The Mirror Concept in Trading – There’s No Cheating Cause and Effect:
The market is a mirror – meaning your overall experience within it reflects exactly who you are. Your individual results are a manifestation of your thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, values, attributes, and emotions – which all ultimately lead to your behaviors.
This means that you can’t hide from yourself as a trader – there’s no cheating cause and effect. The market will undeniably expose every fear, insecurity, bias, and survival mechanism that you have – especially in relation to loss, risk, uncertainty, and money.
How you react to this exposure determines your level of success/failure. Will you ignore what the market is trying to tell you and continue to repeat the same destructive cycles of thought, emotion, and behavior? Or will you make meaningful changes/adjustments?
The market isn’t just a numerical feedback mechanism that provides price and volume data. It’s also a psychological feedback mechanism for yourself. You can’t let the external noise (numbers) completely overshadow your internal thoughts and emotions.
When it comes down to it, your internal makeup dictates every action that you take. So if you’re constantly fighting against deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs that don’t align with market characteristics, your experience will be afflictive and results negative.
Fortunately (for the benefit of personal development), live trading has a way of stirring up our deepest fears, anxieties, urges, cravings, and aversions. But if left unchecked, this leads to all kinds of impulsive, destructive, and self-sabotaging behaviors.
Personal Life vs. Trading Life – How You Do One is How You Do the Other:
I’m passionate about trading, and as a result, I approach it with a level of tenacity and commitment that I don’t necessarily do with other things in my life. Our time, effort, and focus are all finite resources that need to be managed in the best way we see fit.
But generally speaking, I’m the same person inside and outside of trading. How I operate outside the market bleeds into my trading, and the same is true for the opposite – how I operate inside the market bleeds into my life. Completely isolating the two is impossible.
So if you’re a disorganized, impatient, and impulsive person, then you’ll most likely be a disorganized, impatient, and impulsive trader. In order to improve as a trader, you basically just have to get better as a person – and focus on improving every single day.
This is why I often say that traders don’t have trading problems – they have personal problems that manifest in their trading. There are certainly some exceptions, but collectively, most problems can be linked back to individual attitudes, beliefs, and actions.
Becoming a consistent trader requires cultivating a new identity – and that identity isn’t established and sustained solely within the confines of the market. Who you are as a person drastically impacts who you are as a trader, and vice versa.
You can’t “escape” yourself just because you have a strategy/system/methodology – because the execution of it ultimately comes down to you and your habits/skills/behaviors. What’s underneath the surface (your internal framework) is what runs the show.
Everybody Gets What They Want Out of the Market (Really Think About it):
There’s this great quote by Ed Seykota: “Everybody gets what they want out of the market”. When I first heard it, I didn’t realize how profound it was. But after thinking about it for a couple minutes, I comprehended the incredible truth in it.
If you ask most people what they want out of the market, the most frequent response will be “money”. But that’s not really true. You have to at least dig deeper to what the money represents – comfort, safety, freedom, status, pleasure, recognition, power, etc.
But even after self-inquiry to figure out what money means to you, the true indicator of what you want is found in your actions. You might say you want money and everything that it represents, but are your actions within the market in line with those desires?
The reality is that most market participants actually want short-term emotional gratification over achieving their long-term financial goals. They’d rather be right and feel good in-the-moment than be overall profitable. Actions speak louder than words.
All in all, I agree that everybody gets what they want out of the market. You might think you want the money, but if that’s true, are you following the right process to achieve it? Or do you actually desire thrills, excitement, and random rewards even more?
Take some time to think about what it is that you really want out of the market because that’s exactly what it will offer you.
Learn More in the Trading Success Framework Course
Written by Matt Thomas (@MattThomasTP)
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