There’s an interesting thing that happens in our lives when we decide on goals. We feel crisper and sharper. Our senses are honed. We begin to measure the world by a different barometer.
Most of us are accustomed to mundane goals and how to measure them: Lose weight; get on a scale. Save for a big ticket item; forgo the smaller indulgences and watch your bank account rise. Start a trading career and watch your trading account grow. And we are also familiar with the flip side of intention: forget this whole idea; it’s too much work and I want that chocolate velvet cheesecake NOW! Or that new CD, great shirt, tickets to a concert, or any number of smaller distractions and satisfactions.
The fact is, trading with intention is hard to do. Too often we interpret it as unreasonable quantities of patience and denial. And it seems especially hard if our goals are more intangible: make a lot of money, more free time, quit my job. The intentional trader needs to truly define what their reason for trading is and have a clear understanding of the realities of their goals. By this I mean to define what is “lots of money” or “free time”. What does it look like? What will it do for you? Why do you want it?
We tend to think of intention as focused will. As having the right stuff, the sternness and self-control to consistently mold our trading to some larger, and usually delayed, goal. The truth is that sometimes focused will is simply not enough. Not merely because we are human and filled with emotions, though that’s certainly part of it, but because we tend to operate using only a small part of our energies. We get so used to acting on the surface of our lives, so used to coping with the myriad demands of trading, work, family, friends, and the time it takes to walk the dog, pay the bills, and take out the trash, that we too often forget to knock on the doors of our inner strengths and abilities and say: hey, wake up, I need some help.
The whole point of having some guide system is that you have support, so that you don’t have to rely on sheer will-power to keep you on track, to help you remember. If you boost your emotional, self-appreciating, and psychological strength, you can take the load off self-discipline as a trading principle.
What it IS ?
Truly trading with intention involves engaging all of your energies and strengths, not merely your mental ones. It means activating your inner strengths, however you get them out of bed. It means both affirming what you want and being satisfied with being on the journey. It means honoring your intention, even if you have not yet reached your goal. Trading with intention means pushing your comfort zone, but it also means appreciating every nuance of trading, and appreciating yourself for being conscious as you do it. It means recognizing that the act of envisioning, that moment of connecting with your intention, counts as much as the more visible trades that you win or lose. The first step to making your trading career successful is imagining it so, and envisioning yourself as a trader.
Trading with intention means persistently and actively affirming your goals. Not merely so that you don’t forget or diminish their value when you face a challenge, but so that you are intimately connected with both process and outcome.
Your Commitment to the Process
Make a change in how you relate to this process. Instead of merely measuring the outer barometers (ticks, points, money, account size), focus on your inner ones. Commit regular time with yourself evaluating the more subtle contexts of your trading. This does not mean fretting over why you went short into a line of support, or how impossible it seems to get ahead. Instead, it means looking how you truly approach your trading as it relates to your goals and giving yourself a regular report card, and, as hard as it is for some of us to do, giving yourself a pat on the back when you honor your intention, even if you haven’t yet reached your final goals.
Stop muttering to yourself, or chastising yourself for lapses. Close your eyes, envision yourself at your goal, and take a few deep breaths of success. Put your energy into reinforcing your trust that you truly can do this. A part of you is already where you want to be. It just time to open up and take the next step.
Keep reminding yourself that each time your affirm your intention, each time you commit to the process, you are actually doing something positive. The process itself clears away your fears. It fills you will a new sense of what trading can be for you and your family and why you can do it if you really want to. Don’t just wish you could trade with intention. Take the first step and trust where you will lead yourself.