Trading the Dream: Are we addicted to the fantasy?
Many of us come to trading because it has the potential of fulfilling our dreams. Trading does not require the approval of our parents, family or community. Trading does not require cooperation from our boss, our employees or our shareholders. Trading does not require us to convince anyone of anything. It is all under our own control. For those of us who have been frustrated by dealing with other humans in our ecosystem, trading has the potential to free us from all of these human constraints and give us significant income to fulfill our fondest wishes.
Let’s take a closer look at what actually happens when we have the thoughts that say “I’ll be satisfied when I succeed at XYZ.” What this creates is a process of hoping that we can be happy, wealthy, successful or consistently profitable at some time in the future. This process creates a number of neural patterns that we call NEMES or neuro meta-structures. When we kick off these NEMES with hope for a better future, and we do this often enough, these neural connections become wired together in a way that when triggered, feel better in and of themselves.
This trading dream, like any drug, makes us feel better in the moment. But the unintended consequences of the process are that it is more difficult to actualize that same successful future. In order to actualize the successful future, we need to risk the present dream that feels so good and replace it with real data, hard work, testing, and excellent execution. This effort creates the possibility that we may be unable to actualize our dream and we may fail.
Thus we stay in the process of hoping for a better future, rather than creating a better future.
Are you willing to risk the “dream” in order to make it come true?
To build a better trader’s state of mind the first step is increased awareness of the fantasies. You can do this by carrying a small note card or notebook with you and writing down every time that you are hoping for a better feeling in the future. What feeling are you looking for? What event could trigger this feeling? How often do you have these thoughts? How many different events are critical for future positive experiences?
Notice how good the fantasies feel. The next step after your increased awareness is to notice the wonderful experience you have with these fantasies. How does it feel? What kind of sensation go with it? What thoughts create and sustain this pleasant feeling?
Next, notice when similar experiences were the result of real life accomplishments. What were you doing? What did you accomplish? How much effort, time and skill did it take to make the accomplishment real? What obstacles did you overcome? How good did that feel? Stay with that memory and recall what you did to make it all happen. Feel the satisfaction and again recall your effort. Effort, satisfaction, effort satisfaction. Repeat this cycle of experience over and over again in your imagination.
Now, have the same old fantasy about trading success in the future and notice how the experience has shifted. It is not tied to your time, skill effort and accomplishments. It is just a hollow fantasy. You may also notice how you now are eager to do the research, test the strategy, or work on smoother execution to produce the same real life accomplishments that were missing in the fantasy.
This process works effectively when you have good coaching support. But you can also do this on your own by using your own commitment to trading success and creating satisfaction when you make real progress. This process can turn hype and hope into internal harmony by recognizing the power of the present moment.
Can we support your shift from hope to progress? Check out our courses, workshops, ebooks, guided visualizations and coaching programs..
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).