Matthew Kerkhoff, options expert and editor of Dow Theory Letters, continues his 14-part educational...
7 Steps to a Trading Breakthrough
05/16/2014 6:00 am EST
In trading, and in life, achieving optimum performance means overcoming difficult obstacles, and quite often, overcoming ourselves, says Jeff White of The Stock Bandit, and here he presents seven tips, as endorsed by a renowned self-help expert.
Breakthrough was a TV mini-series that aired a few years ago, and a good one…at least I thought. It got cancelled after just a couple episodes, before its time, of course! (It’s archived on Hulu though, in case you want to see it.)
The premise of the show was that ordinary people face real, painful challenges. The subjects on the show wanted help to overcome them or to learn to live with those issues. Obstacles stood in their way of living the life they’ve dreamed of, so it was inspiring to see them get out of their comfort zone and face them head on.
Self-help guru Tony Robbins was the coach. Think “Biggest Loser,” only these people were looking to lose their fixation on their problems, and he was the one to guide them through that process. Along the way, he showed why his reputation is so good through the work he did.
Robbins offered seven guidelines for “breaking through,” all of which are listed in bold below. I’ve added my own thoughts as they pertain to trading. So here we go:Change Your Environment
If you want to make a change, the best way to start is by getting away from the norm to not only evaluate your current approach, but to design a new one. Mix it up. Get away from your desk, go to the park, take a walk; do anything but stay in front of your screens.
Similarly, if you’re not trading well or seeing the market clearly, stop doing the same things! Perhaps it’s a time frame shift you need to make (day vs. swing), or the places you’re getting trade ideas. Something in your routine is stale and you need to take a fresh approach.
Confront Your Real Issues
It’s so easy to blame anything and anyone but yourself, but that’s what losers do, and none of us want to be losers.
If you’ve got a trading discipline issue, then get real about it. If you’re simply lacking skills, then improve them. But don’t place blame elsewhere (my family distracts me, this market is too erratic, I need that other trading platform, etc.), because that will only perpetuate your dissatisfaction. Be big enough to face up to the underlying problem, and only then will you overcome it.
Expand Your Limits
This is about discovering your inner strength in a new way. It’s about doing, not just telling yourself something.
Take on a challenge that has nothing to do with trading. Skydive, or climb a mountain, or commit to losing 15 pounds, or learn to waterski—something that you can do or achieve in a relatively short amount of time order to show yourself that when you put your mind to something, you can make it happen.
It’s a step toward building confidence, which will carry over into your trading. It doesn’t matter what it is, because your mind is directing each endeavor and you’re redefining what’s possible.
NEXT PAGE: Change Your Perspective|pagebreak|
Change Your Perspective
I remember after my first two years of trading on my own, I walked into a daytrading firm. I saw two guys that day (my age) who had made $40,000 for the day! Their trading goals gave me a whole new perspective, needless to say.
Whatever you think you know, you are still oblivious to so much more. Investigate some other avenues for your trading, and it will shift your mindset permanently…and probably for the better.
Own the Lesson
Many of us pay the tuition, but we don’t always remember the lesson. In the bigger picture for your trading, this step is about taking responsibility in order to create a lasting change. You’re maturing in your approach, so take the parts of the past which can aid you and stamp them on your memory.
You won’t be perfect going forward, but you’re now clear on what you need to avoid, and that’s something you weren’t doing before step two. Take the constructive pieces of the past and use them to your benefit.
Design a Compelling Future
Now that you’ve confronted your real issues and shown yourself what’s possible and you’re taking responsibility, it’s time to let go of the parts of your past which are holding you back and start looking forward.
The beauty of trading (or one of them at least) is that the sky literally is the limit. Anything is possible, and yet too often we get caught in a rut and forget that. Getting away (step 1) is very helpful in this aspect, as it allows you to remember that you need not limit yourself in what it is you’re after. It doesn’t mean you start trying to hit home runs instead of singles, but rather that you remember those singles can put you in the hall of fame!
Own Your Breakthrough
Anytime you grow, anytime you overcome an obstacle, anytime you confront what’s holding you back, it’s going to stay with you. Owning your breakthrough is about remembering where you’ve been in your trading, and building on it.
You catapult yourself to a new level because of the growth you’ve experienced. Don’t forget where you’ve been, but place your focus on where you’re going. You won’t be free from frustration forever, but you’re on your way to a lasting breakthrough.
By Jeff White, Trader and Blogger, The Stock Bandit
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