Dropping This Habit Will Increases Your Confidence and Reduce Emotional Trading

By Yvan


There are many reasons why traders have a hard time staying profitable in the market. I’ve explored many of those reasons in-depth on this blog. But as of yet, I haven’t talked about our habit of measuring and comparing ourselves (and our lives) to others.

So, let’s talk about that…

Comparison–it’s so easy to slip into that mode; in fact, that’s what we seem to do best.

– We see pictures of our friends on Facebook and we think that our life isn’t exciting enough.

– We see a cousin land a nice high-paying job and we automatically feel bad about where we are at in our career.

– We see someone with a nice physique and we feel ashamed about ours.

– We see people brag about how they made a killing in the market, and we feel dissatisfied with our results; we start to doubt our own skills and trading method.

– We read about how people are traveling the world, learning new languages, going to exotic resorts and SPAs and restaurants, and we wonder why we are not.

Look, I myself am guilty of getting lost in such toxic comparisons. But not long ago, I’ve realized how comparing my life to others was negatively correlated to my levels of self-confidence, self-esteem, and clarity of mind, and positively correlated with my levels of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and general stress.

I’m guessing you’ve felt that as well?

You see, we spend too much of our time comparing our reality to an ideal, a fantasy, but inherently it is a comparison that makes no sense whatsoever.

Our obsession with comparison stems from our dualistic outlook on life. Our past experiences act as a lens through which we perceive things: we categorize, label, judge, compartmentalize– i.e., “this is good”; “this is bad.”

But that separation doesn’t really exist as an objective phenomenon– it is a construct of our mind. The world is just as it is and things aren’t objectively good and bad; instead, they have the meaning we attribute to them. And that meaning is shaped by the content of our minds–our acquired beliefs and inherent inclinations and preferences.

Shakespeare said it best:

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Now, that ability to discriminate, categorize, and compare is useful, it exists for a reason. But it’s also good to acknowledge that it is a by-product of our minds. And this acknowledgment allows us to see how we often misuse this ability.

For instance, “trader X is doing good and I’m not; therefore, there must be a problem with me or my system.”

That’s the typical way newer traders tend to measure their performance. They spend a lot of time comparing their performance to those of others, and as a result, their own performance suffers. Suddenly, they have doubts, their current trading system isn’t good enough, they want a better win rate, bigger profits, fewer losses, more opportunities… and it’s a cycle that has no end if one doesn’t learn to snap out of it.

Don’t get me wrong, it is good to question ourselves and the results we get now and then. But my point is that doing it by way of this toxic habit of comparing ourselves to an impossible ideal is not only damaging to our self-image, it’s also damaging to our bottom-line results.

We don’t all trade the same strategy, have the same capital at our disposal or trade the same markets. We don’t all possess the same level of experience to trade certain strategies, we don’t have the same emotional makeup or even the same ability to learn. Yet, we keep comparing ourselves to others even though there are little to no points of resemblance.

But okay. Let’s presume that we’re all alike right to how the very atoms of our bodies are organized. How would the comparison be useful? How is comparing your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20 even fair?

It’s not. It’s counterproductive because if you obsessively compare yourself to how someone else is today, you will always be losing. In the market, or in life outside of the market, you will never reach a point where you are better than others in every single possible way. It’s just not possible.

So, instead of playing a game that virtually guarantees that you’ll lose; a game where you’ll spend your time feeling miserable because you’ll never be good enough, why not just play another game? The game of comparing yourself to yourself.

In my opinion, this is the only comparison that truly makes sense because you can never be another person, you can only be a better version of yourself.

Enjoy the journey; learn about yourself as you keep trading; keep going amid failures and disappointments… in doing so, there will come a point where you will get better— compared to yourself.

If you are doing better than what you were doing yesterday, then you are doing great, regardless of how others are doing. Instead of trying to outperform John or Jane, focus your energy on being the very best version of yourself.

It’s a better strategy. Again, in my opinion.

In this field, there’ll always be people who have more money than you, who are more hard-working, have more talent, skills, and luck than you. It doesn’t matter. You are not competing against those people. If you want to see your biggest competition, take a look in the mirror.

So, next time you catch yourself using someone else as a benchmark for your trading performance or self-worth, just stop… and remind yourself how ineffective this strategy really is.

Instead, redirect your energy and attention to your own goals, what is realistically possible, and what is required to achieve those goals. And do it compassionately.

This is my message to you, and it’s also a great reminder for me.

 

—-

Memorable Lines From This Post

We spend too much of our time comparing our reality to an ideal, a fantasy, but inherently it is a comparison that makes no sense whatsoever.

Click to Tweet

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” ~ Shakespeare

Click to Tweet

How is comparing your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20 even fair?

Click to Tweet

Enjoy the journey; learn about yourself as you keep trading; keep going amid failures and disappointments… in doing so, there will come a point where you will get better— compared to yourself.

Click to Tweet

Share The Full Post


Take it Further with The Trading Psychology Mastery Course

"The course has impacted positively my trading by bringing awareness to my monkey mind habits during live trading. The awareness is impacting my life in general where I am making better choices. i would recommend it highly to every trader I know." ―Mandeep Gill