The “Golden Keys” are the primary learning path for traders at the Mind Muscles Academy. These keys are:
Our emphasis on self-awareness starts with our physiology, or what we call our sensations. Next, we become aware of our emotions. Finally, we become aware of the quality of our thoughts in real time.
This process is a surprise to some of our students looking for the “holy grail” of trading success. Starting with “awareness?”
A new student comments, “You have got to be kidding, I just need to tweak my system so I have more confidence in it.”
Now a study published in the respected journal “Nature” shows how important this process is. Read it here.
This study works with the first of the Mind Muscles™ “S.E.T.” training, the sensations or physiology. The name they apply to physiology sensation awareness is “interoception”. They define this concept as “sensing the physiological signal originating inside the body, such as hunger, pain and heart rate”.
Here they quantified one of these variables, the heart rate, and compared the actual rate to the perception of the heart rate by the traders. They found that “traders are better able to perceive their own heartbeats than matched controls from the non-trading population”.
But going beyond that, “the interoceptive ability of traders predicted their relative profitability”. But that is not all. Additionally, and strikingly, their physical self awareness correlated with how long they survived in the financial markets.
“Our results suggest that signals from the body – the gut feelings of financial lore – contribute to success in the markets.” If you want more details on this study, you can read more here. This study supports the foundational precepts that the Mind Muscles™ Academy has built over the last decade.
So, the question remains, how does this work?
I theorize that the trader who is naturally aware of his own heart beat, is also more aware of other internal information such as a wide range of additional physical sensations, emotions and thoughts.
Can you improve this skill and have it impact your trading success? What if, just imagine what if, you decided to increase your own awareness with your sensations, emotions and thoughts? Is this possible? And if possible, does it make a difference?
What if we were to measure what matters? That is, measure our sensations, emotions and thoughts? What if we went beyond just heart rate awareness? Would this make even a bigger impact on our trading success?
Our students in our Pathfinder course tell us an emphatic yes.
We in fact “measure what matters”. For our private coaching clients, our Master Mind group and our course members, we provide our Mind Metrics application that is the basis for training exercises that increase our self-awareness. This measures important behaviors and constructed variables.
What I want to show you in the graph below is just one set of metrics that compare our S.E.T (“interoception”) scores to other areas of our performance. Here is an example from our application that shows the correlation between just one variable – our state of mind and our P&L.
Our trading clients come from a wide range of “interoception”. What we have discovered is that as this awareness improves, so does their trading decision process.
Do you want to improve your self-awareness? You can do it with this simple trick. Simply set an alarm for every 30 minutes or so. When it goes off, immediately notice your physical sensations…such as your heart rate, muscle tension, posture, stomach and so forth. If this is new to you, simply take an awareness trip from your “nose to your toes”. Write down what you notice at that time.
What else is going on? Managing a live trade? Waiting for a setup? Note that in your journal. The important thing is NOT to change a thing. Just become aware without judgment. Judging, feeling self-critical or trying to change a physical sensation at this point will pollute your awareness gathering. So for now, just awareness and acceptance and be curious about what comes up.
A veteran broker and floor trader, Rich went from the "worst trainee trader ever", to building one of the most consistently profitable options trading firms on the Pacific Exchange by training his traders using neuroscience. Rich also holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, a B.A. in Philosophy, and is a graduate of the Gestalt Institute in San Francisco along with Master’s training in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).
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