The winning trader doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Trading is about him or her, the markets and nothing else. The only opinion that counts is his or her own. There is freedom in holding such an attitude. Rather than living up to others’ expectations, the winning trader looks inward, trying to satisfy personal standards instead of those imposed by the outside world. By only looking inward, rather than outward, the winning trader has rock-solid confidence. He or she doesn’t waver when faced with seemingly impossible challenges. He or she is stable, calm, and objective, even under the most chaotic market conditions. By looking inward for direction, you can develop the sense of unshakable confidence of the winning trader.
Looking inward for guidance and direction is unnatural for many people, however. Throughout most people’s lives, significant others have tried to place conditions on whether one will receive approval or disapproval. Parents imply, “I’ll love you, but only if you do what I say.” Teachers warn, “I’ll give you a good grade if you follow my instructions,” and supervisors control workers by saying, “I’ll give you a good performance evaluation if you meet my expectations.” It is reasonable to start looking toward others for a sense of personal value. For some people, the need for recognition becomes extreme, though. Some people let others define their self-worth.
If others give them approval, they feel good. But if they meet with dissatisfaction, they feel poorly about themselves. Over time, one may get into the habit of looking toward others for approval. Some traders, for example, may even be motivated to trade in order to gain approval. They may think, “If I can make a fortune trading, I’ll get the love and respect I’ve always wanted.” Although such thoughts may be motivating, they can be a hindrance to profitably consistent trading. First, one is often disappointed to find that money isn’t usually associated with respect and approval.
And even when it is, most people find that they never get the level of respect that they had hoped to find. In the end, one usually becomes disappointed and loses the motivation to trade over the long term. Second, if you tie your winnings to your self-worth, you put an extreme amount of pressure on yourself to perform. And when the stakes are that high, one usually chokes under the strain. Trading is difficult enough as it is. Putting on extra pressure makes a challenging task almost impossible.
Rather than look outward toward others for a sense of self-worth, it is vital to look inward. The only opinion that should matter is your own. Trade because you find it personally rewarding, not because you think you’ll eventually gain approval from others. Focus on the immediate experience of trading. You’ll find it more enjoyable, and feeling a need to live up to societal expectations about what is “right” or “wrong” won’t distract you. If you allow yourself to set your own personal standards, you’ll feel a sense of freedom, and this sense of freedom will allow you to trade effortlessly and creatively. So avoid looking toward others for approval and self-definition. The more you can look inward, and think independently, the more you’ll trade consistently and profitably.