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The Road to Self-Discovery and the Path To Success
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The Road to Self-Discovery and the Path To Success

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The Road to Self-Discovery and the Path To Success

Along with filling my tires with air and my tank with gas, I always wash my car before embarking on a road trip. Not only is a clean machine more pleasing to the eyes, but a clean windshield is more transparent to the eyes. This pristine condition however, is about as ephemeral as that freshly filled tank of gas. Between the smoke and dirt, to pollution and oil, it is amazing how quickly, dirt and gunk can collect on a clear windshield and morph it into an opaque sheet of glass. Even after, I generously apply my spritzers, I cannot not attain the level of transparency I had achieved at the car wash.

Just like car windows, we go through life, and as we progress, we all collect some level of gunk on our souls and subconscious minds. This gunk consists of misinformation, prejudices, conflict, trauma, and myriad other experiences, that form negative layers on our psyches. These layers form an opaque film, that prevents us from seeing the world in the way it truly exists. And being unable to see reality clearly, will severely limit one from fulfilling their true potential.

Enveloping us, this obscuration and its destructive effects, are often exposed and magnified when trading. Negative habits and emotions cause more trading losses, than misreading a chart or misinterpreting market fundamentals. It is often said that the eyes are the window to the soul, but anyone who has ever traded, knows that trading can expose one's weaknesses, and open up a Pandora's box of vulnerabilities, that are there for all to see and quantify.

The only way traders are able to shed this fabric of filth is through self-discovery. You can read as many books on trading as you desire, and create new indicators and ways of looking at, and analyzing the market, but if you don’t look at, and analyze yourself first, it will be difficult to find success.

The road to self-discovery inevitably leads to the path to success, but you must first be able to chip away at the layer that obscures you vision and clouds your view of the road. By determining and eliminating your weaknesses, negative habits, and negative emotions, you will then be able to trade with a clear head and clear vision.

One of the reasons I enjoy writing, is that allows me to express my feelings and emotions, and vent my frustrations in a positive way. It not only also forces me to think about what is happening around me, but also what’s happening within me. It is my path to self-improvement, and it helps provide me with guidance and direction throughout my life, and my trading.

In his book The Daily Trading Coach, Dr. Brett Steenbarger writes about the importance of keeping a cognitive or psychological journal, along with an educational and trading journal. He place equal importance on all three categories, but recommends beginning with the educational, following with the trading, and progressing to the psychological.

The idea is to use the cognitive journal to keep a real time record of what you're thinking and feeling while you are trading, so that you can become a better self-observer. This helps you to identify problems as the occur, so that you can keep them from affecting your trading.

His suggested progression is logical because perfecting the psychological skill is the most difficult one to achieve. Traders not only have to learn what do correctly, but have to unlearn bad habits, and deeply embedded negative emotions.

The sooner in the day they begin to assess their emotional status, the better. Therefore, best practice calls for writing in your journal, first thing in the morning. This initiates the process of clearing your mind for the remainder of the day, and better prepares you for the trading session.

Acquiring the knowledge of trading mechanics, tactics, strategies, and risk management is relatively easy and a finite process. Developing the mental skills of focus, discipline, objectivity, and self- confidence is much more demanding. In fact, it’s the one area of trading performance that is a continuous learning experience, and for some a continuous struggle.

For the most part, electronic traders are all participating on a level playing field. They all have access to powerful computers, large band-with, the same front ends and pipes, and resources. The traders that rise to the top, however, are the ones that have achieved mental mastery along with trading expertise. They have found a way to clean that gunk off the window, and obtain a clear view of life, the markets, and themselves.

Last edited by tigertrader; August 22nd, 2010 at 10:22 AM.
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