Blind spots are areas, biases and beliefs that we are unaware of; and they occur in many forms. There are several types, from ones that affect your vision to those that affect relationships and even trading habits. But in this article we are going to focus on 3 ways to reduce blind spots in your trading to help trade better and improve your results.
A physiological blind spot is a blind spot in your eye that obscures your visual field. These are caused by a lack of light-detecting photoreceptor cells on the optic disc of the retina where the optic nerve passes through the optic disc. Because there are no cells to detect light on the optic disc, then that part of the field of vision can’t be seen. The brain provides some compensation with the other eye so we don’t normally pick up the blind spot.
Here is an example:
Blind spot test
Demonstration of the blind spot
Instructions: Close one eye and focus the other on the appropriate letter (R for right or L for left). Place your eye a distance from the screen approximately equal to 3× the distance between the R and the L. Move your eye towards or away from the screen until you notice the other letter disappear. For example, close your right eye, look at the “L” with your left eye, and the “R” will disappear.(1)
Other blind spots are a defense mechanism which prevents the recognition of the way you really feel about someone or something; because if you were to actually identify these feelings they would be too painful to acknowledge. They also may be parts of your personality that are hidden in your unconscious. They could be irritating habits like being arrogant or stingy, or they may be deeper desires or fears that are too threatening to admit because they would diminish the view you have of yourself and thereby diminish your self-esteem.
Going further, just as there are blind spots in your eyes and blind spots in your personality there are also the visual blind spots that occur when you look in your side-view mirror at the road where there is a small area just at the left rear corner where another car would be invisible.
The above are just a few of the many “blind spots” that affect your ability to resonate with reality; that is, to think about, consider and see things as they are. With this in mind, there is another type of blind spot that I would like to point out. This is the “bias blind spot.” It is a cognitive bias that acknowledges the force of biases as judgement from others while failing to see the effect of biases in your own judgement. Consequently, this type of bias blind spot also extends to trading in that often traders may be unaware of that they tend to perceive others as biased, which is not necessarily a problem until we note the fact that this same individual perceives themselves as being accurate and un-biased. This type of blind spot can severely disrupt your trading because it deters you from accurately identifying your issues; those things that are either causing you to violate rules or to fail to keep trading commitments. And, on another note, people who are high in bias blind spots are more likely to ignore the advice of experts and are less likely to benefit from training geared to reduce their commission of other biases. Does this sound familiar? That is, do the instructors and instructions seem to continue to allude you and you can’t seem to “get it” or to “turn-the-corner?”
So, what are some of the ways that you can become aware of and alleviate your blind spots?
- Through appreciative inquiry and a gentle mindfulness of what you are doing and why you are doing it; ask yourself as calmly and kindly as you can:
- What am I afraid of in my trading?
- What is the one thing about my trading that I least want to accept?
- If I knew what my three greatest issues were, what would they be?
- After deriving answers from honest contemplation, let it soak in for a while. Then, use trusted close friends and fellow traders to give you valuable feedback to help you “see” what here-to-fore has been out of your awareness.
- Be thankful and open to truthful, honest and sometimes “painful but growth oriented feedback” without judgement; just begin to observe yourself more closely fortified with this new information. It will not be a quick process but it will lead to, if embraced fully and openly, a more authentic and grounded self that is better able to resonate with reality while in the trade process.
There you have them, 3 ways to reduce blind spots in your trading and how to be aware of them. Your trading is a serious endeavor because you are putting your hard earned capital at risk and it is critical that you provide yourself with every edge possible in the trader trenches. Just as you wouldn’t drive with blinders on, it is just as important not to trade that way. Flush out, address and alleviate your trading blind spots and support yourself in trading with a laser precision on what matters most.
Written by Dr. Woody Johnson, Online Trading Academy Instructor. Dr. M. Woodruff Johnson has actively and successfully traded stock options, forex and futures since 2000. He is the former Executive Director of the Kaiser Permanente, Watts Counseling and Learning Center. He holds certifications in Accelerated Learning, Neurosensory Development and hypnotherapy, and he is a Certified NLP Master Practitioner. Dr. Woody is also an Associate Professor and teaches graduate psychology courses at Pacific Oaks College and Ryokan College. He has provided clinical staff services in hospitals and community clinics as well. He has a passion for helping others to achieve their goals and get the results in trading and life that they desire. Dr. Woody has been using mind/body healing techniques both professionally and personally with much success for many years. He is the author of “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.”