When you sign papers to open a futures account, you understand, because they’ve made it very clear, that there are no limits to what you can lose. And when you decided to open the account in the first place, you were thinking, no doubt, that there were no limits to what you could make. Okay, it cuts both ways in trading. And that’s the glory and the sometimes tragedy of the trading story.
So too, I think, in life. There are no limits to what we can lose or gain. But we do, sometimes wisely and sometimes unwisely, limit our losses and our gains. Usually these limits are self-imposed. Consider some of the self-limiting constructs we create and impose on ourselves.
Certain thoughts pass through our minds erecting barriers to success. I could never do that. That’s just not me. It can’t be done. It’s not possible. They won’t let me. It’s not the right time. I’m too old. I’m too young. It’s too good to be true. It’s already been done. It’s too hard. It’s too much work. It’s too unpredictable.
To all this we add the ever ready what ifs, maybes, and sooner or laters. What if I’m wrong? What if it goes against me? Maybe I’ll lose my job. Maybe my wife is cheating on me. Sooner or later I’ll fail at trading. Sooner or later we all die. And on and on we go creating boundaries where they don’t need to be.
Let’s flip this around and look at it the empowering way. What do you want? What do you really want? Assume that you can have it and figure out how to get it. What is the price in effort, time, money, and so forth to achieve what you want? After considering the cost, if you still want it, decide to pay the price, and go for it step by step. You’ll get feedback and can alter your course along the way.
When there are no limits, you realize you are the one who is writing your life story. Why not write the story of your trading over the next year? Take a day a year from now and imagine yourself where you want to be. Write a short script describing the day. How did you get to this point? What did you start doing differently? What mentors did you seek out? What skills did you develop? What did you believe in order to achieve this?
Now examine where you are in the present. What are you doing right? How can you make certain you continue doing more of this? What mistakes are you making? How can you correct these mistakes? What did you learn from today’s trading? How do you want to trade tomorrow? What do you need to believe to trade like this? As traders this is a very good exercise to do at the end or beginning of every day and at the end or beginning of every week. The goal is to do more of what works and do less of what doesn’t work. The goal is good—not perfect—trading.