Successful traders are independent-minded. They don’t seek out the opinions of others. They don’t question their skills. They trust their intuitions and live by their own standards. Such characteristics are essential for trading success. A winning trader stays ahead of the crowd. The masses tend to react emotionally to market news, and the winning trader enters the market ahead of them in order to take advantage of these emotionally based market moves. Having a genuine sense of self-esteem helps matters. Traders with rock-solid self-esteem can easily look inward for what to do next. They can quickly act on their intuitions and effortlessly capitalize on market opportunities. Trading success requires a genuine sense of self-esteem; it’s something all traders should raise.
Self-esteem is a personality trait. It develops over time as a result of past interpersonal experiences and achievements. Ideally, traders should have developed a genuine sense of self-esteem before entering the trading realm, so that no matter what happens to them as a trader, they would continue to feel they have true value and worth as a person. But whatever experiences have fed your development of self-esteem, it’s vital to maintain it. Traders with low self-esteem, or a false sense of self-esteem, are easily swayed by their emotions.
How does one develop or maintain genuine self-esteem? One way is to cultivate personal integrity. Personal integrity concerns the consistency between our values and actions. It’s important to have clearly defined values and to make sure that our behaviour reflects these values. It’s often easier to bow to social pressure or to do what is expected of us than to look inward to what our values dictate. But when we bow to social pressure or sell out our values, we pay a big price: We lose some of our self-esteem.
Another key attribute of people who have genuinely high self-esteem is that they live their lives as consciously as possible. They are in tune with their inner values and emotions and try to keep a strong grip on reality. They are astutely aware of their feelings, emotions, and aspirations. They don’t limit their awareness or close off important aspects of themselves.
Expanding one’s awareness requires complete self-acceptance. Everyone has faults, but many people are afraid to face them. They do whatever is possible to avoid facing parts of their experiences that they view as “unacceptable.” They distort or deny experiences that don’t fall in line with their overly positive opinions of themselves. When people do this, however, they block out part of their consciousness. They isolate a vital part of their experience, and cannot develop a true and genuine sense of self-esteem.
It’s useful to remember the old adage “I don’t define my self-worth by my net worth.” Winning traders feel good about themselves no matter how much they win or lose. They feel good about themselves because they know deep down that they have value as people. They look inwardly for self-acceptance, and follow their personal values; they don’t care what anyone else thinks. If you want to become a consistently profitable trader, you must develop a genuine sense of self-esteem. By making sure that you live by your own values, and fully accept your limitations, you’ll develop a true sense of worth that won’t be easily shaken by momentary setbacks or failures.