Trading can be a fantastic way to earn a living, but if we approach it from the wrong angle, it can wreak enormous havoc too. It’s not just because of potential financial losses, it can also negatively impact how we feel and consequently cause stress in relationships, while also upsetting the overall quality of life.
Part 2 in my series of Trading Psychology articles addresses some of the problems that can arise once we get seriously involved with trading, and how we can help ourselves to become well-rounded traders and avoid potential negatives.
There is no doubt that trading provides good opportunities to earn lots of money. Yet money is only ever a means to an end; money facilitates things but is nothing in and of itself. So an important question to ask yourself is: To what end do I want to earn lots of money through trading in the first place?
All of these points were important motivations for me personally that got me inspired about trading. But I soon learned how easy it is to get lost in the heat of ‘trading battle’… to forget the original aims and instead feel stressed out for many hours of the day. Or to lose connection to the people that are most important to me, while I am stuck in front of the screen, ever looking for the next trade that might get me further along toward feeling more stable, abundant and happy.
You know that something is going wrong when you find yourself glued to a chart at the totally wrong time of the night, or if your pulse is like a runaway train because of an open trade that is looking uncertain, or if you can’t recall what your partner just said to you over the dinner table because your mind is still swimming with candlesticks and chart patterns!
In moments like these the original goal of living a more abundant, free and happier life is nowhere in sight. This is when you have to ask yourself the crucial question ‘Am i heading in the right direction or actually getting lost along the way?’
I have noticed that my trading results massively improve when I genuinely start out from a feeling of relaxed trust and flow. My decisions are clearer and I don’t interfere in detrimental ways, leading to more profits, which in turn promotes more feelings of ease, trust and flow.
Conversely when I am anxious and fretting, my results deteriorate because i am making choices for all the wrong reasons, leading to more losses than necessary, which in turn reinforces a state of pessimism, doubt or even self-defeat. If this goes on unchecked, the negativity gathers momentum and affects others areas of life too.
So how can we move ourselves into a state of trust and flow from the outset? And how can we stay there even when some of our trades don’t work out?
Ironically what has proven most effective for me so far is to actively cultivate the very same feeling states that I am hoping trading success will bring into my life… i.e. to cultivate feeling relaxed, secure, happy, abundant and free, independent of my trading performance and bank balance. This means that when i notice i am getting stressed and fixated on pushing and striving for results, I make an active effort to take a break and choose to do something enjoyable and meaningful instead until i feel more balanced and ready to resume trading again.
The great sage Lao Tzu says “Do nothing and nothing is left undone”. I have found this to be particularly poignant because the more I enjoy myself by spending quality time with loved ones, being present in the moment and appreciating what is around me, the more i realise that life is already good as it is. This promotes a powerful feeling of ease, trust and flow, which in turn creates a real foundation for successful trading.
By doing less, and enjoying life more, your trade results may actually improve! Yet oddly enough this can be much harder to achieve than it seems at first. Our modern-day culture imprints us with the subconscious belief that constant striving is the only way to get to where we want to go. But this attitude can lead exactly into the psychological states that are detrimental to successful trading, i.e. stress, tension, anxiety and burn out.
So a word of caution to all traders: If your quality of life significantly deteriorates in your attempt to earn money, it may be time to ask yourself whether you’re still headed in the right direction.
Trading is like a double edged sword: it can be a way to experience great abundance, joy and freedom, or it can consume everything you value in life. Which side we experience depends entirely on us.
All the best along your trading journey.
Hubert is a trader who uses wave patterns and the ecs.SWAT method. He is also doing analysis and articles for the EliteCurrenSea.com website.