back start next

[start] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [ 58 ] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72]


your mind and a new ritual that you can


call upon to change your emotional state when you need to. The nice thing is, you can effect immediate change this way.

It may seem ingenuine or false to change the way you feel simply by changing your physical state. After all, isnt it what we feel that makes us what we are, and isnt mechanically changing the way you feel a form of personal dishonesty? My answer to this is to ask you to consider w hich is more false or ingenuine: screaming at traffic you have no control over, or feeling more relaxed by taking a deep breath, changing your posture, and asking yourself a few questions? Which is more real: Waking up depressed for no apparent reason and giving in to the feeling, or snapping yourself to attention, clapping your hands, and energizing yourself for the coming day?

What you feel is a huge part of what you are, but you can choose to feel how you want to feel in large part just by making some physical changes. In addition, leaming to manage your state by changing the way you use your body is only one aspect of making permanent change. When combined with what Im going to talk about in the next couple of sections, using your body accelerates the process of change and helps install new associations of your choosing into your subconscious mind.

This is especially tme in trading. You just wont see the opportunities, you wont react well, you wont feel confident if you are depressed or low. There i snt a routine of trading that will carry you through those rough times. Youve got to be sharp, focused, and attentive to do the job well. When youre not, try to energize yourself with physical movements. I often use a deck of cards to keep up my intensity. I sit there watching the screen while shuffling, doing one -handed cuts, and so forth to help keep me focused. Ive been told that you can tell when I have a position on by how many times per minute I shuffle my cards.

One aspect of using your body I particularly want to emphasize is exercise. Study after study has shown how exercise reduces stress, increases energy and mental stamina, and generally boosts self-esteem. Trading, because of the inherent uncertainty in dealing with the markets, is very stre ssful. I can personally testify to the benefits of exercise, and I know from the times that I have let my exercising regimen lapse that all the studies are correct.

When you are tired and stressed, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. But there is almost always that moment when you know that all you have to do is stand up, get your work -out clothes, and head outside or to the fitness center and do it. In my personal experience, when I grasp that moment of hesitation and go do it, Im always glad I did. Something else about exercise: The worst time not to do it is when you feel down. What you need to do when you feel down is interrupt the patterns that make you feel down, and exercise is one of the best ways to do it. Its tough sometim es, but it pays off.

Ive known people who treat their exercise time just like an important business appointment. They block it out on their calendar like a meeting or business luncheon, and only extraordinary circumstances can make them cancel it-like a death in the family. Think about it. Isnt your health, your energy, your life just as

important as any other business appointment or social engagement? Exercise is an investment in how you feel now and how you will feel in the future, plus it will pay off financially for you in business by giving you more energy, greater ability to concentrate, and enhanced self-confidence. Thats my pep talk, for me and for you.

Using and managing your physical body is the quickest way to change your state, but it is not enough to affect permanent change. You can use your body to help interrupt old patterns and install new associations, but to really get those new associations ingrained into your subconscious, you have to install the beliefs and values to back them up. To do this, you have to tum to your most powerful asset: the conscious mind.

Although I spoke first about changing your state by using your body, implicit in the discussion was the use and exercise of the conscious mind. What I mean is that before you can make a change of any kind, you have to be aware of a problem with yourself, focus on it, evaluate the consequences of your present actions, and project the effects of altemative courses to determine what action you are goin g to take.

Awareness, focus, evaluation, and projection are the tools available to us that we have to leam to use in order to become successful. They are tools that are already at work, but that may be working against us due to poor personal management. I f they are working against us, then it is because they are being issued conflicting orders by the subconscious mind due to the contradictory and limiting associations, values, and beliefs we hold.

Ironically, the only way we can gain knowledge of these lim itations is by using the very faculties which they debilitate, namely awareness, focus, evaluation, and projection.

In the early eighties, when I was training traders out of my office, I told them that to trade well they had to leam to do three things: observe, focus, think. What I was trying to get across to them is the mental state you have to be in to trade successfully. Assuming that you have the fundamental knowledge required to make a trading decision, the next step is to observe market behavior; to watch and take in the current data such as economic and political news, market price movements, the interaction of prices in related markets, and so forth in the same way you would if you were reading the sports page, playing bridge, or doing something els e that you find interesting and easy to leam.

If you can achieve a state of focus, a state where your conscious awareness is directed toward the markets and away from other of lifes problems, then what happens next is you will get a "feel" for the direction of price movements and you will "hear" an inner command coming from your subconscious saying, "Sell the S&P Index futures now."

This is the point to intervene with your conscious mind and evaluate the conclusion of your subconscious before actually making the trade. You evaluate by verifying whether the trade meets the requirements set by your trading mles. You ask yourself: "Is there a minimum 1 to 3 tisVeward ratio? Is this trade in the direction of the trend you want to be involved in? Have prices tested a previous

important high and failed?" and so forth..

In other words, you use all the applicable mles you know to test the validity of the judgment delivered by your subconscious mind. If the facts verify the judgment, then you make the trade. If not, you dont. If you go through this process consistently, you will trade well and gain more and more confidence in the "inner voice" of your subconscious mind; the process of evaluation becomes more and more automatic, and you approach the point where you can almost fully "tmst your instincts."

Unfortunately, when I was training traders, I wasnt able to articulate the nature of this process as clearly as I have just done, because it was my implicit mode of operation; that is, I practiced the method, but I wasnt fully, verbally aware of what I was doing. Many people who are good at something dont know why they ate good at it. They may say, "I tmst my instincts," or "I just let go and it happens." I am willing to bet, however, that the process I just described is active, in varying degrees and with minor variations, in everyone who excels at anything. . "Observe, focus, think," is just another way of expressing that you have to integrate the faculties of awareness, focus, evaluation, and projection to make good decisions and take effective action. If you understand how these faculties work, then you can leam to manage and direct every aspect of your life. So let me discuss these faculties in more detail and outline the principles of how to apply them to identifying and changing limiting associations, values, and beliefs.


What exactly is awareness? Philosophers have been debating the answer to this question for 2000 years, but were going to operate with a very simple answe r. Awareness is the ability or faculty of perceiving that which exists. What we perceive, what bombards our senses, is the raw data of reality. What we do with it, how our mind makes sense of it, depends on what we know and believe.

For example, if you show a stock chart to someone who knows virtually nothing about graphs and the financial markets, what are they aware or. Basically, they would see a confusing collection of lines, numbers, and so on, and at most they would see the price plot as some sort of wavy pattem. My point in using this example is to demonstrate that your range of awareness is contextual. In order to be aware of anything, you have to understand the nature of what you are dealing with. That is why knowledge is so important-it expands the range of awareness available to you. Remember that your subconscious mind can only make sense of that which it is programmed to make sense of, so it simply wont take in very much extraneous information -it just doesnt know what to do with it!

The biggest block to awareness, however, is not lack of knowledge but rather the inadvertent misprogramming of our minds. If we instruct our subconscious mind not to take in certain kinds of data, then it wont, and it will be impossible to be fully aware of what is occurring. But you can use the faculty of awareness to realize that you are missing something, that there is a problem, just by remembering a few things that you already know.

When you arent getting the results that you want in life, something is wrongthere is a contradiction somewhere in your mind blocking you. Probably the biggest blocks to achieving goals are the limitations to awareness that we inadvertently place in our minds through the acceptance of negative associations and beliefs. Conversely, positive associations and beliefs enable awareness.

If you keep missing important things and the only symptom that makes you aware of missing them is some form of failure, then take that as a starting point. Recognizing and owning not only your successes, but also your failures, is the first and absolutely essential step to enabling yourself to be consistently successful. Recognizing mistakes and failures and leaming to own them is a positive thing.

What I mean by "owning" your successes and failures is recognizing that every result you achieve is a result of a choice you made. You, and only you, are responsible for the results you get. Supertrader trainer Dr. Van K. Tharp explains it this way:

The best thing an investor [or anyone] can do, when things go wrong, is to determine how he or she produced those results. Now, I dont mean that you should blame yourself for your mistakes either. I mean that at some point in time, for any situation, you made a choice that produced those results. Determine what that choice point was and give yourself other options to take when you encounter a similar choice point in the future. Change the decision at similar choice points in the future and you will change the results you get. And by imagining doing so now, you can make it easy to select those altematives in the future.

It is extremely tempting to blame our mistakes, failures, and pain on other people and events. But if you continually remind yourself that they are yours and are a result of your actions, then ou enable yourself to become aware of what caused them. Mistakes, failures, and pain are a part of life, and we all want to avoid them. But we cant avoid them by denial. If we can instead choose to own them, then they lose their power over us. They become OK, acceptable, normal, even a positive opportunity to leam, grow, and achieve.

In Reminiscence of a Stock Operator, Jesse Livermore wrote, "I dont mind making mistakes, what I dont like is being wrong." The way I interpret this is that making an error is okay, but what isnt okay is making an error, not admitting it, and continuing to do it. I once gave a lecture at Lehigh University and asked the audience of 200 students how many of them liked to admit their mistakes. Only one student raised his hand! I promptly offered him a job as a trader, and I meant it.

So dedicate a portion of your mind to be a watchdog over your behavior. Listen to the "little voices" in your head and to the actual words you say to yourself and

key, in to those which try to blame bad results and pain on outside forces. What you are doing in these moments is trying to change reality to meet the content of your mind, rather than fixing the content of your mind to accurately perceive reality. This process is called rationalization, the most dangerous and confusing method of avoiding pain. Rationalization is dangerous and confusing because it is always shrouded by a semblance of logic.

[start] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [ 58 ] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72]