“It just made good sense!” He heard himself say emphatically. The trading classes Ken had taken were a sound investment giving him the market knowledge he needed to identify prudent supply and demand zone strategies. Also, Ken had realized early on the importance of having a macro trade plan. He saw this as his “road map,” or big picture for taking him in the direction toward getting consistent results. Additionally, he had a micro trade plan for each of his trades, which outlined his entry, target, stop and exit on the ES E-mini, his Futures index of choice. Ken ensured that he not only had a money management strategy detailing the percentage of his trading account that he was willing to lose in any one trade, but as well, his determined daily loss limit which he followed like a bloodhound on the fresh tracks of a fox. Add to that, Ken was meticulous at sizing his trades appropriate to his portfolio. He knew that if he were to be consistently successful it was imperative for him to plan his trades, trade his plans, follow all of his rules and keep his commitments. But, he had another powerful tool in his belt that he had recently learned, and he found it quite helpful in remaining on task. It was in fact what his “good sense” comment referenced at the top of the paragraph…creative visualization (the picture in your head). Right away Ken began to realize a difference in his ability to remain focused on his aims, objectives and goals with more positive emotional intensity. He also noticed that when he became especially challenged by emotionally negative energy that visualization helped with this as well. What was really exciting was that the more he remained able to specifically and clearly see, hear, feel, smell and taste his visions with a healthy dose of belief, and the more he practiced them – usually a number of times per day – the stronger he became and the more impressive the results.
Actually, Ken was using a specific type of visualization process called Sensory Rich Vision. This procedure calls for the individual to begin with a “compelling reason” or purpose for trading or any other goal-oriented endeavor. The purpose needed to be something that truly resonated in his heart space as important to his life; for example family, community, and/or the achievement of a life-long endeavor. Or, in the case of a smaller goal, an articulated motive: “the why.” Ken learned that identifying a strong purpose for the venture connected the desired outcome to an inner passionate intensity which provided loads of energy. After identifying the purpose, Ken was told to list all of the rewards and benefits to reaching the target using the purpose and goal(s) as a guide. Once the list was completed then he was to write a sensory rich story describing what it would look, sound and feel like in his body and his emotions, along with any smells or tastes … 2 or 3 brief paragraphs, no more than a page. Doing this he was told, and later experienced, would connect him each and every time he read it to the emotional intensity of how it feels to be in the moment of the achievement. The first time Ken read what he wrote about his family, he said it sent chills down his spine and left a palpable emotional swelling in his chest. And, he said, it happened each and every time he read it. Here is an excerpt of what Ken wrote:
Purpose for Trading:
To enjoy a full and beautiful quality of life for myself, and my family.
To provide comfort and opportunity to my family & friends.
To be a conduit for growth in my community through volunteer service.
To live in a spacious house on the beach.
Sensory Rich Vision
I have just left another successful day of trading in my home office where I have followed my plans and kept my commitments to all of my rules. As I walk down the hallway of my crème colored, double decked, airy & natural light infused home overlooking the ocean, I take a deep breath as I am struck by the beauty of the white-water views through the floor-to-ceiling windows, as the sun shimmers on the azure blue waves with sailboats skimming across the horizon. Just as I turn the corner I almost run into my giggling and laughing children as they yell “daddy” and jump into my outstretched arms. They each squeeze, kiss and hug me as their little arms encircle my neck and legs all at the same time.
After playing a fun game with them, I head off to a board meeting of one of the non-profit organizations for which I volunteer. I drive to the meeting in my extremely comfortable SC 460 with the top down as the sun drenches my skin on this warm and balmy day. Our organization has helped so many children and families have a better life. Today we are reviewing pictures of some of those families…their faces are broad with toothy smiles and bright loving eyes. We are making a difference.
But, that wasn’t all. Now that Ken had a sensory rich description he was instructed to record it on his computer using the computer’s already installed movie-maker program or a free software tool called “Audacity.” He was to practice reading it over and over with great enthusiasm; then, when he could read it seamlessly, to record it, burning it to a CD to be used in the morning, afternoon, and before going to bed. Moving forward in this fashion would provide him a powerful emotional charge with each listen. It would also lend itself to a commanding dream life as it was used every night just before he fell off to sleep…what a way to seed your mind before turning in, he was told.
If you have a goal, any goal, be deliberate in how you think about it. Thoughts are things and they create the beginnings of getting any result. The thought process includes not only what you’re telling yourself, but also the pictures that those thoughts summon. Ken learned that when you visualize either positively or negatively and believe, the brain can’t distinguish the vision from reality because the same neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are employed in the vision as when you are physically interacting with the environment. Some people visualize very well, but apply it to doom and gloom scenarios thereby ensuring the negative outcome. Ken has put to use an enormously effective tool for not only catapulting him to achievement by harnessing his passion and using it deliberately, but also for when he is challenged by negative emotions that prompt him with urges to violate his rules and leave his plan. The sensory rich vision reminds him why he “must” maintain his commitment to excellence, and why he must exhibit courage in the face of his challenge, and why he must sustain his A-Game no matter what. Your A-Game is of critical importance to getting the trading results that you want, and you must hone and sharpen your mental and emotional tools to get and keep that A-Game active when in front of your platform. Creative visualization is a potent way to keep you focused with laser precision on what matters most in the trade… and in your life.
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.”