Tino from TradersReality.com writes about the psychology of a trader. In this post for TraderLife, he discusses a topic that is very rarely discussed or written about - how traders go about maintaining a healthy relationship with their loved ones...
The Importance of Balance
"How long you gonna in be there for? I AM READY NOW!", she said standing at my door to my trading room looking at me with eyes of a bull.
When you start learning about trading, you try your hardest to maintain the balance of life and family. Luckily for me, I was single for my first four years as a trader and I was dedicated to learning which system would be appropriate and more suited to my personality.
I stayed in every night. There was no time for Xbox, and I would decline offers to social gatherings from friends, citing that I was working. It got to a stage where I wasn't invited anywhere anymore - they knew my response.
Loyal to the grind
This is how you have to be. To truly become a trader, it has to be your life. Within reason. Motivational videos touch on the importance of having passion and dedication. Which is true. However, there must be a balance. With no balance, there is no time to reflect
Being “in the zone" continuously can prevent development, it blocks the mind from realising mistakes. In most cases, the mind will fool you into not thinking you’re making a mistake. But that is another discussion.
I remember when I was testing the method I use now. I will say that it preoccupied the majority of the time I had free. My partner (now fiancée) would always ask me "how long are you trading for?"
Fortunately for me, my fiancée understands the journey a trader needs to take in order to become a proficient trader. I have read many accounts of traders that have failed relationships purely because their partners "don't know why you look at squiggly lines" (my favourite one is “why are you looking at a screensaver?”)
One of the goals that all aspiring traders should have is to find the balance. Maybe try explaining to your partners what trading is about and what you need to do to become a trader. Use the surgeon’s analogy: "would you be happy with me to operate on you because I have read one volume of "'How to Perform Complex Surgical Operations?'"
Setting time for personal relationships
The way I found the balance, which helped me further in my learning, was time allocation. Set a time for everything that you do. If you are going to study the market for two hours, emphasise the importance of those two hours to family and friends, then when those two hours are done, so are you.
Being able to study the market in segments allowed me to explore various ways to improve my thinking and overall psychology. Each day I trade, I aim to enter into a calm state of mind, not one that is rushing to absorb as much information from the market because I "have to spend time with...". This stimulates the “expecting mind" and the “fear of missing out” emotion, which is then reflected in trading…fine ingredients for failure.
The importance of establishing a balance with relationships is a determining factor to your success. There is an old saying about behind every great man is a great woman. This stands very true. Their influence is great.
Don't ignore the advice of loved ones
More so, those who are able to share their passion of trading with loved ones, will be able to share their weaknesses from an outsiders point of view. Trading relies solely on self awareness. Sometimes we can experience great losses and our judgement will be distorted which may be reflected in our trading at a later stage.
Hence why having someone who is happy that your passion is trading will see that they give you the advice that may trigger awareness of faults in your behaviour. The irony is that, even though your partner may never have seen a chart they may say something like "well why don't you take a break?” or “set a target and stop for the day”. These comments, believe it or not, are gold.
Ultimately, by establishing a balance with your trading and relationships, you effectively maintain your trading moral. The traders psyche is your fuel. If running low, refill. You do this by taking time away from the charts and spending time with family and/or partners.
Take it from me. When discussing trading with your partner, they can really tell when you are not in balance. You see, they know everything about us. If we are having a bad day's trading, we enter into a state of denial and completely dismiss any state of mind that is rational and logical.
And as a final word of advice, if you want your partner to fully support you with your trading? Dedicate a few pips to them on the good days...