Even though you know yourself best and have lived with you longer than anyone else, your ability turn failure into success is a question that is certainly not black and white at all. It really comes down to how you perceive yourself, which can change over time depending on your attitude and the filters we all attain as we age.
The key difference between those who are very confident and live the life they choose to live and those who don’t is that those who have a successful mindset embrace the bumps in the road with a positive attitude. They realize that the bumps are needed failures that allow them to grow. You see, when you experience failure, it is really success letting you know that you have identified a flaw that needs to be corrected or removed, and that’s a great thing.
I was raised without much direction and guidance from parents, so growing up I made mistakes in all parts of life. When I was very young, I would observe my friends and admire the ones who didn’t make mistakes. As a kid, no one wants to fail or make mistakes. However, over time I realized that people who made mistakes and failed often ended up achieving great things. I began to understand that the key to growth was to take myself OUT of my comfort zone, which means out of my normal thought process. That set off a chain of events that helped shape everything in my life and continues to do so.
One change I made was to stop competing with the ‘perfect’ kids and start competing with myself. If I focused on others, the best I would ever be is a little better that they are. If I focused on always challenging myself, I would never stop growing and improving. Also, instead of being scared to fail, I began to understand that success is impossible without failure. Furthermore, the key is to fall down in life and smile with a positive attitude. Many things in life are difficult if not impossible to control, but you can always control your attitude toward things. A positive attitude recognizes that failure is really a learning experience, a key lesson or test that will help you move toward your goal.
Your attitude can affect your success in trading as well as all other areas of your life.
Much of this comes down to how you evaluate who you are and your self-worth, this is where most people get it wrong…
Identity vs. Role
Identity – who you are.
Role – what you do.
Problem: Most people attach their identity to their role; they let their success or failure in their roles determine how they feel about themselves.
You play many roles in your life: employee, mother/father, brother/sister, those associated with your hobbies and passions, etc. Your performance in your roles should have nothing to do with how you see yourself as a person (your self-concept or self-esteem). Your identity is how you see yourself—outside of any roles that you play in your life. Pretend that none of those roles exist…who are you? On a scale of 1-10, do you see yourself as a winner? A losing trade vs. a winning trade should never affect how you measure your self-worth.
Do you have a healthy self-concept?
You were born a 10. You haven’t done anything to get worse since then. Young children see themselves as a 10…they have a healthy self-esteem. Think of a 3-year-old kid…they don’t care what people think about them (running around naked or picking their nose) and most think they are invincible. As we get older in life, we start to let things affect how we see ourselves…we get good/bad grades in school, we make the varsity soccer team or we get cut, we get into the college of our dreams or we get rejected, we get the promotion or we get passed over, etc. And too many adults are walking around wounded by life because they let these things affect how they see themselves.
Most of us grow up conditioned to NOT make mistakes. The perfection that is always expected actually suppresses growth as few will dare to move beyond their comfort zone due to a fear of failure. You have to understand that failure does not happen TO YOU, it happens FOR YOU. It is a gift that offers the opportunity to grow. When you shift your mind and think this way you will smile with each failure, knowing that you have just identified a flaw that needs to be corrected, removed or improved. Adversity is scary in the moment but it is always when we grow the most. Failure is only permanent when you allow it to be. How wonderful adversity and failure really is. When you live by a set of core values and unshakeable convictions you become stronger and less fearful. You see life’s journey for what it is, an exciting marathon for which you control the rule book and roadmap.
If you ever find yourself in the middle of a bumpy road in trading or in life, stay encouraged. You will make it to the peak if you realize that the valley is not your permanent address. Never forget to become a butterfly, you must want to fly so bad that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar. Growth and change always go hand in hand with failure and fear. If you approach failure and challenges with a positive attitude, you will see how quickly you can use failure to achieve unthinkable success in every part of your life. Next week, we will take this concept deeper and offer simple steps to shift your mind, if you want to…
Written by Sam Seiden. Online Trading Academy, Chief Trading Strategist
As the Chief Trading Strategist at Online Trading Academy, Sam shares his ideas on day trading, investing for beginners, online Forex trading and his personal passion—the futures markets. Sam brings over 15 years experience of equities, forex, options and futures trading which began when he was on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where he facilitated institutional orderflow. He has traded equities, futures, interest rate markets, forex, options, and commodities for his personal interests for years and has educated thousands of traders and investors through seminars and daily advisory services both domestically and internationally. Sam has been involved in the markets since 1991 both on and off the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He has served as the Director of Technical Research for two trading firms and regularly contributes articles to industry publications. Sam is known for his trading, technical research, and educational guidance.