“Win or lose, everybody gets what they want out of the market. Some people seem to like to lose, so they win by losing” – Ed Seykota
Do you know what you want out of the markets?
Yes, I know people trade for money, but that is far from the only reason.
Maybe you like the thrill of trading, or maybe you like to be able to brag to your friends about your wins. Maybe you like them to feel sorry for when you have a big loss. Maybe you enjoy “understanding the market”, and so this is more important than making money to you.
The problem with this is that these motivations can interfere heavily with your trading activities.
If you subconsciously want excitement, then that is what you will get from the markets rather than profits. If you want people to feel sorry for you, then you will manifest losses. If you want to be right, you will end up feeling justified, without filling your pockets. If you truly and deeply want to win, then you will.
Ed Seykota tells the story of a trader who would consistently turn his 10K account into a quarter of a million, and lose it all like clockwork. His personality would change at a certain level of profit, and he could not help but lose it. He wanted to be the martyr in front of his friends, more than he wanted wealth.
Ultimately, it is your psychology that drives your trading. The more you solve any psychological problems that trading brings out of you (and the better you know yourself to begin with), the better your trading will be. Trading does not cause your problems, it simply a very clear window into your soul.
The market won’t let your problems hide.
Know thy self
“If people look deeply into their trading patterns, they find that, on balance, including all their goals, they are really getting what they want, even though they may not understand it or want to admit it”. – Ed Seykota
Socrates said: “Know thy self”.
I am an ex-army officer, and have a passion for leadership. I even have a master’s in it. What I find interesting is that I spent the majority of my master’s learning to lead myself, rather than learning to lead others. Like Socrates said, it’s all about self-knowledge.
If you don’t know what motivates you, how do you motivate others?
Leaders create their own little utopia in the organisations they lead, just like traders manifest what they want from the markets. (Think about leaders you have had, and the traders you know personally, and you will see this is very true.)
Like leadership, trading is a journey into the core of the self.
It’s not about techniques – though you will learn those too – it’s about your deepest motivations, desires and emotions.
It’s critical for your trading success that you are self-aware about what you truly want. Start to notice your tendencies and your hang-ups, and then work out what is driving you to act that way. For example, some people don’t feel worthy, and so they self-destruct after a good run. Are you trading the way you are to fulfil some unconscious script?
The hard work begins
If you come across negative behavioural patterns, that is where the hard work begins. You need to release them, and change them to be more productive. This can be very difficult if your pattern is emotionally charged.
Meditation can help, as can physical release like yoga or breathing techniques. Writing down your thoughts or verbalizing them can work too, and there are plenty of other techniques if you look hard enough.
The ball is very much in your court on this one.
About the Author
Sam Eder is a currency trader and author of the Definitive Guide to Developing a Winning Forex Trading System and the Advanced Forex Course for Smart Traders. He is a part owner of Forex Signal Provider fxrenew.com (You can get a free trial). If you like Sam’s writing you can subscribe to his newsletter for free.