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Are You Thriving or Just Surviving In Trading?

In this piece we are going to answer this question, are you thriving or surviving in trading? Some traders across the planet…no, actually, millions of traders across the planet are not fairing very well. They are imploding in trade after trade because they are unable to do what it takes to be consistently successful traders. They are failing to follow-through in some of the most fundamental ways, by lacking the discipline to stop violating trading rules and keep their promises. Regrettably, most of these traders will not last. On the other hand, there are a group of traders who are hanging on by the thinnest of margins and clutching their life-support vests as they barely navigate the mine fields of minutia that are their trading plans, and through sheer will power they are breaking even.

Unfortunately, consistent profit is eluding them. In other words, they are just getting by; they are surviving. This, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing. As pointed out above, the number of traders that are blowing up accounts on a regular basis is quite a bit higher; but when you are simply surviving there is little consolation in the fact that you are losing at a slightly lower rate than those who are washing out. Then there is the trader who, though trading for only a short time is getting extraordinary results. They have gone well beyond just surviving to trade another day and, in fact, are trading in an exemplary fashion by maintaining a fierce focus on what-matters-most, preparing their mindset to remain in the Now of the trade, executing the process solely and not emotionally investing in the outcome. They also have a stranglehold on the fact that markets are random and cannot be predicted.

What exactly is “surviving”? The Oxford Dictionary defines surviving as, “the ability to continue to exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship.” Actually, surviving can be a fine quality; that is, to be diligent despite the issues and challenges that abound in the trade; to never give up and maintain a scrappy attitude in the face of drawdowns. Being in a survival mode can provide you the time interval that you need to engage your trading plan and eventually take you from just surviving, to posting the trading results that you want on a consistent basis. So, let me be clear there is no shame in surviving.

However, what does this mean for you? Is that all that you’re doing? Are you simply hanging on while doing the same things over and over while expecting a different result? In such an instance, you are not truly helping yourself. Since trading is so personal and reliant upon individual skill sets and mind states, by all accounts you are the only thing standing between you and consistent trading success.

So, let’s take a closer look at what it means to “thrive” in the trade. The definition of thrive according to the Oxford Dictionary is to “grow or develop well or vigorously.” In other words, to thrive means you are taking advantage of every challenge and comfort zone compromise to go a little further, to learn a little more, to raise your performance standards a little higher.

Thriving means that you are continuously monitoring your mindset Tweet: Thriving means you are continuously monitoring your mindset. In order to flush out discordant thoughts and feelings so you are aligned in body, mind and emotions going in the same direction and for the same goals. It also means that you are, each day and in every way, searching for new ways to maximize your trading EQ (emotional intelligence –managing fear, greed and other debilitating negative emotions) and IQ (mental intelligence – managing errant negative thinking that eventually leads to bad behaviors) so that you remain on purpose, on task and on top of each step of your trading plan and execution. To thrive means that you are documenting all of the issues that emerge in your trading process and that you are deconstructing that documentation to identify patterns of thinking, feeling and doing that are presenting the roadblocks to consistent outcomes.


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.”


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