Saturday, 3 July 2010

Under the Spotlight

I have been thinking about why i seem to find accepting losses difficult, and why my results are never as good as I think they should be. I have realised that I am quite critical of myself. For example, today someone stopped me and asked for directions. I didnt really do a good job of explaining, and after they had left I had lots of negative thoughts going through my head. "You're useless", " I bet he thought you were a right twat", "You cant even explain simple directions" etc etc. I think this happens with most of my activities of daily life. Every thought and action is under an intense scrutiny, and they hardly ever measure up to expectation. Failing, or not being good enough ( or not as good as someone else), is not an option for me. But failing, not being good enough, making mistakes, doing stupid things, are going to be a part of everyones every day life, so this leaves me in a cycle of striving and trying, failing, feeling awful, worrying about not succeeding, and then trying again. So each loss, each failure is a reinforcement of "Youre not good enough", and the feelings associated with that. Of course, its going to be hard to do actions that have a chance of "failing", and if a loss in trading is seen as failure then I am not going to be keen to put myself in situations where I end up feeling like crap.
I have a good idea where all these feelings came from, but how do I go about getting a better attitude, other than years of therapy? I was looking at some websites for sports psychology, and one of them had 5 statements that rang true with me (link)

The website does remind me of certain e-books trying to sell betting systems, but the 5 statements are definitely things I need to work on. How much is good enough? Would I be satisfied with £50 a day? £100 a day? Would I finally feel a sense of worth if I was earning more than AH? I should focus on the positive things, that I have been in profit for 9 of the last 10 months( and the 1 losing month was a very small amount), which is more than a lot of traders achieve. I can obviously trade, maybe I should just relax a bit and enjoy the ride.


  1. You believe things which are not true but act as though they are.

    How much do you think this holds back your development?

    It is sometimes useful to believe something which is not true but as I read through many trading blogs, I find only rare instances of this in exchange trading.

    For most people, differentiating between true and untrue beliefs is impossible (unless they learn how to) And this generally creates a ceiling on all their achievements.

    You think the person you gave directions to thought badly of you for the way you explained them. Now, this must serve some unconscious purpose for you to think this. This is a belief which you don't know to be true but you are acting/thinking as though it is.

    My little girl is naughty and is told off and left in no uncertain terms her Daddy is cross with her. - Later she tells me she is stupid because she can't draw a good cat, I tell her she isn't and she starts crying and says oh yes she is!

    I give her a cuddle and a kiss, practise some cats and I build up her self esteem etc. she feels good.

    But... I am creating a problem for her. At this age she is forming core beliefs to be taken in to adulthood. You can probably guess what some might be and how they will form her character etc. As her Dad my objective is to help her form empowering beliefs not limiting ones.

    I know in the popular book by Mark Douglas 'Trading in the Zone' he talks about Beliefs , but I imagine many readers who are not familiar with the term in its wider sense, will miss out on what I believe to be the strongest message of the book.

    I know you realise some of this already.

    So where to start?

    Several options actually but the main point is to start to become aware of your beliefs, how and where they were formed and/or imposed upon you and by whom.

    Everything you do is as a result of something you believe. You can change and remove any belief - positive ones and negative ones. Your beliefs have emotional content and this is often a barrier to changing or removing them because it usually requires revisiting the emotional events where they were seeded.

    Changing limiting beliefs will open up your life again.


  2. Quinny makes some good points , it's almost as if you want to fail to proove deep rooted beliefs in yourself. You'll continually repeat mistakes that you know won't work like laying the bombers bets etc to reinforce that "told you I'd fail" mindset.

    You need to take a long hard look at why you're even trading as it appears you've obviously some other income to support you and don't need the money which means you treat it more of a social hobby rather than a serious means of making a living. There's nothing wrong with part time/hobby trading but it's not an ideal situation because most people want some excitement out of their hobbys and to trade efficiently you bascially have to take all that fun of the gamble out of it and in reality it's very boring when you 'crack' it.

    I'd also cut back on the forum/social side of things whilst racings on if you want to take it seriously. Forums etc are a real bonus to chat to other traders discuss ideas etc as few outside trading have any idea of what we do or even care. But how you, chuck and ST can concentrate on racing and continually chat at the same time is beyond me. Sure chat whilst you've no orders in the market but it's not a surprise most full timers will spend their efforts concentrating on the markets rather than socialising.

    I know all this is coming across as negative but if you're trading for the 'crack' it's just not going to work and you might be better off punting for fun, if you want to trade for a living you've got to start taking it a lot more seriously and take some hard decisions. Otherwise you just end up going in vicious circles much like some fat lass who knows she's fat so she may as well eat more cos she's already fat. Nothing's going to happen overnight but you need to start making those small steps in the right direction if you want to seriously make it at trading.

  3. Thanks guys.

    Quinny, you make a lot of sense. I need to become aware when and how the negative thoughts occur. They are so deep seated and all pervasive in my life that this will be very difficult, but it will be the first step to a more positive outlook.

    Anon, thanks for your comments. I have wondered whether I am somehow subconsciously sabotaging myself, and the fact that you have brought this up as well makes it a real possibility. I am not sure how to go about even finding out whether its true, never mind how to stop myself from doing it, maybe only when I sort out the problems that quinny highlights will I be able to break out of the vicious circle.

    I do use the chat a lot, but never when I have trades in place, and generally dont even look at it from 5 mins to go, till I have moved to the next market.

    I also agree that maybe my motivation isnt as good as it should be. My main aim of trading is to be able to earn a living, but if I achieve this, then certain things will change, and maybe subconsciously I dont want that to happen, and am actually happy drifting along. I know that some people have big dreams, eg, to buy a house, or just to be "rich", but im not sure how much I want that, there doesnt seem to be anything for me to aim for, other than make enough to support myself. Trading seemed ideal when I first heard about it. You work a couple of hours a day, and thats it. I have found that its not like that at all.
    I have proved that I can trade( 9 out of last 10 months in profit or break even), but am constantly limiting myself, and stopping myself from achieving, so I need to find out why. As you say, if I want to do it for a living, I need to change my mindset. Otherwise, its never going to be more than a hobby that makes me pocket money, like poker does.

  4. Neil,
    I do keep coming back to the blog and no updates for a couple of weeks,i do hope you havnt packed it in,best blog out there as i keep telling you!!

  5. nope, havent packed it in yet, just not had much to talk about, will do a short post later probably

  6. Sad to see the blog come to an end

  7. hey its not coming to and end!! honestly!!

    I havent updated it for a while, but am still here, still trading.