You’re standing five paces directly in front of the dragon, your sword is steady in your hand. It feels light, almost weightless, and ready. The stench of the hot dead breath washing over you is almost overwhelming. The gargantuan thick scale-armoured beast snaps its fierce head forward in a strike that would see you ripped to shreds, but in one heartbeat you sidestep! Spinning sideways on the balls of your feet and in an elegant manoeuvre you bring your hands together above your head, firmly gripping the hilt of your sword. The moment to strike, to slay this heartless dragon has finally.
Kittens! So cute, so cuddly, so fluffy!
Stay focused. Trading is not like fighting dragons (even though it would be cool if it were). None the less, allowing yourself to become distracted from what you are doing is a fatal flaw. We as traders very often allow ourselves to get distracted right when it matters most. I’ve touched on this before, but I believe that this stems from some form of low self-esteem and not believing that we are ‘worth’ the rewards that we receive. So right when it matters the most, we self-sabotage by allowing ourselves to get distracted by something. Distractions vary greatly. From looking at funny pics on 9gag, to texting that girl you like, they are everywhere. Not only do they come at the times most critical to making a decision about a trade, but they can linger on your mind for days and weeks at a time.
Trading takes a certain mind-set and focus that has levels. Trying to explain this might be tough, so bear with me. The first level is being present in the moment when you are sitting in front of your screens. Watching and paying attention. The numbers move and are telling a story, it is your job to figure out what they are saying. This takes focus and honestly, and can be exhausting. This is when 9gag and text messages are the most dangerous.
The second level is one of sustained focus. This is the focus that you have on the market even when you are not at your desk. This is what makes you go to bed early, and eat right, and fit exercise into your routine. Everything that you do is supportive of your mind-set and your goal to be a consistently profitable trader. It is not a job or a hobby, it is a lifestyle; and in truth, a challenging lifestyle to maintain. It takes work and a healthy amount of discipline. This is where you need to make sure you’re not partying too much and staying up late during the week. Your daily routine is paramount; the checking of the market before bed and the catching up on markets before your shower in the morning. Small things can disrupt these routines and you need to be mindful of the impact that they have on your trading.
Recently I decided to start studying for a CMT (which is a fancy way of saying that I am studying Technical Analysis). My challenge is to work in study time on a daily basis for the next year and a half, without sacrificing too much free time, nor disrupting my current routine. The trick here for me will be to find a way to balance all these things in such a way that my head and heart stay at peace. Anxiety is the enemy of consistent trading, so working on a schedule and forging new routines is necessary part so that I don’t feel stressed about exams, trading and things happening in my personal life.
I suppose the entire point of this random outlet of words is to reiterate the importance of staying focused and in the moment. Keeping your eyes on the prize and not allowing the silly things to distract you when you are most required to stay focused. “130 Sounds of Nature” and a set of earphones works for me; it leaves me to focus on what I am doing without outside influences distracting me.
Happy Trading! And remember, don’t look at the cute kitty cat when the dragon is about to eat you.
Here is the JSE Power Hour presentation from Trader Petri – A day in the life of a trader.
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