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How To Begin Your Trading With The End In Mind

I just got off the phone with a delightful couple, Jeffrey and Felicia. I was asked if I would speak to them briefly because Jeffrey, the trader of the couple, had been consistently losing money for months. As they were trading with the last of their retirement, it was now imperative that they do something differently to begin getting the results that they wanted. After chatting for a while, I asked Jeffrey why he traded. In other words, I was asking whether or not he had a “compelling reason” to trade. There are droves of traders out there who when asked would say… “I want to make a lot of money.” This seems so obvious to so many, but the cold water truth is that money is a poor “reason” to trade…and it’s a poor motivator. Studies have shown that with job performance as with most other performance based behaviors, money “as a motivator” begins to wane quickly. Real sustained motivation is tied to things like quality of environment along with sincere recognition. Additionally, motivation intensifies when tied to things that matter most in their lives; to be more specific, intrinsic rewards that leave you feeling love, security, and fulfilled. Well, back to my story, Jeffrey did have a compelling reason; a point for him, but it was framed in statements like, “… I don’t want to live where I’m living anymore.” And, “I don’t want to be stuck doing things I don’t want to do.” And, “I don’t want my wife to have to work when she doesn’t want to.” If you’ll notice, these statements all have one thing in common; they are all based upon what he/they want to get away from not what and how they would like to experience reality. In other words as Stephen Covey has said, you want to “…Begin with the end in mind.”

Paying attention and placing focus on what you don’t want as opposed to what you want is to envision and therefore attract to you the exact experience that you don’t want. What is much more powerful is to write down in detail what you want to experience (at the end of your effort) and focus your intention and attention around and on that. This is also called a Results Orientation. Results orientation is about envisioning what you really want as if you stepped into the future and got it. This is towards thinking moving proactively towards what you want by beginning with the end in mind. For instance, moving to a new house because you found that perfect one you wanted; moving to a new job because you loved the opportunity; or identifying what you want in a broker and finding those features in one and making the move. Another is exercising to be fit, and reducing stress because you enjoy feeling relaxed and focused, or cleaning the garage because you truly enjoy having storage space and being organized. Consider the difference.

  • I want to be in good health versus I don’t want to be poor health
  • I want to be strong and physically fit versus I don’t want to be weak and run-down
  • I want a clean and organized garage versus I don’t want a dirty and cluttered garage
  • I want to be in control of my emotions when I trade versus I don’t want to be out-of-control and full of fear and greed when I trade
  • I want to exercise good money management versus I don’t want to mismanage my trades
  • I want to enjoy greater happiness and centeredness in my life versus I don’t want to be unhappy and fragmented in my life

Moving toward a goal creates focus by increasing the energy around the desired condition; your energy flows where your attention goes. Consider the statement: “Don’t think about an elephant!” For most people, this suggestion is impossible to follow because you must access an internal picture of the elephant in order to “not” think of it. Additionally, your subconscious mind has difficulty recognizing negatives. When you tell yourself not to worry or not to make a mistake you must actually access “worry” and “mistakes” to negate them; you are actually programming yourself to do just that. However, if you program yourself to think about being calm or getting things right, you are dramatically increasing the chances that this is how you will be.

Achievers, especially sports figures or other physical performance oriented individuals have mastered self-programming. They know if they are on the tee or the green and they let their thoughts wander to “not” choking, that is exactly what will happen. They know if they start worrying about hitting the ball out of the court that is what they are programming themselves to do. Even if the bulk of their thinking is positive, they know a fleeting negative thought can make the difference between winning the point and losing it. They have modeled themselves on excellence.

How often have you said to yourself, “I mustn’t do that” only to find yourself doing it? Jeffrey, in a personal conversation, told himself when the price action is accelerating on volume to be careful and breathe when he wants to enter and “Don’t enter until the candle closes.” Well, the very next time he gets into that situation, what do you think he will do? He enters as soon as he sees the candle beginning to blast off and gets filled at the top only to see it decline way back down right after he enters.

Results-oriented-thinking is about identifying what galvanizes your focus and your passion. It is about creating a sensory-rich vision around which you can build the fire of desire for what makes your heart sing; in other words, identifying that which you “really want.” Results oriented thinking is beginning with the end in mind.

Trading is a purely mental game, and if you don’t fully recognize and appreciate that, you are tossing your fate to serendipity.

Happy Trading.


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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