Reality is subjective. There are different states of reality in the same way that there are different states of mind or different states of emotion. After a series of setbacks, for example, the world can look bleak. Yet after a series of big wins, in contrast, you can feel euphoric, even omnipotent. So which is the true reality? This is a hard question to answer. Perhaps it is best to consider that there are multiple realities and that some are more conducive to optimal trading than others.
One reality is that you must make profits. If you don’t make enough winning trades, you will blow out your account. As true as this fact of trading is, however, forcing yourself to make a trade after winning trade can actually make you choke under the pressure. While trading the markets, it is best to put this reality out of your mind. The more you can stay focused on your ongoing experience, rather than dwelling on your performance, the better. The more you just don’t care, the better you will trade.
Psychologists call this phenomenon the paradox of control: You have to give up control to actually gain control. If you feel that you can lose money and survive, you’ll actually make more money. It sounds strange, but it’s true. That said, it is hard to forget about your financial needs, aspirations, and expectations. If you are serious about the trading profession, you are probably the type of person who has high aspirations. You seek out success and you are ready to do whatever it takes to make your mark. But again, it can be difficult at times to forget about your expectations. It can be difficult to avoid putting pressure on yourself.
If you want to trade in a peak performance mindset, however, it is vital to get away from it all, psychologically, that is. You need to let your mind relax. You need to let your thoughts slow down. You must occasionally get away from the competitive world of trading. Everyone has his or her approach. Some use meditation. Others work out at the gym until they let off pent up energy and are fully relaxed. And many people get a massage to relieve physical tension. The key is to shake your mind out of one reality and put it into another.
Here’s one method that can really give your mind the shock it needs. You can immerse your body in warm water (hot but not scalding and preferably at a professionally operated spa) for two minutes and then jump into a pool of cold water. When you immerse your body in a pool of hot water, all you can think about is coping with the heat. It’s a little painful and so you must maintain concentration to avoid jumping out. It’s a great way to focus on it. Your mind can’t actually think of anything else but concentrating on how you will cope with the intense heat surrounding your body. You soon enter a meditative state. You aren’t thinking at all about how well you are doing in the markets! Next, you immerse your body in a pool of cold water. The rapid change in body temperature allows your mind to slow down. You feel relaxed, and somewhat in a daze. By repeating the process a few times, you will be able to fully relax. You will be in a new reality.
From a psychological standpoint, getting into this new reality can have rejuvenating effects. You will put things in perspective. You will see that trading activities, and the high standards you try to attain, are only one aspect of your life. This realization can provide solace during a stressful trading day. You’ll remember that there are other realities in the midst of chaos. But more importantly, you will feel relaxed and ready to tackle the stresses and strains of the markets with renewed vigor.
Trading is inherently stressful. As much as we try to avoid it, our ego is often on the line with our money. It’s essential to psychologically get away from it all. Whether it is meditation, exercise or a vacation on a tropical island, it’s vital to shake up your reality, rest, and rejuvenate.