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Trading and Life Balance

Written by Russ Rausch, Founder of Vision Pursue

One of the biggest struggles for traders is enjoying their personal lives while staying on top of the markets. This can be especially true when trading Asian and other overseas markets.

This issue isn’t only about enjoying life more, it’s about resting and recovering to trade at your best over a long period of time.

The following picture entitled “Why your dog is happier than you” illustrates the problem:

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The picture implies we can’t enjoy or focus on what we’re doing because our minds tend to wander or become cluttered with automatic thoughts.

To create a trading and personal life balance, we must first understand the mental mechanisms that create automatic thoughts and emotions.

Automatic Thoughts - We don’t pick the large majority of our thoughts, they are produced automatically. They cause us to ruminate on the past and future; and they are largely negative. Psychologists say that the mind produces eight negative thoughts to every positive thought.

Automatic Emotions - We also don’t pick our emotions. They are the result of automatic neurotransmissions and hormone releases. These chemicals are produced by the brain in response to what happens to us and what we think about.

You can’t just decide to have different thoughts and emotions; you need to train the part of your mind that produces them. When trained properly, your mind will produce thoughts and emotions in a more productive manner. You’ll also be able to have more control over your attention when your mind wants to wander…or wonder.

Mental training – While famous traders like Ray Dalio and Paul Tutor Jones have spoken openly about doing mental training, most traders have never done it. While you may be producing good results without it, how much better could you be doing with it? And how much more could you be enjoying your success?

Mental training is not easy, but it is simple and requires very little time. Here are two things anyone can start with:

  1. Meditation: People often fail at meditation because they don’t understand it. A good meditation practice is simply focusing attention in particular ways for a few minutes a day.
  2. Emotional Response: Most of us get lost in our emotions or suppress them. The proper response is to see them as automatic chemical projections designed to help you. Then to experience them, knowing they’ll pass, and then focus on a productive response.

Implementing these two basic steps will start to improve your automatic thoughts and increase your ability to focus. This will naturally improve your ability to balance your trading life and your personal life.

Russ Rausch is the Founder of Vision Pursue or VP. VP does mental training for pro sports teams and businesses including trading firms.

 

RISK DISCLAIMER: Trading in futures products entails significant risks of loss which must be understood prior to trading and may not be appropriate for all investors. Past performance of actual trades or strategies cited herein is not necessarily indicative of future performance. The information contained herein is provided to you for information only and believed to be drawn from reliable sources but cannot be guaranteed; Phillip Capital Inc. assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Phillip Capital Inc. or its staff.