Learn to Unclog your Trading Mind

Trading Mind

Every now and then, I like to spend some time clearing my mind, more specifically, to unclog my mind. While I don’t do any form of meditation, I do believe that spending some time alone and making some simple reflections are a great way to achieve the same results. Of course, meditation has its benefits too as it is a more structured approached to personal reflection. To top it up, I do run some self hypnosis as well as they have been extremely useful for my mental state.

On that note, I would like to, as much as possible, share this idea of clearing and unclogging ones mind. While today’s discussion is more focussed on trading, some of the tools can be used in our day-to-day livelihood as well.

Excess Baggage

If your trading goal is your travel destination and you are the vehicle, then having a clogged up mind is like having excess baggage on the vehicle. When traders have excess baggage, they tend to have a very narrow view of what they can (or can’t) do. More often than not, those who have excess baggage tend to blame everything but themselves, that’s usually. While I don’t agree with the blames, I can see why many do it and that’s usually because they are having a tough time navigating around their internal environment and they are struggling to see their destination with all the extra “weight”.

So where did the baggage come from? As much as I would like to tell you, I think it’s pretty unfair to pin point the possibilities to only one or two root causes. That’s because they possibilities are endless. Because everyone has had a different up bringing, people with excess baggage could have just loaded unnecessary weight onto their “shopping trolley” as they grew up.

Here’s a quick example of what I mean by “weight”. Alan is a struggling trader and that’s because Alan’s dad might have told him that he is never going to be rich, and that happened when he was 10 years old. However, as Alan grew older, all he wanted was to have a better life and to create a better future for his children and wife. Unfortunately, that very statement from his dad has been clogging up his mind and it reappears each time he sees a winning trade.

Learning to Unclog

Quiet Trading MindSo here’s the thing, I strongly believe that traders should spend time learning about their past and how it has affected their beliefs in trading as well as in their daily activities. As I provide a coaching service in this area, I continue to encourage traders (who are struggling) to seek professional help. Coaching in the area of trading psychology is fairly niche and not commonly found in the trading industry.

Nonetheless, before I get carried away, today’s article is not about my coaching service but it’s about sharing with you some simple guidance so that you too can learn how to unclog.

1 Learn to Take Time Out

As simple as it sounds, taking time out from trading is one of the most effective way to identify any noises in your head. In fact, traders who are struggling are the ones who are usually very tensed about trading and the more they try to “work” things out, the more they pushed themselves in the wrong direction. I believe pushing oneself is a good thing. Unfortunately, pushing yourself in fatigued conditions is just like a time bomb waiting to explode.

If you want to push yourself a little further, then distance yourself from noises and disconnect from the world for a few hours. That is one if the best way to take time out because that’s when you take time to look within yourself.

For example, when I was living in London, I would travel back to Malaysia at least once a year. The flight was 13 hours on a direct flight and 17 hours if I had a stop over. Being in the plane means I had no internet, I didn’t know anyone in the flight (and even if I did, I couldn’t possibly talk for 13 hours). For me, that was one of the best situations to unclog and all I did was scribble on pieces of papers in the hope of unclogging the noises in my head.

2 Breaking Down your Tasks into Bite Size Chunks

Instead of trying to do everything at once, especially if you are stress, try to break down the work load so that you can work on them in smaller size chunks. In terms of trading, instead of trading 2-3 systems at the same time, why not just focus on one set of rules at a time. Keep working on the same rules until you are very familiar with them and before you get started with another set of trading rules.

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In fact, if you can, make sure to keep your trading rules very simple. In case you’re not aware, human beings can only manage 7+/- 2 bits of information at one time. If you have 14 rules that you need to track for one system and you intend to trade 3 systems at the same time, the chances are, you don’t need an excess baggage from the past to clog yourself up because those rules are complicated enough to confuse yourself.

While I’m not trying to scare you away from trying to trade a complex trading system, all I am suggesting is to keep it simple by focussing on one task at a time.

3 Fitness and Health

Healthy_Body_Healthy_MindI cannot stress how important it is to prioritise your healthy over your trading career. As my dad use to tell me, you can make all the money in the world but not having a healthy body (and mind) means that there’s a low chance that you’ll live to enjoy it.

“So true…” – I said to myself.

Since then, I made it a habit to jog, swim or go to the gym a few times a week. In fact, now that it is a habit, on weeks where I failed stay healthy, I noticed that my brain functions a little slower than I normally do. My concentration span reduces and I feel lethargic throughout the whole day.

Above and beyond that, if I kept to my fitness regime (which includes a simple 30 minute run around the park), I get clarity and focus on what I want to do and how I want to do them. Mind you, this includes making solid and disciplined trades. When you are fit and healthy, you gain extra fuel for working around the mind and you will likely to unconsciously unclog your mind too.

Conclusion

Trading is fun and it’s actually pretty easy. The hard part for most new traders are that they are overloaded with noises in their own head. Irrespective of trading noises or non-trading noises, the trading mind needs to be unclogged if you want to be a successful trader.

Thank you for reading and hope you find this useful. If you have any questions, feel free to post them below. Have a nice day!!

 

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2 Comments

  • Levi

    Reply Reply February 28, 2014

    Meditating works great for clearingl my mind. I think everyone should at lest give it a solid try.

    • Alwin Ng

      Alwin Ng

      Reply Reply March 1, 2014

      Thanks for sharing Levi. Self Hypnosis works too 🙂

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