The Power of Unlearning

Letting go

Recently, I have been speaking to a few trading coaches and we were planning to collaborate in the order to create some highly effective trading education. We believe that the idea of combining the mind, the market and the method in a single syllabus will be an Edge (in education) that we can offer to the marketplace.

In the process of getting to this stage, the idea of trading psychology seems to have triggered many curious traders and they often want to know what I do in relation to trading psychology. In fact, seasoned traders understand the importance of having the right psychology. However, many are untrained in this area. So explaining what I do becomes the topic of conversation.

You see, many successful traders become what they are today because they understood very clearly that they need an Edge. The real problem is that his or her Edge is only unique to them.

Why?

Because, amongst all the experiences that the traders have had, their Trading Edge is the one thing (or area) that resonates with them and that subsequently became a powerful tool.

The question that many people ask me is this, how did they find it?

The Idea of Unlearning

Before I answer the question, I think it is worthwhile to first understand that we, normal human beings, can usually only focus on a handful of things. And I’m going to be very specific here – we can only focus on a few “beliefs”, especially when we execute our plans.

For example, if we strongly believe that the financial market is good place to increase wealth, that belief will guide us through the tick and thin in the trading journey. The opposite is also true. If you believe that the market is there to trick us and to “eat us alive”, the market will do exactly that (remember the purple elephant?). And that usually happens when we lose sight of where the market is going.

You see my point?

Of course, you’ll have the generalisation that some people can multi-task better than others. However, that is not my point here.

Think about it. More often than not, people (including traders) prefer to do things the way it has been done before. They often reason that it has worked well in the past. While this does work well for some traders (and that’s usually a minority), it becomes a limitation to many.

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Here’s another example, the idea of “working longer can help earn more” is contradictory to what professional traders should do. Alternatively, “trading smaller timeframes can yield more profit than bigger timeframes” is also just another myth.

Can you see how this can become destructive to the trader?

Hence, the idea of unlearning what you’ve already known should be a serious topic of discussion.

Learning to Unlearn First

Getting back to the question above of “how do you find your own edge?”, the answer lies in first understanding what your trading beliefs are.

As mentioned before (see article), your beliefs will be something that can either make you or break you. While this is pretty obvious to many traders, what they don’t realise is that they often carry along with the strong beliefs from the past that is not relevant to trading.

In fact, it is as simple as having an “old way of achieving success” that would stop them from becoming successful here. And the biggest problem with that is the fact these beliefs are so subtle that most people don’t pick it up.

Hence, they remain where they are.

Anyway, I think you’re getting the idea.

And now that we are on the same page, you will now realise that we have to remove what you know from the past before we re-learn what is required. In order to do that, here’s a simple method that you can apply immediately in your own trading.

Steps to Unlearning Old Beliefs

  1. Pick a specific topic. Let’s say we want to become a successful trader.
  2. In the past, what have is the belief that is important in order to become successful?
  3. Separately, identify the beliefs around the idea of “what do we need to know in order to become a successful TRADER (from today)?”
  4. Compare and contrast the answers from step 2 and 3.
  5. Identify the which beliefs that are more important in trading and work to empower them.
  6. Identify old beliefs that are less relevant and mentally work to remove them.

 

In case you haven’t noticed, this is a simple exercise where you can rationalise and separate what you think is important in trading. At the same time, either utilise or remove any old beliefs that you might have used in the past.

The Power of Unlearning

Change is Constant

Learning how to unlearn is not something that is common for many people. Why? Because they are not used to getting out of their box. In other words, by doing so, you will get uncomfortable.

Think about it, when was the last time you had to do that? May be when you moved to a new job? When you moved to a new home? Or when you got married and had to move in with your partner?

Sounds about right? It should, because these events happen when there are major changes in your life. While there is a positive motivation in those events, the belief is that they have to learn something completely new.

Most of the time, that’s probably true. However, that’s not exactly true here. Because if you looked at the method that I’ve recommended and study it carefully, you’ll realised that you have not introduced anything new. All you have done is to clarify what you’ve already known, and then make a conscious and rational decision about what is benefit and what is destructive to your trading.

Make sense?

Yet, the most important part of this process is not just the ability to unlearn new things, but the most amazing part is actually to move into the Habit of Change through the process of unlearning and learning in order to succeed.

Here’s the best part.

As you know how to unlearn. You have learnt how to better manage your beliefs. In fact, you have learnt to clarify how to proceed forward successfully. And when that becomes a habit, you can use the same knowledge whenever the situation changes.

Why?

Because the Only thing Constant in our life is Change.

 

Thank you and hope you’ve enjoyed the read.

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