Thursday, July 30, 2009

Comforting the Afflicted, Afflicting the Comfortable

Readers of the case studies from my Psychology of Trading book know that I see the role of psychologist as comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. When people are down, the goal is to help them find their strengths and the energy and optimism to move forward. When they are too comfortable repeating old, unproductive patterns, the goal is to prod and serve as a catalyst for change.

Comforting and afflicting are a large part of this blog, as well. The goal is to help traders find the best within themselves. Sometimes that means nurturing traders along a learning curve; sometimes it means reminding them that they must never stop learning.

It's not a bad life philosophy: comfort ourselves by drawing upon our talents and skills when things are darkest; push ourselves a little outside our comfort zone when life is easy. As Neil Young realized, it's just as dangerous to rust away as to burn out. A good question to always be asking, in trading and in life: Where am I in my comfort zone?

1 comment:

JimRI said...

Dr. Brett,
Your posts and blogs are great therapy and the fact that are free is amazing. It would cost a small fortune to get this quality counseling from a private therapist.

That said, today I was slammed up against the wall of my comfort zone to my overall benefit. I was prepared for the day and the 1st. 1/2 hour unfolded just as I was prepared for. I had the trading window set up with stops in place. All I had to do was enter the limit price and push the button. The first opportunity came but something prevented me from acting. I could be wrong!. Then it took off and I knew it would pull back some to the MA 8 probably. It did, still something held me back. Then it continued its rise and I could have got on anywhere in there with some gain. But no, I watched. Then as it started rounding out about 10, the emotion to do something so as to not be a complete fool started to grip me. I realized that fortunately and this time did not act for a good reason, the run was over and I would have been a looser buying from the winners at the top.

Then, with the classical music playing softly behind me, I leanded back, put my feet up, closed my eyes and focuesd on what is going on with me and what I need to do to stop it.

First I realized that yes, I was afraid to make a mistake (not of course when the emotion of being a fool started to be stonger). Then after further reflection, and pacing the floor, the core truth came to me. I have an underlying belief or perception that I DON'T DESERVE TO WIN. This of course from a childhood that can be called abusive - that is beyond the scope of this forum.

Now, if I can put that aside, and take the actions I know will win, this will have been a great day in my life.