The focus on the Olympics should remind us that it isn’t the prize that matters, but the process of how you won it. Olympic athletes practise most of their lives to perform at their best at that “one moment in time.” The outcome of that one moment has major significance.
The irony, however, is that if they focus too much on winning during that one moment, they’ll probably choke. As one athlete put it, it is more important to know that he prepared as much as possible and that he was as ready as he could possibly be. By knowing that he had done everything possible, he felt self-assured, so self-assured that when he had to perform at the key moment, he felt a sense of accomplishment, regardless of whether he won the Gold. It’s useful to bring that same attitude to trading. Don’t focus on winning.
Focus on the process of trading. Make sure that you are well prepared, and that you have done everything you can possibly do. If you know you have tried to do your best, and put in a heroic effort worthy of feeling a sense of accomplishment, you’ll feel like a success.
When trading the markets, it is impossible to know the outcome of a trade. There’s an element of chance involved. The markets may be conducive to the trade, but on the other hand, they may not. You can’t know for sure until you execute the trade and find out. The only thing you really can control is how you prepared for the trade, and how you execute and monitor the trade. The way the markets behave are out of your control, so all you can do is control what you can, and accept what you can’t control.
Since no outcome is assured, it makes little sense to focus solely on the outcome, and allow whether you win or lose to dictate whether or not you feel successful. Besides, thinking about whether a trade will be a winner or a loser usually makes you feel anxious and uneasy. You may use up limited psychological energy worrying about something over which you have little control.
Better use of your energy is to focus on the process of preparing for a trade. It’s fun to think of new trading strategies or to scan for possible setups. Trading is a creative process. It’s intellectually challenging and engaging. By focusing on the process of trading, you’ll feel fulfilled. And if you know that you’ve put in a solid effort to prepare for the trading day, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.
Although it is tempting to focus on the outcomes of our trades, doing so is usually distracting. It’s much better to focus on the process of trading. That means preparing carefully for trades to the extent that you feel you’ve done everything you possibly can do.
If you feel you have prepared adequately, you’ll also feel self-assured. And when it comes time to execute and monitor your trades, you’ll feel at ease, confident, and ready to tackle the markets.