If you were lost and alone on a desert island, with only a satellite connection to monitor market activity and place your trades, you would probably trade more profitably. What about the emotional support from colleagues? What about the feel of the markets provided by the media? What about friends to show off to when you win? In the end, most people would be better off if they were alone on a desert island. Why? As much as humans are social beings, other people usually get in the way. When we are trying to trade “in the zone” with a calm and focused mindset, social issues often distract us: caring what others think, listening to the opinion of others, trying to make a good impression, comparing ourselves to others. If you could trade on your own terms and at your own pace, you would trade at the top of your game.
Social processes are powerful, more powerful than we care to admit. If you ever traded in a room full of traders, you know what I mean. If a young trader is on a good run, making a bunch of winning trades, and you are in a slump, you feel as if you should be doing better. You start thinking, “This is a little embarrassing. I better step up my efforts, and try to make more winning trades.” Suddenly, you may start trading impulsively. You may start putting a little pressure on yourself so you won’t be so far behind. Social pressure can be strong at times, and compel you to trade impulsively. Think about what is happening, however.
You are taking unnecessary risks, and for what? To make a few winning trades, and when you do, temporarily think you are “just as good” like the guy on the roll? Is it worth it? It isn’t. You may end up losing money and feeling worse. If you looked at matters logically, you would think, “Who cares what anyone else is doing but for me. I’m going to go my own way. I’m going to methodically and carefully follow my method, the method that I know earns profits.” But the social and psychological processes that make us want to compete and make a good impression often defy logic. We succumb to our psychological, social needs and end up less profitable in the end.
It’s essential to go your own way when you trade. Don’t look toward others for advice. Don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t try to impress others. It’s harder than it looks, but if you acknowledge the power of these issues and prepare for how they might impact you, you can beat them. Get ready to put up a defence. Repeat over and over, “I’m not going to care what anyone else is doing or worry about what anyone thinks. I am going to think independently and do things my way, no matter what. I
t’s only about me and no one else.” You might pretend you are alone on a desert island. Imagine you are by yourself, alone, and loving it. If you can devote all your psychological resources to your immediate experience, you will enter the zone. Don’t be distracted by other people. Just do things your own way, and in the long run, you’ll trade like a master.