I’m a trader.
The first time I ever attempted to trade I was 18 years old. I was so impatient to place the first trade, and hopefully make tons of money.
But somehow, it didn’t work that way…
Needless to say, I’ve been convinced for years that getting the right technique (mastering when to enter a trade) would be the ultimate solution.
Then, I came across a term: “trading psychology”.
“What the hell does psychology have to do with trading!?”, I thought.
My answer today is: trading has much more to do with psychology than 90% of traders expect.
I got enlighted when I heard the advice from a psychologist:
“The real edge separating wealthy traders from failed ones is their mental approach to markets.” – Gary Dayton
But let bring this back a bit…
The goal of this article isn’t necessarily to make you a better trader (because I assume you’re not trading), but you need to understand that the way you approach things in life will be an immense factor of your success or lack thereof.
Instead of sharing theories and fluff, I wanted to share the lessons I learned to crush it in life.
The following are things I realized and I wanted to make sure they were applicable:
Emotions come up and can’t be controlled
It’s ineviatable that you’ll experience emotions at various points in your life.
A common misconception among men is that emotions can be controlled. As if all bad emotions were wrong and you needed to eliminate them from your life.
The key whenever we experience emotions is being able to idenify them. More on that below.
But don’t try to reduce your emotions. After all, emotions make up life. If you want to experience success and pleasure, you have to know what failure, stress, and struggle look like.
For any area of life, you better ensure your beliefs are setting you up for success…
Another realization I had to experience was how much the beliefs you hold influence you.
Ultimately, the beliefs you hold about yourself end up being true.
I love this quote:
“One person with a belief is equal to 99 who have only interests.” — John Stuart Mills
One way I’ve found to boost my personal beliefs is this:
- Write down the belief you want to have
For instance, “I can reach financial freedom” or “I’m able to approach women and have a great conversation”.
- Write down 3–5 reasons why that belief is true
Here are examples:“I know other people who made it happen and they are no smarter than me.”“So far, when I was committed to something, I could achieve it.”“There are resources around me that can help.”
- Think of an action you can take that would help make your belief come true (as small as possible).
Examples: “Brainstorm on a business idea”, “Contact people I’d love to work for”, “Ask a question to the girl next to you”
- Once that action is accomplished, congratulate yourself and build upon it.
You may think: “Ok, so I’ve contacted 10 people now… perhaps I can think of ways I could help them.”
This is your next step.
The process above is how I built my beliefs. You can only build confidence in your beliefs through action.
Do not make the error of simply writing your beliefs and reviewing them. That would be so nice, but it’ll lead to a shaky confidence. You MUST take action and find reasons why those beliefs are true.
Before every project I undertake (whether that’s starting a podcast, trading real money, etc.), I do a checkup on my beliefs and it is my responsibility to ensure that I’m in the right mindset to crush it.
As a side note, a great belief to have is that you are alive to grow. It doesn’t matter where you are right now, you won’t ever be a brick. You have the power to improve and to get better at anything you undertake.
You should feel uncomfortable if you want to do great things
It has been shown that the best public speakers, traders, athletes, etc. feel uncomfotable at times. That’s normal and feeling uncomfortable is almost part of their job description. They are required to perform and…things don’t always go their way.
“But, how do they do it?”, you may ask. “I’m so stressed to trade under pressure.” I get that a lot.
The answer is simple: world-class public speakers, traders, and athletes learned to deal with being uncomfortable. Period.
There’s no magic trick, but one thing I’ve foud is that being mindful about how you feel is extremely important.
Whenever I feel stressed or uncomfortable, I quickly ask myself:
- How do I feel right now?
- Why do I feel that way?
In short, asking the “why” is very powerful because it forces you to realize that your feelings are triggered by something.
For instance, I could identify I feel stressed when I am risking money on a trade. Asking myself “why?”, I could figure out that it feels stressful to be in a trade after I lost the last 5 trades.
As a 3rd step (most important), I’ll ask myself “does that feeling helps me right now?”
The reality is, no matter how much stressed I feel, I have no reason to feel stressed. At this point, I’ll simply choose to accept the feeling and to stay in the present moment.
That means, if my feeling isn’t helping me right now, why would I want to give it my attention. Instead, I’ll direct my attention to what really matters.
In another situation:
- How do I feel right now?
- My feets are shaking and I feel stressed.
- Why do I feel that way?
- I wanted to talk to this pretty woman at the other table and I’m not used to this.
- Does that feeling helps me right now?
- No matter how much I feel right now, it won’t help me talking to the girl.
Then, I’ll choose to act in the present moment. I might focus on my breath and the feeling will still be there.
If you can implement this in your life, you’ll start to figure out that feelings come and go. They may make you uncomfortable, but once you are able to accept them, you can do pretty much anything.
A great way to become more able to shift your focus to what really matters is to practice meditation.
As you meditate, you enable your mind to focus on a certain thing (your breath, a mantra, a specific object, etc.). Your mind naturally loses focus over time, but meditation requires you to re-focus your mind.
I’m sure more articles on meditation are available on Menprovement.
I’m always amazed to find out how much what you learn in an area of your life applies (very often) to all other areas of your life.
By living your emotions, you’ll start to experience what life has to offer. By changing your beliefs, you’ll open yourself to opportunities you’ve never perceived before. And lastly, by changing your perspective of feeling uncomfortable, you’ll realized that you are able to take on way more that you expected.
That is just a quick summary of the lessons I learned by being a trader. What have you picked up from this article? Anything you personally learned that could help others? Comment below and let’s have a chat!