I’ve never broken a bone in my body. Not one single time have I had to wear a cast, splint or had a doctor set those ever so important components that hold us together. My 5-year-old daughter has. A few months ago, my wife had the idea to upgrade our swing set in the backyard for our two daughters. The old one was left by the previous owners eight years ago and despite my do-it-yourself skills over the years putting it back together at least a dozen times we were simply ready to move on from it and install something bigger, better and presumably inducing more joy into our sweet children’s hearts. After 8 hours of watching my brother-in-laws put the swing set together (seriously, if you think assembling IKEA furniture is torture this would be like a stretching rack in the 14th century) it was time for the kids to play. The 1st night was a blast, they swung on the swings, slid down the slide and my oldest did use the monkey bars.
Day 2. I’m at my office downtown Salt Lake City and get a phone call from my wife who’s clearly distressed. My oldest daughter has broken her wrist. The culprit? The monkey bars. Every thought of regret flashed through my brain. Why would I install a 7 foot high play set for a 2 and 5 year old? Was I just a bad dad? 2 days later, she’s putting stickers on her cast and showing it off to her friends. 6 weeks later cast is off and her wrist is healed as good as new. Kids bodies are amazing at bouncing back.
Today. While outside soaking up the sun, reading a wonderful book and enjoying the background noise of my dogs running around and my kids playing on the swings I hear a call from across the yard. “Dad, can you help me with the monkey bars?” So I jump into action. I go over, and ask her, have you tried the monkey bars since you broke your wrist? No, I’m too scared, because I broke my wrist. My friends can do them but they never broke their wrist so they’re not scared. But I need some help. Ok, this is my time to shine, I can simply be there as moral and coaching support. If you didn’t know, dad’s love teaching their kids how to do dangerous things and overcome their fears. I’m in the zone.
Me: Go ahead hon, I’ll be right here to catch you.
Her: yeah but, what if you don’t?
Me: I will.
Her: yeah but…
Me: Sweetheart, let’s just try one or two bars and we’ll see how you do then I’ll grab you and start over.
After a whole lot of convincing and jokes to try and distract her from her fears….she started to try. It didn’t happen right away but after 20 minutes or so she found her groove and safely and swiftly navigated those monkey bars from one end all the way down to the next. She has her mojo and confidence back.
In the trading world, I see this same basic scenario play out from time to time. A trader will take a bad trade, have a bad month or major drawdown. It’s like my daughters broken bone. Even after time heals the physical wound (loss of money), there’s still the psychological and emotional scars hidden deep down.
Most traders will tell you that :
1) you need a solid trading system but
2) you need the ability to apply that system consistently to do well with markets.
The second part is the harder part. There are countless strategies that work in the market. It’s the implementation that can be harder for a trader. Some call it confidence. Some call it moxy. Some call it swagger. Some think of it as a zen like mental state where you’re “in the zone.” Whatever label you use, it’s important to be cognizant of this ever so important part of trading.
If you have a trading partner, talk to them regularly, and honestly about what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been doing it. Ask for feedback. If you don’t, you can “check-in” on yourself daily by going through a list of questions and providing honest feedback. Did you follow your rules today? Did you have a productive day? Were there mistakes made? Did you physically take care of yourself? Did you affirm your long-term goals? You can make up any series of ‘check-ins’ that you like. It’s a great way to confirm you’re sticking to your goals.