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"unconscious." Then, after eight holes, the whole experience hits your conscious awareness and you think to yourself: "Wow, Im really hitting great. If I can keep this up, Ill play the best round of my life! And who knows. I might even be able to tum pro!" Well, guess what happens next?

Yep, you lose your focus and your game starts falling apart. Now you start getting angry and talking to yourself: "How can this be happening to me? Dammit. Im going to blow the best round in my life! OK. Keep your head down. Slow down the backswing. Relax," and so forth, but your game keeps getting worse. By the time you reach the last hole, you have messed up so badly that what should have been the best scoring round of your life is just average. You feel miserable, like you had personal greatness in your hands and just let it slip out. And do you know what? Youre tight!

Personal greatness, achievement, and success are a direct result of the supercomputer of the mind functioning according to its design. When we are "on" during any physical or mental activity our conscious awareness and subconscious mental processing are in a state of integrated, harmonious interaction. Armed with accurate knowledge of the what and how to perform, the subconscious mind takes the immediate input of conscious awareness and provides rapid and accurate output in the form of physical and mental activity. The output is accurate because the programming is good and the input is valid. The input is valid because our conscious awareness is totally focused only on the data in reality relevant to the objective.

When you were "on" in the golf game, for example, you had already provided your subconscious with the programming it needed by taking lessons, leaming

the mles, reading good books by successful professionals, watching professional players and emul ating the key elements of their style, and hitting hundreds of balls on the practice range.

Your conscious awareness was totally occupied with gathering information needed by your subconscious to perform the specific shot at hand such as the lie of the bal 1, its distance from the pin, the direction of the wind, and so forth. It was totally unencumbered by the fear of mishitting, or the potential excitement of hitting another excellent shot. Your focus was directed by the ultimate goal of shooting the lowest possible score by hitting each ball to the best of your ability; the direction of your conscious, outward mental focus triggered and held the focus of your subconscious mental processes. As soon as your conscious focus shifted from concentrating on each s hot to illusions of being a pro, another subprogram of the subconscious kicked in and sabotaged your game. But for a while, you were a total success at golf. Your supercomputer provided you with goal-serving motivation.

I believe it is possible to harness and control the power of our supercomputers and be "on" most of the time in everything we do, and I believe that almost anyone can do it. The key to harnessing this power is understanding the nature and source of personal motivation and how to change it.


When you are "on" during any activity, you are in the most positive and highly motivated state you can attain. Let me explain what I mean by that. To be motivated means to be full of a reason or cause that makes you act in a certain way or that determines volition. Volition is the act of willing or choosing. If volition is determined when you are motivated, you are beyond choice: The choice is made, and your mind is set on its path. You are in a state of total concentratio n and focus; your mind is totally committed to the task at hand.

This is not a state of mind you can just choose at will. You can tell yourself all day, "Im going to lose weight, Im going to lose weight," but without the tight motivation, your subconscio us mind will just keep saying back, "Nope, nope," and youll be left feeling fmstrated and self-recriminating. Instead of growing, you will stagnate, at best. Instead of achieving, you will fail.

In life, as in any particular endeavor, the process of growth and achievement has four key elements:

1. Goals: You have to know what end results you are after and commit yourself to achieving those results.

2. Actions: You have to develop a plan according to your goals and execute the plan through decisive actions.

3. Awareness: You have to observe the results of your actions and evaluate their degree of success or failure, not only in material terms, but also in personal, emotional terms.

4. Change: If you fail, you have to reassess both your goals and your actions, identify the flaws, and be willing to try something new.

Each one of these four factors is crucial to success, but setting goals is the foundation for the whole process. Goal setting in itself may seem easy. Anyone can pull out a piece of paper and write down a list of things that he or she wants. But writing a few sentences wont establish goals. Goals have no power until you experience them as real; until you experience them not as something you merely desire, but as something you need to sustain life-like food.

If you can program your supercomputer to experience a goal as a fundamental need, then it will do everything it can to drive you toward it, and the rest of the steps will follow much more easily. This state of mind is called commitment, and it is the source of consistency and the wellspting of emotional discipline.

If you are like most people, you recognize that making a commitment is necessary to achieve anjhing, but you feel simultaneously that it is a trap. You may associate it with d enial of the things that make you comfortable, with rigidity and absolute discipline, with a lack of freedom and spontaneity. These associations are garbage that need to be thrown in the rubbish heap where they belong.

The word commit comes from the Latin word committere which means "to bring together." In this context, commitment means to bring together your conscious and subconscious mind (including emotions) in the pursuit of your goals. Acquiring commitment is the key step that will make your goals viable, that will give them power, that will give you the ability to execute the plans you lay out.

Notice that I said "acquiring" commitment, not "making" a commitment. I use this term because if your mind isnt oriented correctly, then it is often impossible to "make a commitment." Following through in the achievement of a goal isnt a matter of steely "will power," or denial of "temptation"; it is a matter of finding a way to change the content and associations in your mind so that true and consistent motivation exists.

When most people say that human beings have free will, they mean that at any time and in every issue a person has the power to choose and control his actions For example, I can reach out and pick up this glass of water in front of me or not, I can close my current short position right now or not, I can lose weight and keep it off or not. I dont think it is that simple at all.

Going back to the computer model of the brain, what you do -the output of your mind-depends on the input, what you perceive, and how you process the information, on how you look at reality with your conscious mind and have trained or failed to train your subconscious mind to function. Free will does not meat that you can do anything you want, when and how you want to; it me ans that you can choose to change the programming in your mind.

Free will comes down to one fundamental choice: to think, or not to think. This doesnt mean that in every issue and in every waking moment you must consciously and logically dissect your thou ghts and actions-your conscious mind works too slowly for that. What it means is devoting yourself to knowledge and awareness of the nature and source of your motivations and to correcting them when necessary.

It means introspecting-using your conscious awareness to access, identify, and evaluate the content of your subconscious mind. So lets look into the nature of the subconscious mind and see where motivations come from.

Emotions determine motivation. Specifically, we are driven by two fundamental forces at the emotional level: the desire to attain pleasure and the need to avoid pain. Think about it. When we want something, is it the thing itself that we really seek? No. It is what we think attaining the goal will bring, the change we think it will cause in our mental and physical state of being, that makes us want it. For example, most people who desire to lose weight dont care so much about the actual fat cells; they want to change the way they feel about themselves. What they really want is to feel in control of their lives, to

feel healthy and live longer, to feel more attractive to others, to feel more energetic and excited by life, and so on.

As another example, almost all of us want a positive relationship with the opposite sex, but what we really want is to feel seen and understood, to enjoy the positive feelings of warmth and sharing, to feel the security of having a friend and confidant who will always be there, to experience the ecstasy of sex, and so on.

All of these wants imply a desire to change our current state. Specifically, they imply a desire to move from a state of dissatisfaction to satisfaction, or from satisfaction to more satisfaction; from pain to pleasure, or from pleasure to more pleasure. The potential feeling of pleasure is the real goal and the immediate source of desire. This desire alone, however, may not be enough to establish motivation. We may have conflicting desires which arise from the need to avoid pain.

Dieting and acquiring or maintaining healthy relationships are, like trading, examples of areas in which most people want and have the knowledge to succeed, but fail in the attempt more often than not. Most often, the reason for failure is not because the person cannot do it, but because he or she will not do it; the true motivation does not exist.

Someone on a diet, munching his lettuce and carrots with lemon juice, sees that juicy, 16 -ounce steak delivered to the next table and says, "What the hell! Ive had enough of this suffering!" Or, the guy who has met a woman he is strongly attracted to and has even obtained her phone number never calls because he thinks, "What if she doesnt like me?" or, "Ill probably just be disappointed again."

In the case of breaking the diet, the process of dieting is experienced as painful, as a process of moving away from enjoyable things instead of moving toward more enjoyable things. Achieving the goal of weight loss doesnt really mean pleasure in the persons mind, but pain!

The guy who doesnt make the follow-up call acts almost totally on the desire to avoid pain: the pain of rejection, the pain of disappointment, the pain of being wrong, the pain of losing his "freedom," and so on. Again, the process of acting to attain the goal is associated with pain in the mind, not pleasure. There is a pleasure/pain paradox that the subconscious mind cant deal with effectively: to move towards a goal is painful; to remain the same is to stay dissatisfied. Given the alternative, the subconscious will usually let the need to avoid pain predo minate

over the desire to attain pleasure, so the person falters in the pursuit of goals and fails.

In watching people day-trade, I have seen this process at work many times and in many people, myself included. A profitable trading record can and often does have more losing trades than winning trades. But if this is the case, then obviously the profits from good trades have to be larger than the losses from the more frequent losers. The most common error traders make is taking profits too early and letting losses run too far. The reason they do this is that they are not motivated by the rules. They understand them, but they dont realize them.

If you have made a trade based on a 1 to 3 risVreward ratio, then you ought to either lose 1 or win at least 3. Often, however, a trader sees a profit of 2 to 1 and cant stand the pain of watching it dip back to even. His subconscious mind projects pain and sends a flood of misleading output, and in his fear and confusion, the trader sells his position when the market starts going against him, realizes maybe a 1.5 to 1 profit, and then screams at himself when the market rallies back to where he could have realized 3 to 1 or better.

On the flip side, when the market immediately goes against him and hits his exit p oint, instead of taking the lick and getting out, he starts hoping that it will tum around and hell get lucky. Then the market keeps going down, and what should have been a loss of 1 turns into a loss of 1.5, 2, or even more. His need to avoid the pain of losing and of being wrong drives him to deny mles he knows to be right. It is the same paradox in a different form: To execute the mles is painful, but not executing them increases his state of dissatisfaction and depletes his trading capital!

I think you will find upon self-examination that some form of the pleasure/pain paradox is at work any time you are having trouble moving toward the achievement of a goal. Assuming you have the right knowledge, the problem of not being able to execute emanates from conflicting motivations arising from what your subconscious experiences as opposing needs, and in general, the motivation arising from the need to avoid pain almost always predominates.

Ironically, when this happens, the pain of fmstration and dissatisfaction is always the result. In an

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