The post discusses simple techniques to give your trading a “First Class Upgrade”. Techniques include upgrading your mindset, social circle, mentorship, workplace environment and trading psychology.
For those that don’t know me, I am a big guy. At 6′-3″ and at a weight higher than I’d prefer, squeezing into an economy class seat isn’t a pleasant experience. Given those facts, as a former road warrior I can tell you there’s almost no better feeling in this world than to be sitting in the middle seat in economy class of an airplane and have the flight attendant say “Mr. Buss you’ve been upgraded to first class”. It’s simply amazing.
What could be equally amazing is to apply time -proven techniques to upgrade our lives and our trading to “First Class”. Unlike on an airplane where we are at the mercies of a flight attendant to tap us on the shoulder, we can grab ahold of our own destiny to chart our own course.
What if we could “upgrade” ourselves? How would I go about it? How amazing would it feel to upgrade your whole life?
- Upgrade your mindset: The no. 1 reason for failure is lack of conviction and succumbing to all the suppressive forces that are out there. How many times have you heard 90% of aspiring traders fail? Probably so many times, you may in fact believe it. Another habit we often fall into is negative self-talk after a rough day of trading or a losing streak. . Success requires you match your mindset to your aspirations. Try these ideas to upgrade your mindset
- Change your Self Talk: It sounds cliche’ but telling yourself “I can do this!” is way better than constantly telling yourself “I’ll never get it!” Self-talk is the stories we tell ourselves. Said often enough, our stories become our reality. Make sure you are telling the story you want to hear.
- Change your language: After upgrading your self-talk, upgrade your language. Avoid phrases like “I am always like this” or “I am always doing that” for encouraging a growth mindset. Talk about things that are going well instead of things that aren’t. Example: I picked the right stock and had a great entry; now I just need to manage the trade more effectively. That sounds better than “I’m a loser”. Transition towards a mindset of abundance and growth and away from scarcity and fear.
- Upgrade your Social Circle: Take a cold hard look at your circle of friends and acquaintances, both traders and non-traders. Are they positive and supportive or negative and corrosive? It may be tough, but politely migrate away from nay-sayers and towards positive influencers. To upgrade your social circle try these ideas
- Connect with Connectors: You can see these people a mile away. They are social magnets. Reach out to them. It’s likely they can introduce you to a new and better community of people.
- Establish yourself as a giver: You have value to offer. Offer it freely to others and those that know more than you will share their knowledge with you.
- Know who you want to associate with in advance: As you circulate with new people, you should have your internal criteria working. Pursue deeper relationships with people who meet your needs. Politely let the others fade away.
- Make the effort to stay in touch: This is your project. You have the most to gain or lose. Make the effort to stay in touch with the people you want to know better and associate with more. Let them know you value the relationship. Watch good things happen.
- Upgrade your Advice: Solicit advice from the most knowledgable people you can find. Experienced traders are out there and may be more accessible than you think. Many people falsely believe asking for help is a sign of weakness. Actually its a sign of strength and one of the most powerful things you can do. As an example, I was starting a small business a long time ago and was struggling with my brochure and other marketing pieces. I remembered a guy in my neighborhood mentioning was an ad guy. I approached him for help. Turns out he retired as the top copy-writer for McCann-Erickson in NYC. I bet his help would have cost me $10,000 / hr just a few years earlier. He helped me a great deal for free and my business got off to a fast start. Most of the time people are happy to give others a lift.
- Paying up will save you time and a lot of money. A good trading mentor will save you thousands of dollars and should quickly advance your trading. Its amazing to me how short – sighted most aspiring traders are about this. They will lose $5000 in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee, yet be outraged that someone dares ask them for $100 / hr to help them avoid the mistake. Dumb! Trading is a craft; find a craftsman to teach you.
- Upgrade your physical environment: Look at your trading space. Does it pass the First Class test? First Class doesn’t mean expensive furnishings, it means do you feel energized by your surroundings? If not, maybe its time to go first class.
- De-clutter and get organized
- Paint and add some art
- Treat yourself to an ergonomic chair and nice monitor
- Buy a plant for either your desk or corner space of your office.
- Make sure your lighting is the best it can be. You’ll be amazed at how these small touches can kick your energy level into a new and higher gear.
- Upgrade your psychology: Dr. Brett Steenbarger, noted psychologist and trading coach, advocates cultivating your psychological well -being to build the psychological resilience needed to perform at peak levels. Steenbarger suggests these 4 components need your attention: Happiness, Fulfillment, Energy and Affection. Actively cultivating all 4 components arm the aspiring trader with the ability to perform at a higher level under stress and helps ensure stress does not become distress. Here’s my spin on a few of these components.
- Develop a passion outside of trading. My passion is cooking. It relaxes me. I can clear my mind while doing something worthwhile for my family. Maybe its golf, oil painting or charity work for you. Trading is a worthwhile passion while you have a full-time job. When trading becomes your profession you’ll need something else.
- Energy. Until recently I have not put much effort into structured exercise. Now I am making a point to walk each day and do some light free weights. I feel better. Evidence exists to support the idea that when you feel better, you trade better. Give it a try and tell me what you think.
- Affection / Family life. It’s easy to get lost in your trading life. Think about this. How would you feel if you became a great trader but lost your family in the process? You would not be the first one. Take out your calendar and schedule non-negotiable time to cultivate your family life. Date night, family fun night, summer vacation, weekend getaway, attend a ball game, go to a museum, ….. what ever it is. Give the family an early heads up so they can look forward to the event or activity. The calendar will remind you but you’re the one that must make it happen. You can thank me in 10 years when you’re sharing your well-deserved success with your family.
How do these ideas resonate with you? It may seem like a lot of work, and it is. I said simple, not easy. Upgrading yourself does take effort, but it’s well worth “walking to the front cabin”. In trading I will never be able to guarantee whether a trade will work or not, but I can assure you these techniques will work. It may be imperceptible at first, but over time, these positive changes will filter themselves into your trading. That’s the goal right? Just start by putting one foot in front of the other; you will get to where you want to be. If you get stuck, reach out! I’m here to help.
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