When I was growing up my parents didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Expectations were not high for me and I was doing a good job of living up to them. When my Mum died when I was just ten, things didn’t look great.
Like most people I had dreams, but no idea how to achieve them.
I often wondered if I had a different upbringing whether my outcomes would have been different. But you shouldn’t really ponder too much on things like that, as it’s unknowable. Perhaps without that start, I wouldn’t have been motivated to reach for better?
But is there a methodology that can guide you, a thing that will point you in the right direction?
Your guiding lights
It took me a few years to work out, but when difficult decisions came around I needed some guidance. Some decisions seemed like a bit of a coin toss, it wasn’t easy to decide between the payoff and risk on each one. Instead of making a decision, I would just freeze.
Half of this indecision I blame on my parents. They expected me to be compliant at all times and didn’t cut me much slack. Making a mistake was punished, so it was often better not to try. This was a mistake.
Don’t try to avoid making mistakes
Whether you are trading or just in life itself, you shouldn’t get punished or worry about making mistakes. Making the same mistake again and again endlessly is wrong, but making an initial mistake isn’t.
Making mistakes should be reframed as learning what doesn’t work. If you are not making mistakes, you are not learning. Go out and make some mistakes.
This more or less relates to the prior example. If you are going to make mistakes, you are going to have to get used to the feeling of being wrong, dusting yourself down and going again.
I once had some sales training where one part of the course covered dealing with rejection. Their view, each “No” is just another step towards a “Yes”. In trading, each loss is another step to the next win. You just make sure you get everything in balance.
When you realise that losing or making mistakes is just part of the game, you totally lose the fear of that happening. It’s enlightening.
Many things, including trading, are about looking for opportunities, not looking for problems.
When I give advice, whether in a video or an article like this. I have to somehow crunch down many years of experience into something more digestible. That leaves a few gaps that you can’t cover. Basically, you could pick holes in anything, but that’s well…… a bit negative. If you look for something negative, you will almost certainly find it in anything.
Your role as a trader is to find opportunities and you will eventually learn that positive people find opportunities and negative people problems. You learn the same in life. Fleeting moments where you made the right decision can make a massive difference long term. If you screw up, fair enough. Admit it, learn from your mistakes and move on.
If somebody is negative or acts negatively toward you, ignore it. Act to make sure they don’t form part of your life or narrative going forward. Negative thoughts are like a cancer that eats you within. It’s already eaten them, don’t allow it to spread.
Throughout my life, I’ve reached those same roadblocks I met early in my life, but I now know what to do. It’s an easier choice to make and a path to follow.
Everything is a meandering path and uncertainty is part of life. Learn to come to terms with that quickly, but keep looking for a way forward. Don’t dwell on mistakes, admit them and go again. You are going to make mistakes. But more importantly, look for the positive opportunities and you will find them.
One thing I use when I make a decision now is “Does this move me positively towards my long term goal?”. I proceed on that basis, even if the path can be a bit meandering.
When those key decisions come knocking on your door. Act consistently and, over time, you will start to see the benefit of these approaches.