Trading is tough. 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 been faced with a choice to either go to the left and violate a rule thereby doing something that is not in your best interest; or go the right and bring 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 definition of persistence is basically never giving up. Perseverance is never giving in. Roz Savage knows something about never giving up and never giving in. She holds four world records for ocean rowing, including the first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. She has rowed over 15,000 miles, taken around 5 million oar strokes and spent cumulatively over 500 days of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. In 2010 she was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic.
Some people do not allow obstacles, setbacks or hardships to get in their way keep them from what they want. Don Jackson is a black man who was dyslexic in the late 40’s and 50’s at a time when most professionals didn’t know what that was. He grew up labeled as retarded in special school systems. But, Don knew that he was not retarded, he had a light emanating from his Spirit into which he plugged his heart and decided that he too wanted to learn. When he decided to go to college everyone tried to discourage him, thinking that they were saving him from major disappointments and pain. But Don never gave up. Even though it was very difficult because of his disability, he did well. He passed his remedial studies and was admitted into college whereupon he not only graduated, but today is a Ph.D. in education and works with young people whom society has given up on. He had persistence and perseverance … never gave up and never gave in; he would not allow anything to keep him from his burning goal. He never lost sight of his vision. He created solutions to his problems.
There are 5 critical steps to achieve strong levels of persistence and perseverance:
- Have a trading purpose and a vision of that purpose. Rekindle the vision of your purpose every day as it will connect to the passionate emotion that sustains you. It reminds you daily of the rewards and benefits of the goal. If you haven’t identified your purpose for trading you’ll want to take care of this right away. Your purpose is the starting point for successful trading. It is where you connect the “what-matters-most” of your life to the “what-matters-most” in the trade. It is how you infuse a passion for remaining on task to the process of your trading. The visualized purpose is the vehicle that drives you like a turbo jet towards your trading goals.
- The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. You must firmly anchor the attitude by using this heartfelt statement as your own; “I can achieve anything I set my heart and mind to, nothing is impossible for me to achieve if I want it badly enough and am willing to pay the price; for no matter how much work is involved, or how long it takes or how difficult it is, I can and will achieve.” This belief in self is imperative to remaining focused.
- Remember to view setbacks, losses and failures as learning opportunities – those things that hurt, instruct. All great achievers have made innumerable mistakes and have failed, that is what provided the “experience” and the “education” that actualized achievement. This is necessary to manifest your trading vision.
- Always increase your market knowledge by identifying the mechanics that will help you to form a foundation in the markets that you have chosen to trade. This can also be termed “a results orientation.” Experiment with different approaches, perspectives and paths.
- Transform what you do into fun. Make what you have to do, into something that you want to do. Attaining your life goal shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice because it is what you want more than anything for you and your family. As you gain more “process mastery” in your trading you will increase the “joy” of doing it well.
Now, let’s look at five ways to deal with setbacks:
- Don’t aim to avoid a handicap, such as starting trading without capital or wanting to understand a new market despite time constraints. If you have a challenge study it from all angles and seek to identify a creative solution; otherwise a tiny toy wrench can grow into a huge iron monkey wrench stopping your progress cold.
- Don’t blame others for your problems. Successful trading requires personal accountability and self-limits. Be honest with yourself. Use your mentors and, as well you can, be your own mentor by pretending that someone has come to you for advice on that very trading issue. How would you answer them?
- Continue to strive and strengthen your qualities of self-discipline. You will not make it as a trader if you can’t keep your commitments. Setbacks that are caused by commitment implosion often can cause weaknesses in special areas, turn the weakness into strength. Be your own heaviest critic but don’t beat yourself up – in other words, you are not a failure, you had a learning experience.
- Every setback or loss has a silver lining or seed of opportunity. Find it and use it. It may involve a new strategy, but you are getting there anyway.
- Take the attitude that every issue has a solution. A problem is only a problem if you think you can’t, and therefore you won’t, solve it. As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right.”
The items above are some of the ways to strengthen your persistence and perseverance. As you strengthen your ability 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.”