Posts Tagged ‘being in the moment’
After a busy week of trading and coaching, I thought a diversion might be nice on a Saturday morning. A diversion but still something worthwhile to see.
Many of you know that I made my living as a musician before getting involved with trading and coaching. I’ve written about my experience as a musician and the skills I learned that were incorporated into my trading. What I really like about a live performance is the energy that is generated by players, the ensemble and the audience. Pat Metheny’s Minuano (Six Eight) is one of the best examples of that energy.
Crank your speakers. This is worth it. Enjoy!
People that know me and my coaching know that I’m a big believer in intuition. I’ve written about being in the moment as an important aspect of trading. Some of the best traders rely on that unexplained something that puts their trading above everyone else. One of my favorite stories is that of George Soros and his famous trade shorting the Bank of England. Yes he had a lot of technical and fundamental evidence to back him, but to hear him tell the story, the final call was a gut feeling he had that helped him place nearly 100% of his fund on the bet the British Pound was going to take a dive. He made over $1 billion for his trouble.
That’s the power of intuition. The ability to see beyond the perceived. So how intuitive are you? Would you like to get an idea? This article by Vishen Lakhiani from finerminds.com asks the question How Intuitive Are You?
I took the quiz and scored a 45. There’s room for improvement but I’m pretty proud of my score. What’s your score? Post your score in the comment section of the blog. I’d be interested in knowing.
As a trader and a coach, I believe that it’s not what you use that matters but how you use it. People that have worked with me know that this is kind of a mantra for mine. Thousands of methods and indicators are available to traders. To my knowledge no one indicator stands out exceptionally above the rest.
This due to the fact that the very core of technical analysis is based on what has already occurred. Indicators are built on the same two pieces of past information, price and time. And no matter how we manipulate the past data, we will never know what the future will hold. This leaves us with only one time frame to focus on. The present. The here and now. This is where we can have the greatest impact on our trading results.
I’ve written about being in the moment in previous postings and it’s not always easy. But the ability to be in the moment, to create that space that is optimal for you when you are trading is far more important than understanding how an indicator is calculated. This is why I wanted to share with you this video of Vishen Lakhiani from Finerminds talking about entering a state of Flow. I love the definition he puts forth for Flow:
Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. It is a state of supreme creativity.
As you watch the video, think about your trading as the business and how some of Vishen’s suggestions might be applied in that business. This is a great presentation.
I’m a big believer that what we know doesn’t necessarily need to be ‘the truth.’ We have the ability of changing the way we look at, think about, or feel about something in our lives. As a coach I talk a lot about managing expectations as one of the few things that we have control of when we trade. So when I found this TEDxPhoenix presentation from designer Kelli Anderson talking about challenging a person’s expectation, I felt it was worth while sharing with all of you.
Some things to think about as she goes through her presentation. What are the expectations you have about your trades? What are some ways you could challenge those expectations such that you effect your trading results? Where is the trading rut you’ve gotten yourself in?
There is no ‘right’ answer. Just something to ponder.
I’m a big believer in being in the moment. As I noted in a previous posting, I became very aware of being in the moment as a musician. One of my first trading ‘aha’ moments was realizing that the very thing I loved about performing served me equally as well as a trader.
Depending on what type of trading you do, these moments are going to come in different ways. As a day trader, it’s very easy to make the analogy to a musician. But I’ve spoken to clients that are painters and sculptures and their work isn’t less in the moment even though the end product may take weeks to accomplish. The bottom line is that we all could take some time to understand what is happening in the here and now, and not think about what has occurred of what might yet be.
So I was delighted to find this article by Melanie Greenberg, PhD, on the Nine Essential Qualities of Mindfulness. Her first two qualities are focus on the present moment and being fully present.
As a trader, the more I’m aware of what is going on with me right now, the better I’ll trade. By focusing on the moment and being present we stand to have a better and more fulfilling trading experience.
I started learning about myself and who I wanted to be when I decided to make music a full-time profession. I was in corporate America during the dot Com era of the early 90’s. After the 3rd computer sales organization closed on me I took a very hard look at what I wanted to do with my life. I had dabbled with music as a side line for a number of years and decided that now was the time to get serious about my craft.
Becoming a professional musician is not for the faint of heart (gee, where have I heard that before?) Going into it I had some romanticized ideas about being a musician and living the musician life. In full disclosure, there were some excellent perks to the gig. I got to play some interesting venues, meet and played with some great players, was the keeper of my own hours and generally had a great time. The down side was that the gigs didn’t always come through, venues were sometimes questionable, audiences were occasionally less than cordial and the money wasn’t always the best.
But through the trials and tribulations of being artistically and financially viable as a musician, I learned some very important lessons about who I wanted to be.
I learned about being in the moment. Not concerning myself with what was in the past and not worrying about what was in the future.
I learned that mistakes are only mistakes if you acknowledge them as mistakes. ‘Mistakes’ became a way for me to express myself in new and interesting directions. Sometimes they worked brilliantly and sometimes they were a complete and utter disaster. More times than not, the only people who could tell were my band mates and my wife.
I learned about not passing judgment. If I walked off the bandstand thinking I stunk up the joint inevitably someone would come up to me and express what a great performance they just heard.
I learned that perceptions are our own personal reality and often have nothing to do with the reality of the rest of the world.
So what do these lessons have to do with trading? Quite a bit. These are the exact lessons I needed to apply as a trader. When I’m asked, “when did you think you ‘made it’ as a trader?”, I have to say it’s when I realized that being in the moment, changing my attitude about ‘mistakes’, not passing judgment on my performance, and realizing that my perception of the market may not be reality were part and parcel to the success of being a trader. These are just as important as having a way of identifying opportunities, proper money management, and risk assessment (more on these topics at a future posting.)
The Art of Trading comes with the practice of these lessons. If a magic pill existed that allowed me to live in the moment, or change my attitude about mistakes, I would buy it in a heartbeat and stock up on the supply. For better or worse, I don’t know of such a wonder drug and therefore have to rely on myself to make those adjustments.
The good news is that those adjustments are possible but they’re not quick and they don’t come without sweat. Those adjustments are going to be a topic of future postings.