Having the Right Mental Mind for Trading

01/27/2013 7:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Rande Howell

Founder and Owner, Trader's State of Mind

Having the right frame of mind is critical to trading success. Psychologist Rande Howell explains what to do.

I am here with Rande Howell.  Rande, I’ve heard you talk about the committee of the mind or re-engineering the mind.  How does this apply to successful trading?

Oh, big time, is that fundamentally, I have a saying.  The mind that you bring to trading is not going to be the mind that is going to be successful in trading.  Literally, what you do, you say the mind is really more like a committee and has been dominated one way or the other over time, and you bring that, it has probably produced success in what other domain you’ve been in.  However, when you take that same mind trading, it doesn’t stand up and you have to go and go wow, it has to be re-engineered. 

Fundamentally, you begin to look at the mind very differently.  Instead of this monolithic mass of mind, what you realize is the mind is really a trading committee.  It is a committee of the mind.  In David Engleman’s work, in Incognito, he talks about the committee of the mind.  He talks about the community of the mind and, fundamentally, what you are dealing with is the brain creates programs that go on automatic in the background of mind and these programs are the ones you hear as voices in mind.  Engleman has just brilliantly been able to show that and that is what happens in trading, too.

Right.  How does a trade go about the process of re-engineering the mind?  Do they take notes, keep a journal, meet with a mentor, a professional like yourself, or what are some things that a trader can do right away to confront that re-engineering that they need to do? 

Probably the most empowerful thing they can do, initially, is to start observing themselves trade.  I actually have traders use a mirror so they are looking at themselves.  What they do is I ask them to say, what I want you to do is notice the tenseness in your body.  I want you to notice your breath.  Most of them are holding their breath or they are panting.  Then, what I want them to do is to actually start noticing their heart rate.  In doing that, what you are doing is observing the arousal of an emotion, okay. 

They don’t notice that.  They don’t even see the emotion arousing the power.  They only notice it when it has taken control, hijacked the mind, so the very first thing is get a mirror, watch yourself, and just start noticing that the hijacking started long before you first thought it did. 

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