Jeremy came to me seeking help with emotional control. Although a solid trader, he sometimes found himself trading his emotions rather than the market. Analysis of his trading results indicated he could do better, perhaps much better… Over a relatively brief period, Jeremy learned the things needed to access the ‘zone’ just like athletes. Learning to apply these skills helped him improve his bottom line as he reached a new level in his trading.
What exactly do elite athletes know about getting in the zone? What exactly is the zone anyway and can it help traders? Can traders actually learn to get into the zone?
Athletes have described the zone in various ways. All view it as a certain state that facilitates and often helps elevate their play. Some have said there is an intense concentration to the task-at-hand. Others describe it as a merging of actions and responses with acute clarity and awareness. And still others say being in the zone is akin to losing self-conscious thoughts which are ordinarily disparaging and can adversely affect performance. Being in the zone is all of these things. It’s a state of optimal performance.
Sport and performance psychologists have learned much about this unique state and how to access it. Athletes work closely with sport psychologists on many aspects of their sport, including developing the ability to enter the zone. Trading is a performance activity just like sport, only without the athletic component. Like athletes, traders can benefit by learning how to enter the zone.
Traders can learn to increase awareness and trade with their mind-in-the-moment. It requires the ability to notice both market action and internal processes in a nonjudgmental manner. An acceptance and a willingness to experience the internal processes on the part of the trader are also necessary. This includes the sometimes negative thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that can be uncomfortable but are a natural part of being human and that we all have.
Here’s the key point: Rather than get caught up in that negative internal state or try to suppress and control it, make the commitment to attend to the trading task-at-hand, not to internal pressures you may be experiencing. It is certainly easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible. When we struggle with our emotions and the negative things the mind is telling us, we take ourselves right out of the zone. The way to enter and stay in the zone is to have the uncomfortable private experience if it shows up and keep your focus on what matters most in trading: what the market is telling you and sound trading behaviors.
Cutting-edge behavioral psychology has developed new, advanced methods which I use to assist traders in improving their performance