How often have you said to yourself, “I need to more grateful. I need to be more thankful for what is in my life. I need to show gratitude to the people around me.”
How often do you perhaps make a point of expressing gratitude for the good in your life? Once a day? A week? A month?
How many times have you tried to instill this habit, but then find yourself falling out of the ‘habit’ and reverting back into your previous routine and busy life?
What does ‘being grateful’ actually mean, and why is it important, not only in terms of trading, but also your everyday lives?
If you google the word gratitude the following definition is given:
Gratitude – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
In other words – Expressing gratitude is the quality of being thankful for things as they currently are! Being thankful for the PRESENT MOMENT.
The last two words there are key, not just in the context of trading but also in wider life – the present moment.
Why is it important to feel good in the present moment?
Well first and foremost, when someone is in the mindset of expressing gratitude, it is virtually impossible to feel negative emotions. Why? Well simply put, you are expressing joy, happiness, contentment etc. for the current situation that you are experiencing. If you are feeling happy about something right now, how can you feel bad about it at the same time? Well, you can’t!
Secondly, we’ve all heard of the expression ‘like attracts like’. Well, in the case of emotions, I think this is particularly true. If you are feeling angry about something that happened, it is a lot easier to feel angry about something else that may have happened at a similar time as well, whether it warrants it or not. Conversely, if you feel happy about something that happened to you today, you will easily find something else to feel happy about also.
Furthermore, when you make a conscious choice to express gratitude, to feel happy, positive, abundant thoughts, it allows you accept negative events much more quickly, and more importantly allows you to simply let them go and move.
So how does expressing gratitude help my trading?
OK so let’s put it into context. Let’s say you have experienced a loss at the start of your trading session. You can either focus on the loss (the part of a trade that you can’t control) or you can express gratitude that you correctly followed your process and limited your risk (the part of a trade that you CAN control), and you just simply experienced a losing trade, which every trader will at some point in time. One of these choices will make you stew in regret, anger, fear and maybe frustration, whereas the other will allow you to be positive, calm, confident and relaxed.
Ask yourself this:- Which of those two emotional states would be more conducive to optimal trading?
See, the emotional states that negatively effect your trading performance are those described above; anger, fear, frustration and also greed. Given that we’ve already discussed that when you are expressing positive emotions it makes it extremely difficult for you to be in a negative mindset – if you can focus on expressing gratitude as often as possible, you are making it extremely difficult for the anger, fear, frustration and greed to take control over your behaviour.
See, every situation is open to interpretation, and in our day-to-day lives, 99% of the scenarios we experience (if not more), we could interpret in a positive way if we consciously tried to do so. Now, if we did really try to do this, then how much different would our day to day experiences be?
If you accepted a loss as a learning opportunity, and expressed gratitude for this lesson, how much more difficult would it be to revenge trade?
If you are already grateful for what you have today, and are content and happy with things as they are (thus not experiencing the feeling of ‘wanting more’?) – then how many less bad trades would you take from FOMO?
That’s great – but how can I implement it? I’ve tried before but this habit never sticks…
This is a common problem for many people in implementing a new habit. They feel really motivated for a short period of time, and have the will power to follow through for a few days, maybe even a few weeks or months, but eventually they fall back to the original pattern.
The first step is start seeing yourself as someone who IS grateful, not someone who needs to just ‘show’ gratitude. When you identify with the person you want to become, i.e. a person who shows behaviour traits that you desire, it becomes much easier to follow through on your habits in the long term.
The second step is to identify a behaviour or action that you do daily. E.g. when you brush your teeth in the morning, or you have your morning fruit juice/tea/coffee, assign it as a prompt for you to express your gratitude. For example, “When I pour my morning coffee, I will say 5 things that I am grateful for that happened yesterday“. Or “When I brush my teeth at night, I will say 3 things that I am grateful for that happened today“.
Basically what you want to do here is simply just bundle the desired behaviour that you ‘want’ together with the behaviour that you already ‘have’. Initially you may need a prompt, so you can put a post it note in the bathroom or coffee spot that says ‘gratitude’ s you remember, but over time you will automatically begin associating the behaviour you already do with the act of expressing gratitude. You can do this with beahviours that you repeat throughout the whole day.
Most importantly, if for one reason or another you forget to express gratitude one morning, don’t get annoyed with yourself. A goal is never failed because you missed one step.It is missed because you KEEP missing steps. So, instead ensure that you focus all of your energy and effort into getting back on track the next morning and ensure you make time to express gratitude.
Gratitude is something that everyone should strive to express and feel on a daily basis. Much research has been done on the subject of gratitude and the overwhelming opinion is that expressing and feeling gratitude on a regular basis has remarkably positive effects on a persons life. Given the potential upsides, and the fact that it costs nothing to implement aside from a few minutes, and even that may not be the case if you bundle it with something you already do, then ask yourself – what have you got to lose?
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” —Zig Ziglar
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God bless, and happy trading!