Learn to Beat Fear and Uncertainty

03/08/2011 3:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Sam Seiden

Chief Education, Products and Services Officer, Online Trading Academy

By learning to embrace "failure" as a building block to success, traders can keep from being paralyzed by their fears and continually improve on the way to achieving their full potential.

By Sam Seiden

Speculating in markets is a difficult challenge that can test your emotions more than you can imagine. From birth, we gravitate toward things that make us feel good and run away from things we fear. If you take this instinctual action in trading, you will lose. Meaning, if you buy when the news and charts look "good," you're buying when price is high. If you sell when the news and charts are "bad," you'll be selling when price is low. And buying high and selling low equates to a short trading career.

You must understand that proper trading is not easy, and you don't want it to be. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it and would be making money at it, but that just is not the case. The people who do well over time are the ones who understand that the path of learning and practicing takes time and it's often a bumpy road. The key difference between those who fail and those who stick it out and succeed is that the successful ones embrace the bumps in the road. In other words, they are not afraid to fail, and they are not paralyzed by fear. 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.

I grew up playing hockey at some of the highest levels. When I was very young, I would watch other players in practice and admire the ones who never fell down. As a kid, no one wanted to fall down, lose the puck, or make a mistake in practice. However, very soon I realized that the kids that fell down often ended up being the best players at the end of the season. I always worked hard in practice but began to understand that the only way I would fall down is to work harder and take myself out of my comfort zone, which naturally, can be a scary thing. That set off a chain of events that helped shape everything in my life and always will. I would skate harder and harder in practice and make sure I fell down almost every practice. As long as I was falling down, I knew I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone, which meant I was growing and getting better.

I then took that thought into games and realized that I had better change my way of thinking there, too. If I focused on the other team as the opponent, the best I would ever be is a little better than they were. If I focused on myself as the opponent, I would never stop growing and improving. So instead of being afraid to fail, I now understood that success is impossible without some failure.

Most people are afraid of failure in any part of life, especially trading. You have to understand that failure does not happen to you, it happens for you. It is an 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 or removed. Adversity is scary in the moment, but it is always when we grow the most. How wonderful adversity and failure really are.

Again, what keeps most people from the process of "growing" and "achieving" is fear. Fear is debilitating; it divides people. Think of the worst decisions you have ever made in your life: They were likely fear-based decisions. Fear makes people run to lawyers when they are likely not even necessary. Fear not only divides people, but also divides entire countries, causing leaders to spill the blood of sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. Why? Most of the time, it's just fear. It is fear that most often keeps people from enjoying the great adventure called life. These days, the stock markets are near multi-year highs, consumer confidence is trending up, and people are shopping like crazy again. You would not think that fear is on the loose.

However, I travel around the world to deliver the Online Trading Academy message to rooms filled with hundreds of people at a time. During these events, everyone seems happy, people are smiling and happy to get together, but be assured, fear is on the loose. I look out into the audience and see fear around the room. There are wealthy people who can't sleep at night because they are afraid they are going to lose all their money. There are poor people afraid of bankruptcy. There are older people terrified of dying, younger people who are afraid that they will never meet the right partner, never find a good job, or never be able to afford a house. There are very beautiful people scared that they are going to lose that beauty, and well, plenty of others that kind of hope they do-just kidding! There are people holding deep secrets who are afraid they will someday be exposed. Fear is certainly on the loose.

Can you imagine living a life without fear? One of the best antidotes for fear is love. Love conquers fear. When love is at the center of your life, it tends to flush out fear and give you the strength to climb any mountain, no matter how high. Why don't many people truly love? Most of the time, it's unfortunately because they are afraid. If you are one of many who are in the middle of the bumpy journey toward self-empowerment through market speculating or anything else, stay encouraged.

You will make it to the peak if you realize that the valley is not a permanent residence. Timid people don't change the world; they hide when the pressure is on. 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.

By Sam Seiden of OnlineTradingAcademy.com

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