“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is courage to continue that counts.” Sir Winston Churchill
Let me start by saying that it is true that everything is not for everybody. Some people are so challenged by learned limitations and limiting beliefs that it is all but impossible to achieve consistent success in trading. However, the numbers of these individuals are probably much lower than you think. Of course, there are those that are simply unwilling or unable to pay the cost of trading triumph which is considerable and much more than most people realize; for instance, the hundreds if not thousands of hours of diligent and often painstaking attention to learning and mastering strategies. All that said, the vast majority of individuals on the planet possess what it takes to train for and run this marathon called trading if they would only stay the course. I have had numerous students over the years lament about their losses and frustrations related to trading while threatening to quit. Unbeknownst to many of them, this capitulation to frustration comes just before they would have turned the corner and began to exhibit consistency in their trading results. The commitment to perseverance is a critical component of the trading process.
Trading is a tough endeavor. It challenges your character flaws, personal issues and weaknesses at every turn. It is for this reason that persistence and perseverance are crucial to your ability to not only bring your A-Game to the trading platform but to sustain it over the long haul. How often have you found yourself at a “fork-in-the-road” of your trading and faced with a choice to either go to the left and violate a rule or go the right and engage your highest and best trader to focus attention on what-matters-most. Tapping into this type of energy is what can make a distinct difference in following through with your plan and your rules. The resolve to continue in the face of mounting obstacles is the ability to persist. By not giving up and quitting you are demonstrating perseverance; in other words to endure the onslaught.
Below are a number of methods that will support your ability to persist and persevere.
- Identify your “compelling reason” or purpose for trading. This is where you connect the what-matters-most in your life to the what-matters-most in the trade. Doing this will tie your life’s passion (family, friends, a community cause) to the trading process and support you with the energy of that passion when you most need it at the fork-in-the-road.
Engender a strong belief in yourself and your abilities. Repeat over and over affirmative statements that embody such a belief. For example: “I can do this, I have achieved difficult goals in the past and I can do it again; nothing is impossible to accomplish if I want it badly enough.”
- Remember that successful traders are not born they are developed; and all great traders have made countless mistakes along the way. The difference between achievers and those who only wish but never do is that achievers learn from each failure using the data as stepping stones on the path to realizing their goals.
- Cultivate curiosity. Be willing to get outside of your comfort zone and use trial-and-error approaches by which you will compile invaluable information. Experiment in your process (for instance with really small share sizes). In this way you will dramatically increase the data (it’s all about the data) regarding what works and doesn’t work. Curiosity is one of the most powerful of human emotions. It can motivate beyond the anxiety, fear and other negative emotions that drive ineffective behaviors like rule violations and breaking commitments.
- Develop joy in doing the “right thing” in your trading. When you have learned something well by developing the expertise that 10,000 hours of practice will create, you have raised your standards to reflect excellence in implementation and execution. Doing anything with this level of expertise is invigorating and highly joyful. It is no different with trading. At this point your pleasure is derived from doing it “well”.
- In conclusion, never give up and never give in. In other words, don’t curse the darkness of your trades; the light switch could be right next to your hand.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
As you strengthen your ability to “go the distance,” to never give up and never give in, you will come closer, step-by-step, to achieving the goal of becoming a consistently successful trader.
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.”