Discipline Transcends Trading
Discipline Transcends Trading
It may seem a bit premature to begin talking about the holiday season and the end of another year, but before you know it they will be upon us. With that in mind, it's time to reflect on what has transpired both in our trading and personal endeavors over this year. As we do our review, we must ask ourselves what changes can be made to continue to improve all facets of our personal and professional lives.
During the upcoming time of reflection and festivity, temptation is abundant - as baked goods and rich foods take center stage. For those who lack self-restraint, that temptation usually leads to weight gain, which in turn precipitates a resolution to shed those unwanted pounds at the start of the New Year.
It's almost as if the extra weight was the motivation or excuse needed to start a new workout regiment. Unfortunately, statistics show that for those that end up losing the weight, less than 2% will be able keep it off for any significant length of time.
Binge & Purge
Incidentally, the statistics for Futures traders who are still active after six months are only marginally better.
Corroborating the holiday binge cycle, health club attendance markedly increases the first week in January. Moreover, only a few short weeks later, the crowds will dissipate, as the majority finds it's too much work to drive to the place, let alone stick to a fitness routine. The ones that do remain (which are few) are those who have truly made the commitment to achieve their goals.
Similar to the first-time fitness club attendees early in the year, new traders start out with the same vim and vigor - lofty goal in place - fervent to take on the challenge type attitude.
However, after a few weeks something happens. The commitment fades as the realities of trading become apparent: Following rules, accepting losses, having patience and all the rest, become much more challenging than they expected. It's at this point they begin looking for "other ways;" methods that aren't as tough. Ultimately, though, they find out there are no easy ways to make money consistently (legally, anyway).
Therefore, the nagging question persists. Why is it so difficult for most people to stick to a plan until their goals are attained? A whole host of factors can be ascribed to this breakdown. I believe, however, that certain personality traits can account significantly for this lack of follow-through.
If you're a trader having issues with discipline, ask yourself the following questions: Do you find yourself always arriving late to appointments? Do you have trouble finishing what you start? Is your workspace organized or always in a state of disarray? Do you find yourself looking for shortcuts to skirt doing more work? Lastly, are you a commitment-phobic? (And I'm not just referring to your dating life).
If you answered "yes" to some (or all) of these questions, don't worry; all is not lost. You just have your work cut out for you. At least now, you've identified some of the changes you can look forward to making; that is if you want different results than what you're currently experiencing.
As the title of the piece suggests, discipline indeed transcends trading. It's what we eat (quantity and type of food), how we comport ourselves, and how we go about pursuing our goals. It's making a commitment to achieving what we set out to accomplish, without compromises or excuses. Why would we believe that if we lack discipline in our day-to-day lives, that we would suddenly become disciplined in our trading? That's just deluded thinking.
As we know from our own personal trading experiences, holding back and having the patience to wait for the right setup can sometimes be tough; but having the self-control to do this may make the difference between profits or losses. All traders must continuously self-diagnose, and sometimes self-medicate when needed. To this end, we should work on stifling those unwanted aspects of our personality by planning and setting goals for ourselves.
I always find inspiration in those who, despite all odds, persevere, and accomplish great feats. This attribute of dogged determination is something I've always admired in people, and have tried to emulate throughout my life. It's not always easy, though, since sometimes we can get too comfortable in our current situation. When that happens, I believe it's necessary to get out of our comfort zone. Being uncomfortable can be good, as it will allow us to grow and regain that thirst for challenge. That's partly why I love trading.
My intent in writing this piece is to be thought-provoking. I know most of you would much rather read about some technical indicator or setup, and I'll continue writing about those, as well; but without discipline all the market knowledge in the world will not help you become consistently profitable.
Finally, we mustn't forget that it is not a battle between the market and you, but rather, an internal conflict that has to be quelled every time you make a trade.
Until next time, I hope everyone has a profitable week.
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