Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mind Matters

Recently I read Gary Mack Casstevens book Mind Gym, which deals with the importance of mental and psychological strength to achieve excellence in sports. Not surprisingly, the parallels to trading ring loud and clear throughout the novel. One specific section dealt with the characteristics that define mental toughness for athletes is especially relevant:

1) Competitive- "find a way to win" & "take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves"
2) Confident- can do attitude and avoid "self defeating thoughts"
3) Control- focus on what can control and don't allow things they can not control affect them
4) Committed- focusing time and energy on goals and dreams: "wanting it'
5) Composure- staying focused and dealing with adversity
6) Courage- willing to take risk: "only climbers get to the top"
7) Consistency- possessing an inner strength: no place for excuses

As I view the above list, these are many of the attributes that I spend most of my time trying to develop and sharpen throughout my trading career.

At the end of the section on the "Seven C's of Mental Toughness" we are left with a quote to ponder. In sports (and trading) "Competition is won or lost on the six-inch playing field between the ears."

As we near the end of the trading year, it is a time to focus on these keys and hone our skills for the year ahead.

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