Friday, October 12, 2012

Consistency a State of Mind

Just because you are acting in the capacity of a trader, doesn't mean that you've learned the appropriate ways to think about what you do. As I have already stressed several times, what separates the best traders from everyone else is not what they do or when they do it, but rather how they think about what they do and how they're thinking when they do it. If your goal is to trade like a professional and be a consistent winner, then you must start from the premise that the solutions are in your mind and not in the market. Consistency is a state of mind that has at its core certain fundamental thinking strategies that are unique to trading. Experiencing a few or more winning trades can convince almost anyone that trading is easy. Recall your own experiences; think back to those trades that brought a stream of money flowing into your account when all you had done was make a simple decision to buy or sell. Now, combine the extremely positive feeling you get from winning and getting money with no effort, and it's almost impossible not to conclude that making money as a trader is easy. But if that's the case, if trading is so easy, then why is it so difficult to master? Why are so many traders at their wits' end, grappling with the obvious contradiction? If it is true that trading is easy — and traders know it is  because they've had the direct experience of how easy and effortless it is — then how can it also be possible that they can't make what they've learned about the markets work for them over and over again? In other words, how do we account for the contradiction between what we believe about trading and our actual trading results over time?

                                                            THINKING ABOUT TRADING
The answers are all in the way you think about it. The irony is that trading can be as much fun and as effortless as your experience of it has been on occasion; but experiencing these qualities consistently is a function of your perspective, your beliefs, your attitudes, or your mindset. Choose the term you are most comfortable with; they all refer to the same thing: Winning and consistency are states of mind in the same way that happiness, having fun, and satisfaction are states of mind.

Your state of mind is a by-product of your beliefs and attitudes. You can try to create consistency without having the appropriate beliefs and attitudes, but your results won't be any different than if you try to be happy when you're not having fun. When you're not having fun, it can be very difficult to change your perspective to one where you, all of a sudden, start enjoying yourself. Of course, the circumstances of your situation could suddenly shift in a way that causes you to experience joy. But then your state of mind would be the result of an external shift in conditions, not a result of an internal shift in your attitude. If you depend on outside conditions and circumstances to make you happy (so that you always are enjoying yourself), then it is extremely unlikely that you will experience happiness on a consistent basis.

However, you can greatly increase the possibility of your being happy by developing fun-type attitudes and, more specifically, by working on neutralizing the beliefs and attitudes that prevent you from having fun or enjoying yourself. Creating consistent success as a trader works the same way. You can't rely on the market to make you consistently successful, any more than you can rely on the outside world to make you consistently happy. People who are truly happy don't have to do anything in order to be happy. They are happy people who do things. Traders who are consistently successful are consistent as a natural expression of who they are. They don't have to try to be consistent; they are consistent. This may seem like an abstract distinction, but it is vitally important that you understand the difference.

Being consistent is not something you can try to be, because the very act of trying will negate your intent by mentally taking you out of the opportunity flow, making it less likely that you will win and more likely you will lose. Your very best trades were easy and effortless. You didn't have to try to make them easy; they were easy. There was no struggle. You saw exactly what you needed to see, and you acted on what you saw. You were in the moment, a part of the opportunity flow. When you're in the flow, you don't have to try, because everything you know about the market is available to you. Nothing is being blocked or hidden from your awareness, and your actions seem effortless because there's no struggle or resistance. On the other hand, having to try indicates that there is some degree of resistance or struggle. Otherwise, you would just be doing it and not have to try to be doing it. It also indicates that you're trying to get what you want from the market. While it seems natural to think this way, it's a perspective fraught with difficulties. The best traders stay in the flow because they don't try to get anything from the market; they simply make themselves available so they can take advantage of whatever the market is offering at any given moment. There's a huge difference between the two perspectives.

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