We just completed our annual Online Trading Academy International Conference in Irvine. It, as always, is an opportunity to renew relationships with co-workers and friends from around the world. We exchange ideas and experiences that are designed to identify things that are working, things that aren’t and creative ways to ensure that we are providing the best experience possible for our students. We are in community and it has been a truly transformative opportunity.
One of the reasons for these outcomes is human beings are unequivocal social beings; just like all of the social mammals across the planet. We are wired from birth to seek and sustain relationships and it is in our DNA. Across the spectrum from earliest times we have exhibited this tendency in our clans, tribes and families in order to survive as well as to thrive. Without social connections we could not have evolved in quite the we did, (becoming the smartest and most dominate species). Additionally, it is arguable that we might not survive at all without the nurturing and protective relationships that we form from our earliest moments as infants. We learn our initial notions of self-regulation from the relationship with mom and these lessons continue as we grow and mature.
Consider an innocent game of “peek-a-boo”, a popular pastime with moms and babies. I’m sure you know how it works; mom hides her face from baby for a moment and when she reappears with a big smile and sparkling eyes they both erupt in laughter. Actually, both mom and baby are in an exercise in co-regulation which most often is far beyond the conscious.
The way co-regulation works in this instance is when mom “disappears” from baby’s sight, for all baby knows she is gone forever, never to return. For the briefest of moments baby’s psychophysiological system has become activated. Her heart rate elevates and cortisol is pumped through her little body. For a split second she is exhibiting signs of fear. Then mom returns from behind her hands and with the laughter baby’s heart rate returns to a normal pattern; she went from sympathetic nervous system stimulation to parasympathetic nervous system stimulation and all is well.
This notion of co-regulation happens throughout our lives whenever we are in a difficult exchange with a friend, co-worker, employee or family member where an individual in the relationship dyad is self-aware enough to take a deep breath and reframe the moment while engaging the other to reduce his sympathetic nervous system activation and deescalate the exchange.
Now, you might be asking yourself; “what does this have to do with trading?” Well, quite a bit, even though we trade alone for the most part. Let’s look at an example.
Free Trading WorkshopHave you ever been in the midst of a trade and thought how supportive it would be to have someone – a fellow trader possibly – that you trusted, to call at just that moment when you’re about to careen off the trading cliff by violating a rule? Or, perhaps you have a trading buddy that trades the same asset class and has called you for help just as they ventured into the dark abyss of rule violations, and you calmly guided them back and in the direction of trading with their highest and best interests in mind. In either instance, whether you made or got the call, how did you feel?…supported, relieved, glad to be helped or of help? Either way, not only were your emotions buoyed by the connection, but both you and the buddy may have experienced a higher level of resolve to keep your commitments and maintain a fierce focus on what matters most in the next trade. This could be considered a “peak experience” where both of you felt a mood expansion; in other words, you felt a moment of reaching your full potential based upon a co-regulation of one another’s internal experience. This “peak experience” was originally described by Abraham Maslow as “moments of highest happiness and fulfillment” in his book “Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences”(1) This shift in psychophysiological state was brought about as a direct consequence of working with another and it happens quite often in a community of like-minded individuals who have forged a shared commitment to one another. Therein lays one of the gifts that community can bestow on those that dare to fully engage and be engaged by fellow like-minded and like-hearted individuals.
Having and being a part of a learning trading community or mastermind group can be a real trading power house. It fosters a common sense of direction, objectives and aims; and, it can be very helpful in supporting personal accountability. Community can also assist its members in forging a greater commitment to trade planning and following through with rules due to the team spirit and emotional bonding that takes place.
One way that this can happen is through the personal connections that are encouraged because they evoke a richer, more involved sense of selves. According to Oxford Dictionaries, community essentially means a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. The ideas of change and exchange and shared by all implied in the definition above, are potent precursors to individual and collective learning that are necessary to the evolution of peak performance trading. It creates cooperation and reliable interdependence which are building blocks of the type of synergy that can propel the growth of the community members. The community also holds opportunities for specific and valuable contributions from its members that further cement its value and again produces increased performance. When this happens, it also provides sustainability to the endeavor and elevates a shared vision of success for all based upon traders living up to their personal and collective commitments
Team effort work in trading, not just sports. Trading is a 90% mental game and if you have a caring, strong, effective and committed trading community behind you and you behind them, then you become more caring, strong, effective and committed.
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.”