What is it that helps the market wizards maintain focus at these critical times in their trades? It is an unmitigated commitment to focus on their rules. These rules, along with other critical cogs in their trading machinery, are followed religiously. They are passionate first about doing what it takes to be consistently successful. They define success in the markets as a function of percentages over an extended period, not by how much money is made in any one trade. They develop and nurture a powerful desire to follow the successful protocol for getting the results that they want. When you want something with an intense desire, the true nature of your potential is realized through the fire in your passion. It is just a matter of finding and living the passion.
There is a myth associated with self-discipline which essentially states that self-discipline has to do with will power while saying, “I’m gonna make myself do it,” or biting the bullet. Does this sound familiar? Well, the problem lies in the fact that this notion about self-discipline taxes the system enormously and often leads to stress, burnout or illness. Now, let me state that will power can work; it’s just that it is not the most effective way to ensure that you do what you say you are going to do. Identifying and accessing passion releases a chain reaction, a magnificent obsession that rages deep inside. This is the self-discipline of being internally driven and attracting into your life that which makes your heart sing. And when you find joy in what you do it’s actually fun to put in the time and effort involved to be successful. This kind of desire overwhelms fear, doubt, greed and worry. There is little room or energy for anything to stand between you and your desired results. You simply must have it. Also, with passion, your focus is honed to razor sharpness as your attention to detail rises. You find yourself thinking about it all the time. Do you remember when you first fell in love? You considered every detail, you didn’t want to miss anything and you thought about her or him all the time. This emotional fixation tunes the body, mind and spirit to work in the same direction and on the same goal. It brings the intuition, creativity and spontaneity of the subconscious mind to bear on the desired object. As the saying goes, you become “hungry.” You “want it so bad you can taste it.” You “can feel it in your bones” and “see” the outcome through a mental picture that keeps your drive alive. The mental image gives focus to the desire by providing specifics like sounds, sights, smells and tastes, making the whole brain come alive with craving. The subconscious is then working as hard for the goal as the conscious is; and it makes a lot of the process appear easy and effortless—it just seems to happen. In other words, passionate self-discipline sets a roadmap or blueprint in the subconscious towards what you want. The roadmap or blueprint to attracting what brings you inner joy includes what is necessary to achieve it and, in the case of trading, rules and money management are woven into the fabric of consistent winning trades. This kind of emotional passion or self-discipline is also purposeful and oriented to the objective. It has a feedback system so that as reality changes the goal is modified to fit. After each goal is achieved a new course is set for achievement. The template changes as requirements change.
Actually, this concept of self-discipline is age-old. Our human system is a wondrous creation of which we are using only about 3%. In fact, Karl Pribram—thought by many to be the father of neuroscience—has supported Clement Stone’s quote, “What the brain can conceive, the mind will achieve.” Of Dr. Pribram’s many contributions and thoughts there are two that I particularly like:
1) The brain forms images and is governed by images of achievement, and the body cannot mobilize without them. Also, the development of an iron will is forged in the fire of emotion.
2) Neural blueprints are made by both physical and emotional images. This is also the basis for such books as Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.
When we imagine, (either positively or negatively) our brain can’t tell the difference between the imagined and the physically real. So, through the release of neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain we either feel good or bad with the vision or thought. This is a gross oversimplification, but I trust that you “get the picture.” So, the more we want that new yacht or that second house on the ocean or that fully paid college tuition for all of our children —and the more we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell it in our imagination—the more real the brain treats it. The more passion and emotion that is generated, especially when coupled with a specific vision, the closer we come to getting it. Self-disciplined trading involves the correct sequence and combination of behaviors in order for the subconscious mind to work for you rather than against you. The subconscious is powerful; it can make you sick, and it can heal you.
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.”