Picture a guy walking a tightrope over the Grand Canyons. What do you think is happening in that person’s mind? Do you think he is thinking about falling? Do you think he is thinking about reaching the end of the line ASAP? Do you think his attention is strictly on the process of keeping his balance and staying present with each and every move he makes?
The answer should be crystal clear. His attention has to be strictly on the process –the only thing that is in his control.
If you think about it, it’s the same thing in other endeavors. The archer who wants to hit the center of the bullseye will likely struggle; the UFC fighter who is worried about getting hit won’t have a good sense of anticipation… he is going to get hit; the trader who is focusing too much on the money will inevitably take lousy trades. And the good ones he has on, he’ll probably mismanage them.
Resistance and difficulty come from craving, from wanting too hard. It’s a result of approaching an endeavor with a dualistic outcome-based mentality.
But when we focus on the part that is in our control (the process) instead of the part that is out of our control (the outcome), our actions become faithful to our goals.
Again, process and behavior are things you can control. Outcomes are things you cannot control. If you want to build a successful trading career, you absolutely have to understand this.
We all want to make x amount of money in the market, but you don’t get to decide what the market’s going to give you. Your process, by contrast, is something that you can control; it is the thing you focus on in order to achieve your goals of earning x amount of money in trading.
For instance, you might set an intention that you want a certain amount of money. That is your intention. You don’t know if the market is going to give that to you, but you put the intention out there anyway. And every day, you say to yourself, “what can I do today that can set me closer to my intention?”
Then you forget the intention, you forget the money, and you strictly focus on your process.
Of course, you’re never going to consistently get the specific amount that you’ve decided upon, but your process is going to help you get as close to it as possible.
In my own trading, when I stopped thinking about money and started focusing on my process, my whole experience changed. I suddenly realized that my wishing, hoping, and wanting was actually a grotesque misuse of my time and mental energy.
Furthermore, I realized that this habit of obsessing over the outcome doesn’t work. If you focus on the money, you will obsess about every single tick; you will have the tendency to check your positions every minute of the day. You will tend to take every outcome personally, and you will want to mess with your trades while they’re still on.
This is not a way to approach trading!
I’m sure you’ve been through the following scenario at some point: you go through a week where you trade well; you’ve had a lot of winners so this begets confidence and, as a result, you keep doing all the right things. You’re on a roll.
But then you start getting a string of losses. From this point there are two things that you can do:
1. What happens most of the time is that this string of losses spoils everything! Your mind starts to doubt, judge, weigh, and you start deviating from your proven process. You start thinking about the money you lost; the money that you don’t have and need. And inevitably, you lose your rules.
2. You could say, “I’m proud of myself, I’ve been following my plan to the letter. Whatever the results, I will keep doing the right thing over what simply feels comfortable. Because I know it’s the right thing to do.”
By choosing this alternative, you are building the results you want and the capacity to follow your plan during good or bad times.
Again, you control your entry, your target, your stop loss, your position size –this is your proven process. You also control your behavior, so that you can follow that process.
If you want to make money in trading, don’t focus on the money. Instead, focus on those two things. These are the building blocks to achieving consistent profitability in trading.