are you a happy trader

I’m reading a GREAT book right now about performance enhancement and our ability to increase our performance by a factor of 10 if we just get out of our own way and let what we already know shine through without inhibition. Sound good? It does to me! The book is called You ALREADY Know How to be Great by Alan Fine and it states that the true key to increasing performance isn’t found in books, or secret information, but instead, comes from removing mental resistance.
Resistance, as in, YOU.
GOT (INNER) GAME? If you haven’t heard already, trading is very much a mental game. Fear, greed, self doubt can all weak havoc on our ability to create consistent profits. A bad fill, a strong gap against us, a loser that we let run on FOREVER, all have the power to seriously take us out of the game and take away months of profits in a few days.
Because of this strong mental aspect, trading is much like the game of golf. In fact, the author poled a group of golfers asking them how much of golf is mental compared to how much of golf is physical. Golfers seemed to agree that as much as 85% of the game of golf is a mental game. The author then asked this same group to explain how much of their training is focused on the mental aspect of the game.
As you can guess, not much. Golfers prefer to focus their time hitting the ball, mastering their swing, spending money on new clubs, shoes, etc. Why? Why spend 85% of your time on something that affects 15% of your game? Why not spend 85% of your time on something that affects 85% of your game?
A LIGHT BULB WENT OFF I can relate to this directly. I have a friend who I play racquetball with from time to time. When we first decided to play it had been years since I’d hit the court so I picked up a cheap racquet and met him at the gym. Turns out we’d both bought the same (low) quality racquet so we were pretty evenly matched. In equipment at least.
Growing up I’d played a lot of r-ball and that learned skill came back pretty fast. In no time flat I was ruling the court. Nice. What happened after this is the interesting part. Each week, for at least a month my friend showed up to play with more and more gear. New glove. Upgraded racquet. Even more expensive racquet. Yet I was still playing with the same cheap racquet and I was winning.
That day I thought about what it would take for my friend to beat me at racquetball, or even to improve his game — and little to none of those ideas involved buying new gear. A light bulb went off in my head. The same must be true of trading.
WHEN IN DOUBT - DON’T BUY MORE STUFF! When trading isn’t working, what’s the first thing we do? Buy books, seek out new indicators. Better data. Gurus. Anything but look in the one place that really matters: inward. If we did we’d see there’s only a few things that really make you better: practice, focus, clearing your mind, getting out of your own way, pulling the trigger, learning from past mistakes, reviewing winning trades.
So why not set aside a portion (most) of your day to work on the inner game? Focus on a goal, let thoughts drift out of your head, imagine yourself executing trades in a calm, rational manner, both winners and losers. See the joy of trading, the accumulation of capital. Watch trades go against you and then watch as you close them out effortlessly. Watch trades hit target. Watch yourself letting winners run. See yourself surrounded by luxury, all fruits of your trading successes. Really get into this. Each day. Who knows, it just might be the missing link you need to take your trading to the next level. It sure was for me.