Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Transform Adversity Into Challenge"

So far, lots of great strategies (chapters) in the book I'm currently reading to improve my mental game, titled High Performance Trading by Steve Ward.  There was one chapter from the book that seems timely given the recent posts, and is called "Transform Adversity Into Challenge."

The key to success is failure
This chapter starts off with a story about the Olympic triathlete Hamish Carter who said, "The key to success is failure."  His failure in Sydney was critical.  It gave him the mental toughness and the drive to make changes that resulted in him winning the 2004 Athens games.

The author later goes on to explain an assignment he had to work with some traders in Chicago.  They were having difficulties and he discovered that they were all focusing specifically on two items:
  • Their P&L
  • What was going wrong or not working
Oh, well doesn't that sound very familiar to the readers of this blog?

"Triangle of Strength"
So what he taught these traders is to start focusing on the following dimensions, which should also look familiar based on the theme of the past few posts on this blog.

Here's an excerpt from that chapter:

1) Positives - What is going well?
It is so easy, when you are having a tough time, to become overly focused on what is not working.  And if, in some respects, we get what we focus on, then this leads to you just getting more of what you are already getting – and don’t want!  A shift in focus to looking for what is going well, and what is working, is not easy. But it is doable; and it is a skill that needs to be developed as a part of tough thinking.

2) Strengths - What are your strengths and how can you best utilize them to help you in this situation?

...all traders have particular strengths, and these ought especially to be called on times of difficulty or weakness.  They could be strengths in the areas of knowledge, execution skills, trading ability, resilience, motivation and persistence, staying focused, work ethic, composure, strategy development – what have you.  These are critical resources.

3) Controllables

In difficult times, when the pressure is on, it can become easy to focus too much on factors that are outside of your control, particularly, in trading terms, the market.  Blaming and complaining about market conditions does nothing to improve your performance – it might only help in the short-term in you having a quick moan and feeling better!  Performance is always enhanced when focus is on a well-designed process and the process is controllable.  This is no different when times are tough.  You need to create your processes, identify what is controllable and then focus on those aspects of your performance.
His exercises are generally a series of straightforward questions revolving around a particular "strategy" under discussion, but it will require considerable time and focus to address properly.  I believe this can be done effectively only by writing not by "thinking it through" as I read. 

There are so many relevant exercises and practical strategies I can incorporate from the book into my trading, but I know it will take time.  The journey to consistent profitability marches on...

1 comment:

Tomross58 said...

Hey Grove,,

Interesting post and I may consider getting that book myself. I agree that many of the things you mentioned have been talked about here. Especially interested on the chapter on strengths,,,,heck all three chapters you mentioned there are eye opening and brings to mind some of what Flowtastical has talked about.
These things must be understood and conqured to make progress. Very interesting,,Thanks for sharing