A Kick Where You Ned it the Most
Kick Where You Need it the Most Louise Bedford gets your moving in the right direction.
We can cheat on our dreams, just a little each day, and no one will notice. An extra coffee with a friend, another sitcom from the comfort of the couch, a Sunday sleep-in, and blam – another week has gone past without working on your trading plan, without developing the skills to rescue you from your humdrum life.
Everyone procrastinates. It's part of human nature. However, when we cheat and do not do the hard things in life, it’s corrosive. It rusts the soul. Little by little it erodes the fabric of our dreams and goals, until we're so far away from what we really want that we can't get excited or passionate about anything. Before we know it, making lazy, weak choices becomes a habit that infiltrates every area of our life.
This is the essence of a mid-life crisis. Things seem boring, everything seems like a repeat of everything else, and all of a sudden you're jaded.
It doesn't have to be this way. Small feats of discipline can help that are congruent with where you want to be in life, and you'll be granted some bonuses along the way when some things you desire fall miraculously into your lap.
Feeling jealous? I caught up with my girlfriend for a heart-to-heart the other day. Her husband of 25 years has just caught himself a swimsuit model, so he's in the process of starting a new, shiny life. My girlfriend is in shock. Like many of us, she’s got a few spare tyres where none previously existed, and it's hard looking in the mirror when she knows that her 'soon-to-be-ex' is looking at the perfection of his new plaything.
Jealousy. It can cut us from being a confident, capable adult into a tantrum-throwing, needy two-year old. And it's not just in relationships. It happens with trading. So often I hear traders whining, ‘How come I haven't worked out how to do this yet?’, or ‘He’s so clever, he’s made so much money, it's sending me around the bend!’. We compare ourselves to others. We look at
When you truly desire something, your habits and actions align themselves with your priorities. You'll find yourself doing things that are congruent with where you want to be in life...
you overcome inertia and bring a sparkle back to your eye.
I challenge you. Tomorrow morning, before you get out of bed, lie for a few minutes and ask yourself: Am I really happy? While your brain isn't yet in gear for the day and you're chasing away the remnants of dreams, take time to reflect. And if you’re not happy, ask yourself for some solutions. What would it take to make you happy? Is that 'something' within your control? What would be the first step towards making happiness come true?
You may think you have unlimited time, but if you are between 30 and 50 years old you have around 2500 weekends left here on planet earth. The clock is ticking. If you're not going to pursue the things that give you a buzz and put a spring in your step, no one else will, I guarantee.
I coach hundreds of traders, and I do take my job seriously. Sometimes though, I see my traders take the easy option. They do the fun stuff, and other things that are more demanding pile up on their desks. Success is more about discipline than talent. It's built on the back of the habits you form, and the commitments you make.
When you truly desire something, your habits and actions align themselves with your priorities. You'll find yourself doing things their strengths and our flaws and constantly feel we're not worthy. Confidence expands us. It makes us feel there are boundless opportunities and we are capable of magic. Jealousy shrinks us. It shrinks our minds and energy, and we become less capable and resilient.
Make a pact with yourself this month. Aim to be the best trader, and the best person you can be. Don’t compare yourself with others. Ignore them. Focus on yourself, and realise you are worthy of success. Control your mind, so every time it strays and you think about yourself unfavourably because you're making comparisons with the achievements of others – stop and change tack. Stop mid-sentence, if you're talking about it. Force yourself to become more independent and less needy. Every time you feel jealous, consciously realise it, change direction and think of something you’re good at.
Trading success guilt Sometimes, just as our horse looks like it’s about to win the race, we reign it in and limp towards the finish line, last. Some traders seem intent on giving back their winnings to the market. They wrap their
JUL/AUG 2011 A Kick Where You Ned it the Most fears in a wispy veil of sophistication as they tell their friends over Martinis: ‘Market conditions are no longer optimal,’ or ‘Volatility in the market is the killer.’ These are just excuses. Mediocre traders blame. Excellent traders look within.
Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced success guilt. Things came just a little too easily, and someone called you ‘lucky’.
At high school I was not a sporty girl. I got asthma easily (in the days before adequate medication), and I lacked confidence. However, I excelled at shot put. Jody was my nemesis. She was a strong, strong girl, and I looked weedy and pathetic beside her. However, with shot puts in our hands, we were well matched. Form 4 – she beat me. Form 5 – she beat me by a narrower margin. Form 6 – I won! I beat her fair and square. But the feeling of victory was short lived.
Talking after our event, Jody said: ‘You were so lucky!’ Lucky? Lucky that I’d trained my arm to be a mighty weapon of fury? Lucky that I’d worked so hard each day after school so my performance looked effortless?
However, her words hit me hard. Was that a head cold I detected in her voice? She did sound a bit sniffly. Perhaps that was it. That was why I won. Under usual circumstances, she would have thrashed me. The rainbow of victory had been obliterated by the storm cloud of ‘success guilt’ and self-doubt.
When I spot this tendency in traders, I know I have to stop them turning their inner termites into the Terminator. I’ve seen it many times. Traders focus, do well, and exceed their financial comfort zone, only to give away all their profits, plus a little more for good measure.
I remind them of the following things.
1. The market is an equal opportunity employer There are incredible success stories of people from all strata of society, both genders, any age, who became gloriously successful while overcoming every obstacle. There will be someone just like you who simply didn’t listen to their own excuses. I’ve never met a successful trader who was a victim. Stop saying ‘Poor me’ and start saying ‘Why not me?’.
2. You can learn to be a trading success You won’t be an ‘Ed Seykota’ overnight. Not even Ed Seykota became an ‘Ed Seykota’ overnight. It took dedication, years of practice, and a certain bold, dogmatic, ‘never say die’ attitude.
3. Watch your self-talk Who needs enemies when you’ve got your own inner lunatic to seed corrosive, creeping doubts in your own mind? Catch yourself when your self-talk is leading you to feel unworthy of success, or belittling your efforts. Steer your mind in a more positive direction. Build up your mini-accomplishments the way you would a Lego set – one block at a time.
4. Give yourself a pat on the back for any movement in the right direction Feeling worthy comes only after a series of achievements. That’s why people who strike gold by winning TattsLotto tend to give it all back within five years. They hit the big time without the minute, incremental steps required to help their unconscious adjust to that influx of money.
Once you’ve written your trading plan, you’re allowed to smile a little smugly. Realise you’re in the top five per cent of traders. Know that this will make a difference to your entire trading career. When you do a small thing well in the markets, give yourself permission to admit you’ve done well.
Savour even small successes. Know that anyone who decides to stop making excuses can be just as successful as you are. You can achieve, without the guilt others may think should accompany your success. Get over it. Get on with trading well and following your trading plan. You owe it to yourself and to the people you love.
The best possible thing you can do right now to cram success into your year is to dump the negative self-talk and get to work on writing your trading plan.
Louise Bedford (www.tradinggame.com.au) is a full-time private trader and author of ‘The Secret of Writing Options’, ‘The Secret of Candlestick Charting’, ‘Charting Secrets’ and ‘Trading Secrets’. Register now on her website to receive a free trading plan template.
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