What if I put a loaded gun to your head right now and said, “Trade well or die.” Could you do it? What if I threatened your family? Could you execute your trading plan, avoid blowing out your account and make money at the end of the month/year etc.? How about make 10% ROI monthly? How about 500% annually? How would you trade if your life was literally at stake?
For those of you who have never traded before or are relatively new, my guess is that you would roll over and die. But how about those traders who have been doing this awhile but are unsatisfied and/or inconsistent with their trading?
This may seem like a silly or extreme psychological stretch for most of you. But picture this. If you were a CIA agent, or a Navy Seal, or a Green Beret your life (and perhaps those whom you hold dear) would be on the line every day. In the book “Unbeatable” by Jack Schropp, the author states that many individuals fail to achieve their aspirations because they lack focus. As a former Navy Seal, he knows from personal experience that the ability to remain focused while waiting for hours in near freezing wastewater, in enemy territory, with no backup, leeches crawling on your skin, etc. is what separates the wanna-be recruits from the elite. He also states that you don’t get to this level of focus by being in your comfort zone. During Navy Seal training recruits are pushed to extreme physical levels and taunted by their trainers to test their ability to manage their emotions (see reality) even when things are seemingly at their worst. Sounds like a boot camp for lazy traders to me!
The problem for many struggling/breakeven traders (including myself at times) is that they have nebulous goals devoid of passion. They get started on the right foot but become complacent with where they are. Usually this complacency sets in at the top of their equity curve. How many times have you traded 90% of the day well, and then given back a great deal of profits at the end of the day/week/month? Being a “sunshine patriot” regarding your trading is easy. But how do you fare at the 11th hour, when the chips are down, you are feeling tired, and you just wanna quit? Are you gonna ring the bell recruit?
Here are some of the passionate affirmations I visualize to myself during my darkest trading times:
“Trading means freedom – I never want to be a slave to the illusory bonds of money”
“Trading means excellence (arête) – I will never know what I am capable of until I ask more of myself than I ever thought possible”
“Trading means understanding – By understanding the market I deepen understanding of myself”
“Trading means helping others – Only when I can adequately provide for myself and my family can I help others, whether this is financially, intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually”
What mental tools would you use to stay focused in your trading if your life and those you cared for was literally at stake?