Why must it be this way? Before you read me, you got to learn to see me. Free your mind and the rest will follow…”Free Your Mind” sung by En Vogue
Theresa who never smiles called me late last night to tell me that I never talk to her anymore.
Of course I don’t.
She knew this over two years ago because I ended the whole thing—released her with love to her higher power and greater good. I used to take every call from her, but I stopped a long time ago. Even when I was writing, trading or doing other work, I answered the phone and spoke with her. She went from one bad relationship to another, and I tried to help her find the courage and dignity to walk away and get her own life and identity without a man. No matter what I said or did, it was never enough.
Why did I try to help her?
Because of my own personal beliefs and perceptions! I perceived her as helpless and struggling. Every time I offered suggestions, she became even needier. The telephone calls escalated in frequency and intensity. It got to the point where I truly didn’t want to hear anymore of the same stuff on a different day. The more I tried, the more demanding she became. She accused me of never having time to listen to her, of always working and shutting her out.
Beliefs are fungible. They change with time and growth. In the markets, you are trading your beliefs and you are flexible about them—ready to change when the markets tell you that your beliefs are not working for you.
You learn a lot about your beliefs by losing.
You learn that what you believed was wrong and you change. If you are not able to be flexible with your beliefs, you will remain rigid in the face of price that is telling you that you are just plain, flat-out wrong! It’s OK to make mistakes because they are your greatest teachers. They teach you not to make them again.
“Another observation on mistakes is that the trader who is right in his analysis 60% of the time and makes mistakes in less than 10% of his trades will make money. The trader who is right in his analysis 80% of the time and makes mistakes 20% of the time will lose…Roy W. Longstreet, “Viewpoints Of A Commodity Trader”
I know now that Theresa was an energy vulture because I allowed her to be. The only way I could remove myself from a situation where I was in drawdown at the sound of her voice was to detach from her—firmly and with love. It was a great gift to each of us. She went on to find other people to listen to her, and I felt recharged and free. I cut my losses and ran. Theresa went on to find other people, and I went on with my life.
Losing positions and losing people are energy sinks.
They drain you, disable you and cause you to lose focus on other things because you are so focused on them. Last week, we had a challenge with our trade in Las Vegas Sands. We got stopped out for an $.84 loss on an early downdraft, and then watched the stock roar back. Like Theresa. Having been stopped out, she called to try to engage with me. The focus of many of you is still on this one losing trade. Memory of this stop out is fresh in your minds, while winning trades are both expected and ignored.
I know what it feels like to lose and so do you.
Losses are seen by the brain as 2.5 times greater than they actually are! For example, if you have one position that is up 10% and the other that is down 10%, you are breakeven (minus the vig and platform costs, of course). But it doesn’t FEEL that way. You FEEL like you are down 25%. That is your brain playing tricks on you. Because you feel down, you focus on feeling down. It’s hard to stop thinking about it because the rat brain loves drama. It will eat away at you and take your energy. It’s like Theresa. An energy vampire. There is a saying that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The more broken someone or something is, the more attention he, she or it gets from you.
Your destiny as a trader is up to you.
You can choose to focus on the positions that drain you or those that uplift you. One of the cardinal rules of good trading is to do more of what is working, and less of what isn’t. Focus on your winners and let them ride. Cut your loosing positions because these are your energy vultures, your squeaky wheels, or your Theresa who never smiles.
Remove yourself from negativity because it will eat at you and drive you into a state of DIS-ease. You will become stressed and sick by focusing on losing people, places and things. Stay focused, stay positive, stay vitally awake alert and in the moment. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. All you really have is today, the present. Why do you think we call the present a gift?
It’s time to put away childish thoughts and actions. It’s time to grow up, take personal responsibility for what was and let it go. Move onward and upward on the path of personal responsibility and freedom. Free your mind from the clutter, negativity and detritus of the past and those who will try to bring you down, keep you down and drain your energy.
Freedom is like taking a bath — you have to keep doing it every day…..Florynce Kennedy
Dr. Janice Dorn is the only Ph.D. (Brain Anatomist) and M.D. (Board-Certified Psychiatrist and Addiction Psychiatrist) in the world who actively trades, writes commentary on the financial markets and manages a subscription-based website. Dr. Dorn has been trading the gold futures markets full time since 1993. She has written over 1000 articles on trader and investor psychology, and mentored over 600 traders and investors.She writes on all aspects of trading psychology and provides a real-time trading service on her website: TheTradingDoctor.com.