout.

Why? Because it was part of his self-image that it was 'like him' to get the shutout regardless of the circumstances.

Later when asked about the injury, he simply called it 'a badge of honor'.

I am grateful for having such a role model of the self-image in my life and what it means to train and play with such diligence.

The 90/10 Rule

When it comes to the comfort zone and the self-image, most people spend 90% of their time inside the comfort zone and 10% outside.

You have to reverse this equation if you want to change and trade successfully.

I don't suggest spending 90% of your time outside your comfort zone, but you will have to change the ratio.

If it is uncomfortable for you to hold a trade to your profit target, it is simply not 'like you' (at least not yet) to hold to your trading plan and profit target.

Doing so would be going outside your comfort zone and thus force your self-image and brain to adjust.

Done enough times and it will become 'like you' to follow your trading plan and hold for your profit target.

But until you do things that are relatively uncomfortable for you in trading (or life), change likely will not happen, and the results will be the same.

Winning Streaks & the Limits to Your Self-Image

Ever been on a winning streak of sorts which went for 5+ trades, perhaps even a few days or weeks on end?

I'm guessing many of you at one point.

Now what was the thing that happened at the end of this winning streak?

I'm guessing if many of you shared the answer, the most common one would be 'a big loss' that probably wiped out most, if not all of your gains from the winning streak.

Why is that?

Because the winning streak took you outside of your comfort zone. If you go too far outside of it, or remain too long above it, you'll snap back into it.

It is the de-facto mean reversion system of your mindset.

This is why many students who are on a winning streak will email me a similar sentiment.

Almost all of them are something like the ones below:

I'm on a really good winning streak and afraid it's going to end
I'm wondering if it's all luck and how long it will last
I'm thinking I should stop because I'm worried I won't be able to maintain it

Have you ever said or felt something like this when you were on a winning streak?

The good thing is, if you did, it means your unconscious mind is trying to communicate to your conscious mind you are outside your comfort zone.

It is telling you ahead of time 'hey, you likely won't be able to keep this up, so slow down'.

In summary, whatever it is comfortable for you to do easily is inside your comfort zone.

If you feel your mind get busy, worried about a loss, fear of losing money, or cannot concentrate well while trading (or doing any task), it is likely because you are outside your comfort zone.

In summary, the self-image has a well formed definition of what it is 'like you' to do.

This is part neurological and part psychological.

How Neural Networks Affect Your Ability to Change

The reason why you snap back into your comfort zone and revert to your baseline self-image is heavily dependent upon your brain.

The neural networks which are most dominant are the ones which you'll most likely activate when you execute a mental task (i.e. make a trading decision).

Remember, passing consistent mental states create LASTING mental traits.

It is more efficient for your brain to use specific neural networks which are already dominant because it uses less resources to engage them and execute a task.

This is part of the reason why it's hard to change, because changing your habits actually requires your brain to activate lesser/weaker neural networks.

It also means making physical changes in your brain along by activating new chemicals (neurotransmitters) to fire and build up such networks.

It is part psychological because your self-image is well defined, and this translates into it being hard to change. The self-image will resist changing because it's more work and 'uncomfortable' (there's that word again).

Only after consistent well defined imprinting will your self-image start to change, and that takes time.

If I could sum it up regarding the self-image, performance and the comfort zone, it would be via the following statement below:

Performance & self-image + comfort zone are almost always equal.

Where Most Do the Least Amount of Work

Lamentably, the self-image is where most struggling traders do the least amount of work. They stay inside their comfort zone, and thus never can find success in their trading.

Most who never succeed in trading (or life) fail here - they simply fail to change their self-image.

I can understand this as changing the self-image is a lot of work and it causes an internal friction.

I've personally experienced this with changing my diet which has had a massive impact upon my health. I still struggle with it, but am gaining ground each day as I'm continually working with my self-image to change this.

Nevertheless, I personally experience this friction anytime sugar is on the table.

In the yoga sutras, they called this 'tapas' which means to experience an inner friction.

Friction in trading comes from the self-image pushing back as it gets uncomfortable. The self-image will resist change, so it will reject new imprints.

In fact your self-image will often attack the new positive imprints when trying to change.

This can often come when you feel uncomfortable doing something new, have doubts about your abilities, are fearful of the consequences (which generally aren't so bad after all).

Repetition is Crucial

This is where you have to employ a weapon. That weapon is 'repetition', and it is one of the most powerful factors behind changing your brain & mindset via neuroplasticity.

All neural networks are created with repetition being a constant. You simply cannot wire change into your brain by doing something once.

To form a dominant neural network, you have to continually fire the neurons which make up said network.

This is why repetition is crucial. It also wears down the self-image and the current imprints in place.

This is why it is super important NOT to beat yourself up as this will only increase the negative imprints in your self-image and brain.

Beating yourself down causes the self-image to think it is 'not like me' to do something.

We have to reverse this by building ourselves up, not beating ourselves down.

They Have Histories

Like your genes, the self-image has a history and that starts before you were born and what your parents helped to shape what it is 'like you' to think and do consistently.

Your self-image will become what your thoughts/actions/feelings that happen now (and in the future are).

In essence, this is a good thing as you are creating your self-image every day. If you want to create a new self-image for success in trading (or life), you can build that starting right now.

Even imprints you 'imagine' are imprints nonetheless, so make them uplifting and supportive of what you want to create in your life.

However you have to incorporate feeling and emotion into this as they offer an extra fuel to the neuroplasticity in your brain.

Emotions and strong feelings create a stronger chemical cocktail in the brain which helps to wire the thoughts, feelings and experiences deeper into your brain.

Why Positive Affirmations Don't Work

This is another reason why positive affirmations don't work regardless of how long you say them.

If you don't feel it is 'like you' to trade successfully, you could say them till you are blue in the face and it will never happen.

Your brain and heart both create electro-magnetic fields (which we can measure). If your brain has a dissonant feeling from your heart, no change will happen because you won't believe it.

It will just be conceptual and superficial, devoid of feeling, so your self-image will not imprint it, nor engage it.

More in the Now Than...

Ironically, your self-image is more in the 'now' than your conscious mind is (in most cases).

By default, the self-image only knows the 'now'.

This is why recalling past negative events (or big lossess) is one of the WORST things you can do.

Forgiveness and taking in positive experiences is critical for changing the self-image. Making mistakes in trading is not a problem. Self-referencing (and not learning from them) is.

The negativity bias is strong in you my young (or older) padwan. Remember the brain is like teflon for good experiences and velcro for the bad.

Remember When...

Ever had a near death experience while driving a car? Notice how it takes a while to let go of that feeling?

That is because our brain is hyper-sensitive to negative experiences and has a harder time to let go of them. This is a complete 180 to positive experiences which seem to fade quickly and be barely remembered.

So stop thinking about your big mistakes and losses. Identify the habits you need to change in your self-image and change them.

Building A New Self-Image

The blueprint for building a new and successful self-image is straightforward (just not easy). You have to continuously imprint new images onto it which are specific to what you want to create.

The self-image by default is always in flux and always in one of these three states:

  1. Growing
  2. Homeostasis (staying the same)
  3. Dying (shrinking)

Of the three above, you want to engage the first the most, and the second one for small periods of time. But the last one you never want to engage as it means decreasing the capacity of what it is 'like you' to do.

New imprints = a direct conflict with the old ones (and thus create friction).

Friction can manifest as tension in the body or mind, and often occurs chemically.

You can generally feel confident you are experiencing this 'friction' when your mind gets busy, emotional, fearful, exhausted, goes into survival mode, or says 'I cannot do this' when trying on a new imprint.

If you succumb to these, you will just default back to your hold imprints. This is why you repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again in trading.

You have to weaken the relationship between the current neural networks which currently make up your self-image.

You have to make the teflon become the velcro and vice versa in terms of your experiences for your mindset and self-image to change.

Key Questions to Ask About Your Trading Performance

Instead of doing a summary of all the points above, I thought to end with asking some key questions which will help point to where you are at in this process, and what you need to work on the most.

Here they are below:

  • #1 - Do you really feel you have the self-image now to become a successful trader?
  • #2 - If you had to grade the sum of your habits, attitudes and beliefs right now about your trading, how would you grade them on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the best and 1 being highly negative)?
  • #3 - What have you told yourself it is 'not like you' to do?
  • #4 - How many wins was your longest winning streak?
  • #5 - Do you have clear and precise expectations for yourself and what you need to do to get there?
  • #6 - What are your most common/negative statements you say to yourself (internally and externally)?
  • #7 - Where do you feel friction in your life?
  • #8 - How consistent is your feedback loop?

With that being said, I'd like to know how long your longest winning streak was (demo and live). Are they the same?

I'd also like to know if you've had the same experience after a big winning streak of it ending with a large drawdown.

Let me know in your comments below.

Until then, I sincerely wish you the best of success in trading and life.

Buddhist, Trader and Philanthropist

I'm Chris Capre, Founder of 2ndSkiesForex. I help traders of all levels change the way they think, trade and perform. As a professional trader, I specialize in trading price action. As a teacher, my passion lies in showing you how to re-wire your brain for successful trading. Want to improve your edge right now? Visit my Price Action Course page.

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Discussion

61 Comments on the article

  • Apex - July 28, 2015 6:03 am

    Before I can read this, I have to just take a moment to enjoy the sheer beauty of the layout here.
    Really good work and I look forward to reading this tonight. :)

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 6:07 am

      Hola Apex,

      HA – thank my graphic designer for that one. Paid a pretty pound for it, but they nailed it!

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Graeme Little - July 28, 2015 6:59 am

    It never seems to amaze me Chris how the Universe works. I am a member of your Price Action Course and I couldn’t make it work. I knew it was me, not the course at fault but I didn’t understand why I continued my self-sabotaging behaviour in life and in trading. My experience with trading simply seemed to magnify this 10-fold because trading is all about money and in my life my struggles have always been about money. I am currently embarking on a Sales/Marketing journey and your article is exactly what I needed right this moment if I am to experience any success at all because it too is all about money. I have to say, developing habits around activities outside my comfort zone has definitely been holding me back but now that you have explained what is happening I feel more prepared to show determination to re-create my habit patterns for my future self image and I now have permission to let go of the past and blaming others for the way I think. I need to take responsibility for my own thinking. Thankyou so much Chris and BTW I fully intend to return to trading when I get my head straight. I will definitely be coming back to you for guidance. Do you have a course specifically on redesigning the self-image?

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 7:48 am

      Hola Graeme,

      Very good self-reflection here – how you realize it wasn’t the course or the strategies, but the 6 inches between your ears.

      We often self-sabotage ourselves, particularly in trading and life.

      Any issues around money (and not just about money, but around it) will cause problems with trading.

      Success as well, which is often tied to money.

      And yes, we have to develop habits outside our comfort zone, otherwise no growth happens and the brain experiences no novelty – crucial for growth.

      Definitely time to build a self-image and let go of the past – time to build the success you want right now.

      RE: Course on Self-Image
      Yep – check out my Adv. Traders Mindset Course whereby we have several lessons that focus specifically on this.

      Hope you can join when it re-opens this fall.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • ismael - July 28, 2015 7:12 am

    Buenos Dias Chris, Great article as usual are you still living Mexico it been a long time i hope all is well. i seen the article in my in box i had a read twice.

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 7:45 am

      Buenos Tardes Ismael – como te va?

      Estoy viviendo en Canada ahora. Y ustd?

      Enjoy the article and good to hear from you.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Sascha - July 28, 2015 7:32 am

    Haha, great minds think alike. I also scrolled through the whole article enjoying the layout. I totally agree with Apex. Really crisp layout! Not only does it look really good and professional it also makes it easier to read. Am also planning on reading this one before going to sleep. :)

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 7:44 am

      Two comments on the layout…too funny.

      Glad you liked it…hope you enjoy the article amigo.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Andrew - July 28, 2015 8:09 am

    This is truly awesome information.. The story about your brother is also very inspiring, especially for me as a soccer player.

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 8:29 am

      Hello Andy,

      Yeah, the team and I put a ton into this article from design to development, then the writing on my end.

      Glad you found the story inspiring – he was amazing to see in his day and truly an inspiration.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • SpacePip - July 28, 2015 8:33 am

    Yeah, the layout is GREAT!!

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 8:46 am

      And another liking the layout :-)

  • Swami - July 28, 2015 8:33 am

    Insightful article, Chris. I had the self image issue many years back, but addressed it quickly enough. Can relate to your article due to this.
    I (being an Indian), can suggest some yogic pranayama, or slowing down your breathing to 4-5 breaths a minute to bring you into the now.

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 8:46 am

      Glad you found the article insightful.

      I’ve practiced yoga daily for 15 years, and employ some of the pranayama practices in the ATM course.

      So thanks for sharing, and glad you liked the article.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • int21h - July 28, 2015 8:40 am

    I never got into the positive affirmations thing. I tried it but it never really worked for me. I do take care of focusing more on the now than trying to be in the future or in the past. If I do happen to find myself drifting I just try to sit as one watches the thought and then let it pass for it is all taking place in the now. I would say that your thoughts run congruent with mine. It takes more than just to know a thing it takes putting it into action. Great thoughts; Thanks for sharing.

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 8:45 am

      Yep – positive affirmations do not work and there are several reasons why they don’t work. We teach something completely differently in our ATM Course which does work and is based on neuroscience.

      Focusing on the now is helpful, but its not the only solution, and sometimes we need self-correcting mechanisms to help with that, such as DA’s.

      But glad you liked the article.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Steve Ross - July 28, 2015 8:52 am

    Great article thanks so much! . I’ll be referring back to this one for some time I’m sure.

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 9:23 am

      Hola Steve,

      Yeah there is a lot of meat in this which will take time to digest.

      Good to hear you found it useful.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Anthony - July 28, 2015 9:00 am

    Hi Chris, great article.
    Yeah recognized myself in the “great winning streak that ends badly”… Oddly enough I have noticed that 100% is a big number for me… whenever I hit that number, things start to go sour sooner rather than later… I have started to think this is something in my subconscious rather than just bad luck or overconfidence. Actually, when I hit those streaks (with reasonable risk per trade) I have noticed I get much more stressed than with reasonable losses (“comfort zone”??)… I used to think I had a rather high self-esteem but now am thinking it could all have just been a shield…
    How long does your course take to show results (on the brain, thus on the actions)? As with everything in psychology, I am expecting a “it depends”, but any time frame would be helpful. Best.

    • Chris Capre - July 29, 2015 3:45 am

      Hello Anthony,

      If you recognized how the ‘winning streak that ends badly’ pertains to you, then that is a good start, especially if you are connecting the dots and tying it to your mindset & psychology.

      However it is not something that is a part of your ‘subconscious’ but your ‘unconscious’, which is something we address and clarify in the ATM course.

      The fact that your stress levels increased when you hit the high end of the winning streak is telling of a few things; 1) how your self image defines success and trading performance, and 2) where your comfort zone really ends.

      It is certainly possible this feeling of ‘high self-esteem’ was a shield, which is some good self-reflective sentiments there.

      RE: Your Question of ‘How Long’
      There is no way for me to answer that. How could I if I barely know anything about you except these two comments you’ve made?

      If someone walked into your martial arts dojo, made two comments, then asked ‘how long till I will be a black belt’, would you be able to answer that question? Would you really feel it to be appropriate? I’m guessing not.

      The brain can change in as little as 21 days with the right exercises. So ‘technically’ that is one answer – however I have no idea whether you’d apply the techniques correctly, do them at all, maintain the discipline, etc.

      So yes, in 21 days your neural structure could be different, how much? No idea…no way for me to measure and quantify that (yet).

      I think the best testimonial I’ve gotten about the ATM Course is the following;

      “I’ve learned more in the last few weeks about what it takes to be successful in trading and life than I have in the last 28 years.”

      Food for thought, and I hope this answers your questions.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Carmen - July 28, 2015 9:15 am

    Oh my, this looks really really nice….As an inside member I can say that this lay out is symbolic or a representation of the content of your courses. Abundant, slick, informational and inspirational.

    The ending is superb. Questions that get you thinking. Great read. And great lay out.

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 9:23 am

      Ha – more comments on the layout…will pass them on to my designer.

      But glad you found the ending superb and the article a good read

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Dennis C. - July 28, 2015 10:40 am

    Another on-point article. I struggled in my trading for over 15 years before I started to devote myself to the study (and now application of) psychological issues. I’ve survived some dark times, and now have the unshakable belief that I know and can do what I must to succeed in trading. Even though I now try to help beginning traders to avoid the mistakes I’ve made, I think we must all suffer before we are able to begin to change for the better. I wonder if there has ever been a successful long-term trader who didn’t have to really struggle before they learned what they needed to succeed…

    • Chris Capre - July 29, 2015 3:46 am

      Hola Dennis,

      Glad you liked the article and found it on point. The fact that you are now dedicating time to focusing on the mindset is a key step to take.

      Also having an unshakable belief in yourself is a really important thing to build, not just for trading, but life as well.

      Some good comments so thanks for sharing.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Dario Fumagalli - July 28, 2015 10:56 am

    This is truly an awesome article. Good looking and very nice content! This article would be good to include somewhere in your Advanced Mindset Course (which I have attended to).

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 3:10 pm

      Lots of comments on how good looking the article is!

      Thanks Dario about the article content as we put a ton into it with tons of juicy info, so am glad you liked it.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Dave Tromp - July 28, 2015 11:18 am

    Great post. I am already a student on the price action course and ichimoku course and your new course will go on my wish list for sure.

    • Chris Capre - July 28, 2015 3:09 pm

      Hola DT,

      I like your wish list :-)

      All kidding aside, the ATM course has been bad-ass with overwhelming response. V2 is only going to be bigger and better, so looking forward to seeing you there soon.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Jules - July 28, 2015 3:29 pm

    Wow. What a fantastic article. I love the 90/10 rule. I close out profitable trades ALL THE TIME before they run because I am outside my comfort zone. As a result I have left a lot of money on the table which is extremely frustrating given all the hours and hard work that I have put into trading. I just have to realize that my brain is just trying to ADJUST to what I perceive is an uncomfortable situation and stick with it until it becomes comfortable. Only then will I be profitable. Thank you so much Chris. I will read this every day until I see changes within me and my trading.

    • Chris Capre - July 29, 2015 3:48 am

      Hola Jules from NZ,

      Yeah the 90/10 rule is a big one to learn as most don’t ever discover it.

      And yes, many people close out trades that are profitable all the time, while leaving massive amounts on the table (which they need). The fact you tied this into your comfort zone is a good thing, and that your trading brain is just trying to adjust – so all good self reflections here.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • jlasenby - July 28, 2015 7:04 pm

    A fantastic read as always. I had another mentor impress upon me the importance of self image years ago, though he did not express it quite as elegantly as you have done here. After I started your course I immediately started telling friends, family that I was now a forex trader by profession. Even changed my linkedin profile. I said it so many times I started believing it! I even remember thinking about what kind of car a successful trader would drive … what kind of car do you drive Chris? :)

    • Chris Capre - July 29, 2015 3:51 am

      Hola James,

      Yes, self-image is something quite crucial to trading performance and success, so good to hear you are focusing on building it.

      I like the mindset you are taking about how you identify yourself as a trader – nicely done here.

      RE: Car I Drive
      I don’t! I live in a big city where walking and cabs are far better than owning a car.

      Although considering I live in Canada, should I ever get one, it would be a Subaru!

      Why?

      Because in the winters here, you need AWD or 4WD at the least! Always feel bad when I see people trying to get out of their parking spots with 2WD as it takes them forever when the snowpack or ice comes in.

      Should I move to a non-tundra type climate – one with sun and good roads, Maserati or Aston Martin would be the car I’d get.

      My friend has a Mas and always asks me to come by and drive it since he’s gone a lot.

      May have to take him up on that offer :-)

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Anthony - July 29, 2015 1:34 am

    All comments abt article “layout” (which is deemed to improve your trading indeed…) got a reply from Chris. Not so the ones about live trading !.. Ok…

    • Chris Capre - July 29, 2015 2:24 am

      Hello Anthony,

      Hmmm, there seems to be a mis-understanding here. Your comment here is highly inaccurate, so I’m wondering how you are missing this information.

      For example, the 2nd comment by Graeme Little is about trading – I answered his question.

      The next comment by Andrew and my brother is about trading – and I answered it.

      The 2nd comment after by Swami is about trading and mindset – which I answered.

      Int21h – I answered.

      Dave Tromp’s question – answered.

      So there seems to be some mis-understanding an inaccuracies here.

      There are 4 questions I haven’t answered yet, which I’ll be answering today, so you’re not the only one.

      I apologize if your’s was one of them – it’s not like I specifically isolated trading questions and said to myself ‘Oh, I should only answer the ones about layout, and those about trading, I won’t answer‘.

      I’m not sure if you were thinking this, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth – you will notice many of these comments here are from my students, and I’m guessing they can all attest such a thing is not something I’d do.

      But no worries – I’ll be answering all remaining questions this morning, including yours – which ironically, is not about trading specifically per se, but more about mindset…for example – the subconscious or psychological things you experience during a winning streak that cause you to experience and increase in stress – that question is really more about mindset/psychology now vs. trading, isn’t it?

      Regardless, thanks in advance for your patience and I’ll be writing back soon.

  • DaveRinaldi - July 29, 2015 3:15 am

    Hey Chris. Really amazing article. Not just for traders, but for everyone. This is the kind of stuff that if everyone could grasp it and get behind it would be world changing. Excellent job on taking such a complex subject and making it so accessible. Truly inspirational. Oh yeah I think it’s very pretty too ;).

    • Chris Capre - July 29, 2015 3:53 am

      Hola Dave,

      Hope all is well on the island.

      Glad you found this article helpful not just for traders, but everyone.

      And yes – if everyone could grasp this material, it could/would change their life, so please do share it with others, hopefully they can benefit from it as well.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • matteo - July 29, 2015 9:12 am

    Hi Chris, I personally experience a big contradiction daily. The least constructive aspect of myself is not being constant unless there is an external force obliging me to be constant. For example: university and graduation. For me it was a life or death situation not score the highest. It was a feeling. And before going automatically into that mindset I had to experience the frustration of feeling some kind of mediocrity because of my total lack of commitment. It was a punch in the face: “why have I been behaving so low in the last few years? I am not like that at all, I don’t like me now”. It really worked. I really changed from the same moment. It was pure commitment with instantaneous black and white reversal and great results.

    I don’t know how it works for you but the statement you wrote:

    “If your brain has a dissonant feeling from your heart, no change will happen because you won’t believe it”

    Is the core of what I experience daily (I would say constantly). Since I have been for almost 5 years in a situation without any “revelation moment” as mentioned above I ended up doing stuff because I share the same passion for self-improvement that you have but I would say without the real boost: a theater course, studying math and chemistry from the open universities course such as MIT (they are great btw, you can have such a remarkable education for free – is totally amazing) and recently just started martial art (I am 31). After 8 month I did quit with theater. Because I was not really feeling the thing. So I ended up thinking: “I have been forcing myself out of my comfort zone, but how much do I have to do it? Because i do it constantly.

    Where is the limit when you understand if 8 months is lack of commitment or if your heart and brain are out of tune? How do you relate this with your intuitive feeling and thinking? Do you think every time you say “I don’t wanna do that is because of your comfort zone or because maybe you do not really care about doing it?

    Hope I was able to send you what I meant as a contraddiction

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 6:05 am

      Hello Matteo,

      Yes, I’m glad you mentioned these things because I sensed them from the first email you sent me.

      Having dissonant or fragmented feelings between the mind-heart will always cause an inconsistent performance as they are not working together. It will create a fragmented self-image and polarizing beliefs, which will not lead to consistent performance.

      RE: Limit
      I don’t think you have to search for a limit as to when your heart/brain are out of tune. That can be done by looking/feeling inward and becoming more self-aware. But if you look at your performance and commitment across many things, and you see this lack of commitment as a pattern, then I think you have the answer.

      So based on that, what do you think is the remedy from here?

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • el_g - July 29, 2015 10:20 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Great article as always! And chalk up another positive comment for the design… :)

    Ironically I feel like my self-image regarding trading is fairly good, considering I’ve only been trading for about a year. Habits, attitudes, and beliefs are fairly consistent and positive. But when I answered question #3 “What have you told yourself it is ‘not like you’ to do?”, my first answer was “It’s not like me to be able to recognize setups”. Wow!

    I’ve been spending time re-watching the PA course videos to get the setups cemented in my brain, but perhaps it’s simply a matter of concentrating and mastering one setup, and make it “like me” to be able to recognize that setup consistently. Building the self-image of a consistently profitable trader is likely done one brick at a time.

    Thanks for putting the time in to provide us with great reading material!

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 6:02 am

      Hola El G,

      It is good you feel you have a positive mindset. Also very keen of you to have the self-reflection about not being able to recognize setups. That should be a focal point on what you work on now.

      And yes, you’ll definitely have to build up the self-image in those areas you mentioned, so good awareness here.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Ivan Vandev - July 30, 2015 1:41 am

    Hello Chris,
    The article is really insightful as there is some additional information to the ATM course ,and by the way this is one of the things I really like about you as my teacher,which is each and every time I learn something of value(about trading,training,mindset etc.)from you,nomatter if it is from the APA,ATM courses or the free area of your website.I also really like the layout as it makes it visual friendly and easier to digest.
    Another great one :)

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 6:00 am

      Hello Ivan,

      Yes, there is a lot of additional information in this article that wasn’t in the ATM course (which was by design).

      Also good to hear you are learning things of value about mindset + trading + training from any/all of the courses.

      Much Appreciated – Chris

  • Ayaforex - July 30, 2015 1:59 am

    Thank you Chris for sharing this invaluable article! Let our mantra be “Consistency in the mind is consistency in trading.”
    Looking forward for the ATM2 course! :-)

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 5:59 am

      Hello Ayaforex,

      I like that mantra – and yes, I cannot wait for the ATM2 to come out soon.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Gerb - July 30, 2015 12:36 pm

    Thanks for the article Chris!

    My best winning streaks have been around 4-5 trades. Though I consider my best streaks to be in the context of winning weeks. I have several times had great months only to lose all the gains in the following month in a landslide of losses.

    I have noticed that I have had those feelings following the winning month where I hear my mind saying “ya but you’ll probably lose it all now, cause that’s what tends to happen.”

    I have noticed the benefits of the learnings and meditation in the ATM course. Reading the article helped to bring the spot light to me where the roots of my challenges are and why my progress in areas is held back.

    Last night I was actually starting to come around to the idea of cultivating my self image as I was waxing my car which I rarely do and had this feeling like “I like how this looks! – This suits me! – I need to do more things to show myself that and feel like this!”

    As always, thank you for being our guide and mentor. I’ve learned more about myself on this trading journey through you than anywhere before.

    Cheers

  • Anthony - July 30, 2015 11:54 pm

    Chris obviously my 2nd comment was a bit of an exageration..! :) I was not asking for such a point per point justification. As you say it could also have been that the ones about specific trading examples (or specific “trading psychology”, which in my opinion are very much synonyms since trading is a lot about psychology) take longer to reply hence you took more time for those ones. Anyway thanks for the answers to all comments to your article. Best, Anthony

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 5:58 am

      Howdy Anthony,

      Yes, some questions require much longer answers or thought out responses than me thanking people for their comments. Your’s was one of the former, but hopefully I’ve answered your question in good detail.

      And yes, we most certainly agree that trading, trading psychology and mindset cannot be separated.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Paul - August 1, 2015 1:37 am

    Hi Chris, I’m thinking a life and success personal development book by you would be a bestseller…Great article and will be getting my kids to read it.

    Cheers

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 5:56 am

      Hola Paul,

      Already thinking the book thing as well, so glad to hear you think the same.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Gerb - August 1, 2015 10:56 am

    I agree with Paul here.

    Chris has been the most influential mentor in my life not only in trading but in most areas of my life. Trading is just the conduit of learning. The impact of Chris’s teachings have great depth and high impact if you really dig in with them.

    Chris thank you for all your hard work! You’re changing my life every day

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 5:56 am

      Hola Gerb,

      I appreciate what you shared, particularly about being a mentor ‘beyond trading’. To have an impact upon one’s trading is awesome, but to further impact their life is the real meat IMO as it affects everything you do.

      Thanks again as this was awesome to hear.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Tom - August 1, 2015 11:32 am

    I absolutely love this article. What are your thoughts on positive affirmations and visualisation? Apparently used by many successful athletes but maybe would be successful despite it.. Any chance of a article or a response regarding these topics?

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 5:54 am

      Hello Tom,

      Thanks for liking the article and sharing your positive comments.

      RE: Positive Affirmations
      I actually cover this in the article 2x and talk about why they are ineffective as is.

      RE: Visualization
      Yes, this is a powerful technique – but is often done completely incorrectly.

      We actually cover the how, why and what regarding visualization in our Adv. Traders Mindset Course and how to use it to re-wire your brain for success.

      Hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • David Ogunnubi - August 2, 2015 1:00 pm

    Chris i am very grateful for this publication honestly it’s insightful and eye opening. More grace and wisdom, What i enjoyed more was the way and manner you write it, it was simple and straight to the point,thats lovely. I have answered the question on my own and seen my errors and am going to work on it until i imprint the positive habits and attitudes thanks.

    • Chris Capre - August 3, 2015 5:30 am

      Hello David,

      Much appreciated for the positive comments.

      Also good to hear you went over the questions and started to self-reflect on these as it will pay dividends in your trading psychology and performance.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Guy Johnson - August 6, 2015 2:05 pm

    Great piece Chris, thank you.I agree with Graeme. I have to lost real money & after switching to demo (I’ve told myself if I can’t makeit in practise I won’t for real) it hasn’t helped I continue to lose money. You have given me another angle to prevent further self sabotage.

    • Chris Capre - August 10, 2015 2:30 pm

      Howdy Guy,

      Nice – we often self-sabotage ourselves more than we realize, and this is almost always done with mindset.

      We have to start there if we want to make a change, so good self-reflection here.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Hasan - August 7, 2015 11:15 pm

    Very nice indeed.. I loved it.. The graphics, and mainly the materials inside.. What a masterpiece.. Chris do know how to make a masterpiece.. Brilliant… I suddenly feeling some changes right now.. Hope it lasts longer..

    • Chris Capre - August 10, 2015 2:32 pm

      Well every now and then, I do get a heavy hitter article out there.

      We are upgrading our content so hopefully it comes through, but glad you liked it.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Steve Epperson - June 10, 2016 1:45 pm

    Buenos Dias from New Mexico. Content here is what I have been looking for. My goal is to step out of my comfort zone and put in at least 60 hours of study in the field of trading psychology. Your site will probably satisfy double that requirement. Thanks much.

    • Chris Capre - June 11, 2016 9:50 am

      Buenos dias Steve. Podemos hablar en espanol si preferais…

      I’m glad to hear the content here is what you’ve been looking for, especially on the trading psychology side as we have a ton here.

      And if you ever want to take your trading psychology training to the next level, we have the ATM course which is completely change the way you think, trade and perform. If you think the free content here on trading psychology is good, then the ATM course will blow your mind even further.

      Food for thought.