Do you remember the time when you were just getting started in trading and your mind was open to all the possibilities and you believed that you could achieve anything!?
Everything was exciting and new. You learned about price action, what the different patterns mean, how to use the indicators and how to combine charting principles to find the best trades… There were no limits to what you think you can achieve and when the first profitable trades happened, trading can easily take over one’s life and new traders often get obsessed with trading early on.
This is the beginner’s mind and it’s such a great place to act from because you are not aware of the limitations, you are open to everything that comes your way, you are curious and you approach trading with excitement and enthusiasm. It is similar to being a kid once again where you approach every day with curiosity and openness.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” – Shunryu Suzuki
But, of course, this romantic period does not last forever and when we realize that trading is hard and becoming a profitable trader takes time, the honeymoon phase quickly ends and the daily grind starts. And if the trader does not experience success, many will either quit, become increasingly frustrated or approach trading from a bad mindset. Once we realize how little we know and how much work is ahead of us, many traders look for shortcuts, namely system-hopping, falling for get-rich-quick promises, or getting into a gambler’s mindset.
The only way to becoming a good trader, or good in any field for that matter, is by slowly making constant progress, consistently working on yourself and your skills, avoiding noise and accepting that this will take a few months or years.
The question in this context is: How can we cultivate the beginner’s mind more often? How can we prime ourselves to enjoy trading and get easily motivated to keep pushing through rough times?
The easiest and most effective way that I have found is to experience the beginner’s mindset as much as you can. I enjoy starting new things and making new experiences regularly. Whether it is my newly developed passion for Yoga, long distance running, reading books from all sorts of directions (even genres which I have no initial interest in), trying out new activities and hobbies, or taking up a new class or skill… I find that branching out and putting myself into a position where I am a complete beginner once again can be liberating. We get to experience the early stages of skill-development once again, we learn to learn and we pick up new concepts that can be transferred to trading often quite easily.
Getting out of my head, being put in a position where I am the newbie student and I need to seek out for help can be such a great experience. Plus, when I see how little I know and how much behind I am, it humbles me and makes me realize that I am not the greatest.
Another benefit is that I get to experience the inspiring mindset of “where I will be when I just stick to it” once again. When I see the experienced runners or the super strong Yoga practitioners, it makes me want to push myself even harder because I want to get there as well. At the same time, I keep telling myself that I KNOW that I WILL reach this goal. There is no “what if”, no “maybe” and I don’t leave any room for doubts. I KNOW that I will get there because I went through the same processes time and time again, starting from Zero in a new field and slowly make my way to where I want to go.
The great thing is that it all loops back to trading. It reminds me of my early days as a trader where I would spend every waking moment obsessing about trading and it makes me want to re-learn certain trading skills and try out new things as well. I am reminded that there is always room for improvement and more things to learn. And you will gain confidence and self-respect.
Put yourself out there
So if you feel that you are stuck right now, go out and find something that has always interested you, but you never had the time – lame excuse.
Try out as many new things as you can and regularly challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone.
In today’s world, it has never been easier. And whether you join your local yoga class, sign up to learn an instrument, or join one of the many online courses (Masterclass.com, Coursera.org or Udemy), your excuses don’t count 😉
In our trading class, I encourage our students to try out new things and I even introduce new 30-day challenges outside of trading to motivate them to go beyond their comfort zone.