What Drives Your Trading? The Need To Avoid Losses, Or The Desire To Win?

Yesterday I had an interesting consultation with one of my long standing professional trading clients: He observed that his desire to win was oftentimes superseded by the desire not to lose. He said whenever he traded like that he would lose money.

I was delighted that my client had made this profound observation about his deeper emotions. These kinds of insights, when they come to you without being prompted, are the domain of an emotionally trained brain that has learned to go deeper beyond the intellectual part of the brain into the hidden subconscious terrain.

Your trading decisions are made with the intellectual part of your brain which resides in the neo cortex:

Yet 95% of all your thinking feeling and actions are automatic. They reside in the amygdala, which runs the survival instincts and every part of the business that keeps you functioning on a daily basis as a human being. Without the amygdala you could not operate the way you do. I believe that you can already see how this system has hidden value conflicts readily built into the operating mechanics of your brain.

Imagine you had to consciously think how to move every limb in your body, which muscle to engage and limb to use to wash your hair, operate the buy and sell button on your trading account, and how to do all those routine tasks you do every day without giving them another thought.

The amygdala ensures your survival and it does so on auto pilot, which is great.

The problem is that you are making your trading decisions with the 5% of your conscious intellectual brain, while your actions are driven by the 95% of your subconscious brain.

Your body is the final feed back outpost: When you notice feeling uneasy, stressed or hesitant you are observing the final warning signs that you are not in sync with your desired outcome. Your feeling tone is the last feedback, sign before the road comes to an end. There is a barrier beyond there is no further to travel on that road. You must either turn back, or face the consequences of walking beyond the barrier.

The secret is to align the subconscious part of your brain with the conscious part of your brain. When the subconscious and conscious parts of your brain are aligned you are congruent with your desires and intentions. Change can happen now.

Guided meditation is a very effective tool that allows you to access the deeper levels of your subconscious mind.

When you learn to notice whenever your trading decisions arise from survival needs versus the desire to make a winning trade you start thinking like a winning trader

Mercedes Oestermann van Essen is a thought leader in the field of trading psychology. She is the author of “The Buddhist Trader” and other books on trading psychology and personal development.

Her unique guided meditations for traders increase cognitive awareness and improve trading.