How to USE Struggle to Greatly Improve Your Trading

In our most recent post  I discussed how to use your thinking to stop struggling. A very perceptive blog reader by the name of Ryan commented on that post and had these valuable insights:

I’m going to be a bit of a contrarian and challenge your premises that the complete removal of ‘struggle’ from the equation is possible. Many will read this article and agree with your comments but the reality of tomorrow and another losing trade will find ‘struggle’ front and centre. My view is that you need to confront and make room for struggle as opposed to seeking to eliminate something that will wait for the next opportunity to rear itself. For me this was recognising the lack of confidence that I had in myself. Once I started to get in touch with where the feelings of anxiety were coming from, I was able to truly deal with my issues and how they were effecting my trading.

First let me say a thank you to Ryan for these insights. And second let me say that I completely agree. The post I wrote was only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin, is using the experience of struggle to dig deep and learn more about yourself. This, as Ryan mentions, can allow you to uncover the underlying issues that are affecting your trading, thereby taking something seemingly negative and benefiting out of it.

The way to do that is to first become aware of those feelings that you don’t like- those feelings of struggle and hardship and frustration. Awareness is a very powerful thing and it builds its own momentum. Then ask yourself: am I feeling like this because I’m thinking negatively, or are there deeper issues at play here? In my experience, it’s always a combination of the two. You may be thinking in limited ways, believing you’re not capable of succeeding or feeling like a helpless victim, but you may also have real deficiencies in certain trading skills. In the first case, you can choose to change this and think much more empowering thoughts that will decrease the feeling of struggle, and in the second case the feeling of struggle and frustration may be giving you great information- i.e. you need to build more skills in some area.

So in this case not only can you choose to think differently to change your experience, but you can also use the experience as a sort of trading psychologist that uncovers hidden problem areas. And once you’ve pinpointed the problem, you can set out to tackle it- with a positive empowering mindset.

That’s how you use struggle to keep moving forward and progressing quickly. The areas that are causing you to struggle are often the ones where you have things you need to work on. The struggle becomes like a compass to find and address the deeper issues. And these issues can be deficiencies in specific technical skills, or they can be limiting beliefs about yourself.

But think about what you’re doing here. Is it really so different than what I talked about in the first blog post? In one case you change your thinking to change your feelings and experience, and in the other case you use your feelings and experience to detect areas to improve on. In both cases, you choose to transmute the struggle and frustration to something else. Either a more empowering way to view and experience the world, or a way to uncover the underlying issues you need to work on. Often these are interrelated and intertwined. And in both cases, your trading benefits and the struggling eventually subsides.  Ultimately, you’re always creating your own reality. The question is whether you’re doing it unconsciously and staying stuck in negative states, or whether you’re taking control through awareness and empowering thinking.

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