Are you allowing the “noise” to distract you when you are about to get in or you are already in a trade? Noise can be the news, the TV, the temperature in your office, your dog Fido that keeps coming into your office, the charts or your spouse asking you a question. Noise is anything that is in that moment secondary to your trading; in other words, something that is taking your mind away from where it should be, i.e., focused only on the things that are most important to your trade. Those things for the most part are your plan, your rules and the price action. One of the ways to remain focused is to use a process of “mindfulness.” It is a process of that keeps your purpose firmly on your dashboard and your intentions for the trade in line with your attention.
Mindfulness in your trading, that is, to be in the moment for the moment, fully available, fully present and in the NOW is crucial to doing what it takes to be consistently successful. Some people are focused on the past. They are inundated by the residue of what has already transpired and ruminate on past trades. It is very difficult for them to move on. On the other hand, there are many traders who are constantly thinking about what might happen and are focused intently on the future. They ask what will be for dinner as they are eating the mid-day meal. The only moment that truly matters is the one that you are experiencing now. The past is important, but you can only learn from it after you have experienced it, you can never return. It is important to learn from it, accept the reality and move on. By the same token, if you are so focused on the future to the exclusion of what is taking place you are reducing the percentage of attention that is available to stay on purpose and on task with the current trade. You only have 100% of attention to expend on any situation or trade. If your thoughts are caught up in the past or the future that percentage available for the trade can be significantly compromised. The present moment is not only the only moment in which you can live; it is critical to your ability to focus with laser precision on the demands of the current trade. If you are distracted by what just happened last trade, last week or last month it can also lead to distorted judgment regarding what is in the charts and relevant data.
Another point to be considered is that your internal resources, for instance, data processing, analysis, memory, etc., are not fully available to you when your attention is not 100%, you are not in the moment. Trading is a very difficult undertaking. When you are in a trade with every tick of the market you are either gaining or losing and every weakness, blemish or character flaw will be called out and severely tested as a result of the thoughts and emotions that are activated. Of course the market is not doing this, you are doing it to yourself. Your beliefs are triggered and subsequent fear and greed come into play. And, to be successful you’ll want to be aligned in body, mind and emotions in order to go in the same trading direction and for the same trading goals. Having 100% of your attention focused on what matters most cannot be overly emphasized. Mindfulness is a method of ensuring that you are fiercely focused and ready to make choices and decisions that get you a greater amount of the results that you want. It is difficult at best to do what is in your best interest when your internal data is destructively negative and your emotions are running amok. When your thoughts are clear, proactive and positive, and when your emotions are relaxed, confident and stable, you are in a much better position to plan your trade and follow-through with your commitments.
Mindfulness can be achieved by taking deep breaths, stopping to become aware of your internal data by monitoring your thoughts and reframing any thought that is negative to one that is positive. Reframing is a tool that changes the original context or content frame of a thought where the emotional relationship is negative and consequently disruptive to your ability to remain on course. For example, take the idea of loss. The frame for most traders is that it means failure, rejection and the emotional relationship is painful. Now “reframe” the idea of loss by changing the context or content frame as in, “losses are only lessons” or “every loss gets me closer to a big win” or “failure is only feedback.” Then the meaning has changed from negative to positive or neutral at worst and the emotional relationship between you and loss has changed. In this instance you are much less likely to do something that is not in the interests of your highest and best trader. When you are in the now and mindful of what you are doing you can then remain on task and on purpose; you can maintain your A-Game at the platform and get yourself much closer to the results that you want.
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.”