World-Class Trading Mindset Expert - Steve Ward | Trader Interview
I always say to people if you're not doing what you. Think you should be doing, what are you doing instead. I think it's a really important question because you know we're making choices, all the time right you know we're either getting into the trade or not getting into the trade we're either doing the, analysis, or we're not doing the. Analysis. What's up traders welcome back to the trailer interview, as part of the destructoid, podcast. As a quick reminder every single week i post a new interview like this for the trader around the world. If you don't want to miss them and you want to be notified of future videos, click the subscribe button it's gonna be right here on the right hand side that way you'll be notified of a future video that i post shared interviews. Tips, videos about training and things that you need to be able to master training as i said before my goal with these videos to be able to teach you things that are on all the aspects of training. On all different, things like mindset, strategies. And everything around, so that you're going to be a well-rounded, trader able to succeed, and able to reach your goals and training, so your subscription to this channel which is totally free it's really appreciated, of course this week for the interview i talked with steve ward, i spoke with steve water a few years back in 2017. For the first interview with him and steve is a tribe psychologist, that's really well known to the tuning industry. It's been working with before support athletes. And now moved to trading several years back to help traders overcome. The main difficulties, of trading related to the mindset, and psychology. Steve work has been recognized by a lot of people, and he came through to talk about things that talk about the first time but more in depth about discipline. About having the right mindset, having the right attitudes, and things that you, have to be able to work on to become a good trader so if you're looking to take your training to the next level it's going to be the perfect interview today for that let's dive right into the interview, different people who don't know you now tell people, a little bit about who you are and just some background about yourself. Sure, so yeah my name is steve ward. And, i'm a trade performance. Coach. I've been. Doing, doing that now for. 15 years so started working with traders, in 2005. Clients are typically people in hedge funds, banks, commodity trading houses. Prop firms, and utility, companies. Prior to that spent a number of years, working as a sports psychology, coach. And uh along that time also i've been lucky enough to spend a bit of time working with professional, poker players which also yeah pretty interesting, and also quite similar to the trading. World so, yeah so so my what what really is is you know, very luckily travel the world work with clients. Uh from beginner traders. All the way through to market professionals. 25, 30 years plus, helping them really to develop the sort of the psychology. And also the physiology, of their trading so. Uh mind, and body to support kind of the craft would be sort of that the way i'd phrase it excellent, very good so we had an interview with it together i think in 2016.
I Was trying to find out the exact date, yeah actually january 2016, exactly, so i'm curious to know what happens in your life citizen, what's been going on. Okay. Uh it's like, quite a lot. Um. So yeah i mean i think since we last spoke which probably was maybe a year or two after the trader, mind book had come out which was kind of focused, on. Mindfulness. Based approaches for traders. And, so, i guess a recent event was, a new book came out that came out june this year bulletproof, trader. Which is focused, on kind of how to deal with the. The downside, with the challenges, the stresses and emotions of trading and it kind of draws upon a bit of psychology. Some physiology, but also a bit of philosophy, so a bit of stoic philosophy in there as well. That's quite a new event. Um. Continued, growth really of the business, working with more clients. Which, has been great. And yeah just i guess more learning from my side into kind of seeing lots more work in the neuroscience. Field and in psychology, about kind of decision, making risk and uncertainty. So subs. The continued, learning for me. And, um, yeah i think that's really nicely this year obviously we've i guess with kovid, 19 coronavirus, that's been. A big event as well and, changed my my approach to working with people which has been quite interesting as well so i'll be honest i haven't read that second book but i'll definitely get to it after for sure uh i think it's definitely good before trader model was really good for me so, i'll definitely get to it and have a look at it for sure. Yeah cool, i don't mention the first interview about your story and how you became a terrible psychologist. But i'm curious to hear about what are the similarities, between trading and poker. What's similar was maybe different and how do, both people kind of have to work on things become better, so i think the the core similarity. Between trading and poker, see, essentially, in both your, making decisions. And, and the conditions of uncertainty, so i think that's that's why i think trading and poker. Are more aligned than trading and sports perhaps. And essentially you're making bets so you're making a decision you're also having to take risks so you're betting on that decision the conditions are uncertain. And, obviously things unfold. Um over time there's uncertainty, there's a element of uncontrollability. There's also a bit of novelty, so i think the conditions, are very similar. And. What it really means is in both you have to be. Or the craft as such is really, the risk taking the decision, making. Um. And then also as we know in trading you know how we manage the money so the money management side of things i think that that's the crux of what is similar. And then i think you know within both it's the ability, to. Um have some kind of process, or strategy and it can be very different as we know in trading you can have multiple, ways of trading the markets says multiple ways that you can play poker so there's a bit about. Having a strategy. A style which also fits with you as a person something's really important, that plays to your strengths. Um, and then the skill also is. Is, in trading the discipline. Terms is how do we. Execute that consistently. Over time so obviously in poker the variance is very high so you lose a lot of hands. Um, that can, bring or see emotions, and stresses, and strains such as obviously in trading there's lots of also variants. Um how do we deal with with the losses, the setbacks, losing runs, also. Importantly, how do we deal with the winning.
Um, So in poker you can end up you know with. A big partnership, pretty quickly. In trading we can end up with big wins quite quickly so that can equally. Um stress, the system and kind of put us into, quite an emotional, um high-level state so, so i think it's i think yeah there's, a lot of similarities, and i think in both. There's the. Um. The ability, to kind of keep playing, the game as such ongoing. And continuing, to learn and get better so kind of the mastery of the craft i think is a real, and certainly when i worked in polk and i see this in my best trading classes. Once you get beyond the basics, and learning the game i think the ones who play it for a long time and get really good there's a real. Joy. Um. In you know trying to master. The game itself, um. Which i think yeah, is, a good kind of deeper motivation. Does that mean that a good poker player would, would automatically, be a good, trader, or are there some things that, they have to work on first, yeah i think there are some good poker players that have become good traders, and there are some good traders, have also become, good poker players but i don't think all good traders become good poker players and vice versa so i think there are some. Uniquenesses. And different challenges, around, what the actual craft and the skill set is but i think definitely, the. You could probably take a a, trader, and get them into poker, and learn the game faster than if you took a complete beginner from from another domain, and likewise, from poker into trading, so. I i think it gives you an advantage. Uh as a starting, point, and then i think there's some uniqueness and nuances, beyond that which people may or may not you know like or, or kind of get to grips with personality, wise which, would determine, um how well they did overall, you mentioned the mastery, of trading and mastering the skills trading so how does that happen what is the process people would have to go through to, be able to master their scale of trading so i think um. When we look at the path to learning, trading, it's similar to learning anything so the first stage, really. Is about experimentation.
Trying Lots of things out, just really you know like we would do in sports we might try a lot of different sports, out and we would find that we maybe have a preference for some others. Our strengths our weaknesses, what we enjoy what we feel we can be good at. Um. I think you know trading that should be the same and that's maybe where, i think if a lot of newer traders, may be finding, or spending more time just exploring, and experimenting. Before you kind of hook into a certain market, or certain trading, style, is important. Then i think over time there's the process, of, going from standardized. To individualized. So maybe starting off. We we learn in a very formal way everyone learns the same way to get the basics. But recognizing, that over time we then need to, find our own way of expressing. Um. Our, views and beliefs in the markets i think that that evolution, is really important. Um and i think you know the the third factor which, i think is, is crucial. Really. Or two things one is recognizing, that the goal is is is, learning. So, i think. Sometimes, in trading people come into it almost with a they want to make money that they come into it with an earning mindset, too early and they forget that actually the early stages should be about learning and that learning phase in professional, trading when i've worked with. On graduate training programs. We're talking two to three years for people that are trading, full-time. So they're in the office five days a week, 50, 40, 50 weeks a year. 10 to 12 hours a day plus work in the weekends, and we would. Quite happily say to them you know it'd be two to three years before we expect you to really start to, you know get very competent, and really get towards. Um a high level of capability, in this, so. But it is a learning focus, and that means there's structured, learning there's a kind of progression. Of learning. Teaching, coaching, mentoring, i think all that adds huge value. To the learning process, i think something structured, learning focused, experimentation. And then, standardized, to, that probably some of the core ingredients. Do you feel like people, with different personalities. Learn trading a different way like some people are able to. Maybe practice, more do it more by themselves some people need more like like your hand to guide them through the process. Yeah, yeah, i think i think you know like with all things, we are all. Individual. Uh we all got our different ways of experiencing, the world of learning. Uh and also therefore own ways of of kind of our of, of of how we're gonna end up trading the market, so, there is a lot of variation, and some people yeah absolutely will kind of find real joy. In almost trying to solve the puzzle on their own other people will find, more joy maybe engaging, with the community, and being part of that so, everyone's going to find that their own way, um, i think the one thing, that probably. All people, do need though at some stages you need some feedback. You know you need to be getting some feedback, on how well you're doing. Are you on the right track. Um, i think you can get almost so far on your own but i think there's a real value in also then being able to at some point in that journey connect with people who have either been there. Seen it done it or. Can offer something. That you can't see in yourself because, for all of us as individuals. We can only, see things through our own eyes and sometimes, you know to move to another, level, we need outside. Feedback, to kind of help us to move along a little bit so yeah definitely, it's going to be different for different people, i remember the last time we spoke we discussed a few topics a few few things people had to master like the three skills people had mastered, i think we talked about. Mindfulness, we talked about. Dealing with discomfort, and maybe something else. What do you think are the other the main factors, to becoming a good trader, over the long term i think there's many, i mean there's there's trading skills to begin with so that one of the things you've got to you've got to get good at is actually just the the craft of trading itself so just you know the, uh understanding, the markets. You know you've got to kind of be able to analyze. Uh you've got to kind of find opportunities. You've got, managing, your risk and your money so there's this kind of the trading component, piece, the craft piece. Um, and then there's the mind and the body and also, the psychology, and the physiology. Is my domain, so, i think it's really important to recognize that probably, for newer traders. There's a bias towards, mastering the craft i think early on you've really got to focus on getting the basic, skills and the competencies.
In Place. As you go further down the road of trading, i think then the bias becomes much once you've got, a good level of competency, in the craft, the role of the mind and the body playing, increasingly. Important, piece to the point where probably for, the very best traders. It's probably the largest piece of the puzzle is probably what's going on in the mind in the body. And how that enables, you then to kind of maximize. Uh, the craft as such. Um. So i mean i think there's a there's a lot of pieces, if you go on the mindset, side there's i think there's a development, of a mental framework, so a, mindset. How you think about, yourself, as a trader how you think about the markets, how you think about risk. Uncertainty. And winning and losing so, there's the development, ongoing, of that. Um. Inside, that are probably some mental skills, like we've talked about some mindfulness, i would say that's a mental, skill so the ability to have this. Present moment awareness, which i think is really important, for a number of reasons, one of which is, the ability, to be able to notice and observe what's happening, within you, as it's happening so we can have a chance, to regulate, it. Um, being able to work with thoughts that show up so sometimes if we're in trading we get hooked by. Thoughts that might be unhelpful. Needing a trade to win, an anxiety, or a doubt about getting into the market, so being able to work with thoughts that show up likewise. I think you know managing, emotions, is is a mental skill that needs to be developed. And how we do that so what we do with them when they show up, is really important. Um. Then i think there's a piece about, a big piece really this goes into our, previous chat about discomfort, which is about. Recognizing. The need to be able to take action. Even though it's uncomfortable. To take that action you know i think a lot of traders. Um. Their psychological, challenges, are because. Uncomfortable, thoughts or emotions, or sensations. Show up and that's perfectly, normal, but they read it as being. Not normal. Or being negative or unhelpful. And they create aversions, to those so they kind of try to avoid them and when we try to avoid the discomfort.
We, Unfortunately, often engage in trading behavior. Which reduces, our profitability, so if we try to avoid a loss, in the short term that can feel quite good, but we might end up with bigger losses. Over time if we don't take trades. Then we might avoid losing on that trade but we miss out on the profits, of that trade, and so on so now you know i think on the body. Side i think how we manage the stress response, is really important so the physiological, level. And how we look after ourselves, in terms of just basic energy needs so you know reducing, the impact, of fatigue, so sleeping well eating well. Um, moving. Uh getting recovery, and all these factors i think there's a. It's i think it's a big puzzle, um, is my short answer there's a lot it's a big jigsaw puzzle and there's lots of pieces in it and it's probably different for different people. Some things are the same some things are different based on what you're trading and how you're trading it that was a big summary though, that's quite insightful, quite interesting, for sure, there's more but we just offered the time today. Yeah. So you mentioned the fact that people learn the craft of training first and then later on they go to psychology, physiology, and all these things inside. Is there a way for people to learn the psychology, and the, physiology, before, they learn trading. Or do they have to go to the trading and then fail a little bit to be able to learn that properly after, i think you can you can know it in advance. So when i started trading. Um i learned to trade. Um. Because i was working with traders for the first time and it was completely new to me so i wanted to understand the world the language, and so on. So when i started, trading. I was fortunate, i spent quite a lot of time in sports psychology, and i was beginning to really begin to get into and understand, trading, cycles you know and i genuinely believed having that knowledge. Helped me to learn faster. And to lose less. So definitely i think it can be an advantage, but, i think, there's a difference. Between. Reading about. The psychology, of losing. Or. About mindset. Or about emotions, in trading. When you've never traded, compared to when you have traded. And when i used to do a lot of work on the graduate training programs, and we used to teach trading psychology. Almost without exception people would say, steve i understand, there's these mental mistakes people might make and then you know there's all these biases, but look i'm a smart guy i'm not going to make those mistakes. There's almost a little bit of uh you know people it almost feels, run your profits cut your losses, how hard can it be, and i think at the early stages.
It It can feel a bit like that like we can kind of understand it conceptually. Is it like saying to a child you know um don't touch, um the flame, we know what it's gonna be like if they touch the flame. They don't know what it's going to be like they've got almost they've got to touch the flame and i think trading's the same so i think you can understand the concept, of of it's hot but i think you only realize, it's hot when you touch it so i think there's a you can know the concepts, and that's helpful. In advance but i think there's still an element where. People need to actually be involved in the markets. And this is what i found for myself you know take some risks have some wins have some losses. Really, feel. What it's like, and then i think you, understand, it more and you're probably more, likely to do the work that's needed to then train it because it does, it takes a lot of work to train the mind and to train the body, the same as it takes a lot of work to train you know the craft and the skills and the knowledge and the strategy and that's really key so. I, we, evolved, with our graduate, programs, where we would teach. Some psychology. Early on but we would, do the majority, of it kind of once they'd had some live market experience, just because, it was much more meaningful people kind of got. It. So, i think things around learning you know how to learn faster. Some of the basics, around you know thinking in probabilities. Just kind of knowing some of that stuff up front is helpful. And then i think once you get into it you start to really understand, why it's really important. What do you do with people that are afraid, to. Move into trading. More, like people that. They've learned a little bit but then they have to go to the next step and they have to go live they have to go on a bigger size account. How do you have them to kind of take the next leap well i think the key thing is i mean i think first of all i say to me is probably it's normal. So i think you know for a lot of people when we are taking, the next step whatever that step is. It's probably going to be uncomfortable, to some degree, i mean there might be some anxieties. Or worries, or or, fears or stresses. Which are perfectly, normal, to that situation, and i think this is one of the key factors in trading and i say to lots of people is. Whatever the situation, you're facing as difficult, is you're not alone, there'll be many people having the same feelings in the same situation, so what's showing up is normal and that normalization. Is really important. Then we've got a look at. What is showing, up that in some way, is getting in your way of you taking, the step you want to take is it a thought is it an emotion. Is that thought or just in the moment, is it tied to maybe memories, from the past you know maybe you've tried it before and it didn't work and that memory is coming back in again. So kind of what what's the interference, that's kind of getting in the way. And we could do some work with that if we need to, also why is it important, to take the next step so let's kind of build a bit of commitment, to kind of have some meaning, to take this step so, let's commit to taking action. Let's, work with what's showing up in terms of the thoughts and the feelings so we can kind of take those steps forward, but also let's do a look at the steps because for some people maybe. If you're going from a smaller account to a bigger account. The bigger account may just be too big, so what's the next, size this is what i often do with trades when we're looking at you know position, sizing and risk is, traders, and this is typically in prop trading they'll start off with two lots they go to four they go to eight they go to 16, 32, 64, 128. And so on. Now for some people that works really well but for other people 16 to 32, suddenly, is huge. There's no reason why you've got to go from 16 lots to 32., you could go from 16. To, 20. Or, 16, to 24, or 16. To 18.. So you know finding, the next step. That's. Just a little bit uncomfortable, a bit of a stretch. But doesn't panic you, is really. Important. Um, and then at some points you know if you like going from, simulated, to live, sometimes it's like a parachute jump, and you're in a leap of faith. So you've got to commit, you do everything you can to be ready. It's never going to be comfortable. And you have to do it anyway and i think sometimes, in trading we do have to just recognize, that we are in situ i mean even placing a trade there's no guarantee. It is a parachute, jump you do everything you can to prepare to be ready to manage your risk. But there's no guarantee. So you still got to kind of take the action, even though it feels uneasy, or uncomfortable.
Just Like a parachute, jump, um, so you you manage the risk as you're doing parachuting, as you're doing climbing. Um but it's not that there's no risk and there's not there's no discomfort. And i think sometimes people just need to kind of do all that you can. And then it is about, we just all have to realize, that when we're doing this kind of, risk and uncertainty. Work, it can feel, challenging, that's how it is it's okay. Let's do it anyway. Earlier today i was talking with a. Profound owner basically, a guy who wants to platform, and. He asked me a question which, i tried to answer a little bit i kind of knew some parts of it but i'd like to answer the same thing and, the thing he asked me was how do you help traders become profitable. Putting aside the the, training aspect of like funding strategies, trading strategies. How do you help people people become profitable, traders, the the goal to profitability, is by developing, competence, so you can't you know you're not going to be profitable if you're not good, you know you're not going to be you're not going to make money in football, soccer. Basketball. Tennis. Unless you're good at what you do. So for me the whole, goal, of becoming profitable, actually is. And this is where i think it's a money focus i would say the goal is not to become profitable. The goal is actually to develop, skill. And knowledge, and competence. If you develop the skill the knowledge the competence, then, you are likely, to also to become. Profitable. I think sometimes. Too much focused on becoming, profitable. Firms, and institutions, have to have that focus, because they are risking their money on these people essentially, so. It is a business. But i think where you can and this is what i would encourage in people is, the goal is to develop competence. The better you get at trading. The more likely you are to make money, but focusing. On being, profitable. Doesn't always, lead you to take the behaviors. That will actually, make you profitable. If that makes sense there's a bit of a paradox. Same as being you know if we're too focused on the outcome of our trading. We may actually. Uh deviate away from the process, that actually leads us to get good outcomes, if we focus on the process of making good decisions. We tend to get the best outcomes and i think that's really important, but so i think the goal is competency. When i was working. Uh with the prop firms we used to have a little model called the j curve. Where basically, it's um, it's like obviously, just a j shape. And, the bottom part of the j is kind of underneath, the horizontal, baseline. And we we would try and say to people we want that. Curve to be short and shallow, so ideally. We want you to become profitable, as fast as we can and without going too deep down into your into your reserves, as such. But again, how we did that was a real focus on craft mind and body, competence, coaching, mentoring. All these things can accelerate. People's, learning, curve. But it was very much a learning, focus, and then we would always say that that the first phase is the learning phase. And then once you've kind of get good at the craft, and the mind and the body, then you can move into the earning, phase, and now we're into how do we maximize. The investment we've all put into your learning. Whereas other people flip it around and they kind of they try and do the earning, first. And it compromises. The learning. That's a really good point and actually a lot of time people are that want to make money but don't have the skills to match it up, they end up making money or making it short-term and using it, and you're right in the sense that. Focusing on profit makes you have maybe bad habits so you can close your trades early because you want to have some profits. And that's not going to work for a long time for sure i mean i'm really big in this sometimes it sounds a bit philosophical, but i think it's also very pragmatic, that the goal of trading is to make good trading decisions, so, you know i wouldn't even in my very best clients we talk a lot about, decision making, what is a good decision. Uh what factors, affect your decision-making, both both, helpful and unhelpful. We talk a lot about. Becoming, better at making decisions so the goal actually of becoming a good trader, is to become, better, at making, decisions. And taking risk under uncertainty, and the better you get at that. Uh, the better you get at trading, and then the better you probably end up in the overtime. In terms of you know maximizing, your market return, so, as you said anybody in the short term could make money.
Um. Just through luck and randomness, and that's also important, that people recognize, that. You know the outcome of a trade. Is a combination, of skill plus luck. And. The skill, piece, is the trading, process. And the ability to execute, the process so that's the trading, skill and that's what's controllable. And that's what, i really try and get into with my clients is you know let's look at that. Developing, the skill piece. The process. Um. How you execute the process when is it good not so good strengths, weaknesses, and so on all the things that we have control, over, we can then use to kind of you know improve, skill, expertise. And so on, having built the skills to then going into. Maximizing, your profit out of these skills, i, talk about it a bit like um, building a tower block, where there are some foundations. And we could keep it simple you know uh, method. Uh mindset, money management, or any other kind of, framework, but there's the foundational, pieces that you need skill and knowledge-wise, which if you if you've got those and they're good, you can then basically build a nice high tire block. If you don't have the foundations. In place, then when you try to increase size and take more risk essentially, you're building a higher, tower block, but on poor foundations. Now. There'll be times when that's not a problem at all. But when it gets a little bit windy or gusty we get a few earth tremors, in the markets. Then suddenly all comes crumbling, down so, so for me i you know i often really encourage people to think about and it's hard because it means it's a lot of hard work up front but. Get the basics. Done, really well early. And then actually, scaling, up in size, is a lot easier and i was actually doing a coaching session with with a client earlier today. Into a very similar process. Where we're looking at specific opportunities, in the markets. It's trading them well so far, i've done a lot of work on putting the groundwork, in the basics, preparation. Knowledge and skill. And now the next step is, now we can maximize, those opportunities. Even more because. The foundations. Are in place and what it means is if you feel competent. Then you're going to feel more confident, and you're going to experience, less anxiety, and worry and fear. If your level of competence, is low it's going to be very hard to execute, without, anxiety. And worry and fear and stress. Because, you don't have the knowledge or skills you need in the first place so this is why you know the competence. Has such a big impact on traders, execution, because. That's what fills in the gap between. How much fear. Or anxiety. You're experiencing. Is really, a large factor of have you got competence, or expertise, in what you're doing that's very true i spent a lot of time who are scared of trading they're afraid of losing, and.
It's Just because they didn't build the skills enough to be able to get to the point where they feel okay with their decisions. Yeah. It's not that i mean, obviously some of my clients have been trading 25, 30 years they also, still get anxieties. And they still get stresses, and they still experience, fear that's because we're all traders. All trading the markets, and that's kind of part of the common experience. We all have but it's the degree, of that. Um, and i think you know. The the the challenge for newer traders. Is to realize that sometimes. And this is why when it comes to coaching i'm always very wary. Is that some traders, challenges which they think are psychological. Anxiety. Fear stress, are actually, not. A psychological, challenge. That's what we're seeing on the surface. But the real challenge is they just maybe don't have a strategy, that they trust. Or they don't have the skills or the knowledge to understand, what's going on in the markets, or to kind of put the pieces of the puzzle together so. Uh we have to be quite aware. It's, when we're having a psychological, challenge. Is it actually. Psychological. Or, is it a manifestation. From from somewhere else within the trading process and i even had this recently with an experienced, trader. Um. Using some models in his trading. And has been experiencing a bit more anxiety. And worry and stress than usual. And all it is is the markets, have changed the models are not as effective, under the new market conditions. What he's realized, is he doesn't trust, the models. To be as reliable, in the new market conditions, and, the feedback, to that emotionally. Is some kind of anxiety, and worry but that's kind of it what's happening is it's the feedback, of, there's a shift and a change it's not quite right. And he's and and the emotional, messengers, are letting him know that. Through through his feelings. What's good is we've recognized, that now we can take action and now he's refining, and updating the models, so they kind of fit more effectively, into the current market conditions, so so it can affect us all at different stages and i think this is why it's really important, to, when we're experiencing an emotion, just ask the question. Why might i be feeling that you know where is it coming from, is really important, how do you build discipline. What is, regarding to taking the right traits or. Keeping the right habits, or. Anything related to that how do you keep discipline over time, discipline, is an interest in one etching something i think it's it means different things to different people. I think traditionally, we would say you know it's have a plan follow the plan. Some traders are more fluid than that so some traders are kind of much more in the flow. So, maybe, on the outside they don't look that disciplined, but they do have a framework. But i think you know discipline, really begins, with. Or, or improving, it begins with a clarity, of what my process, is so it might be a very intuitive, process, or it could be, uh you know, five six seven eight pages, of bullet points or diagrams, so. But there's some. Steps that people take. That enable them to make money in the markets and there's some kind of edge i think, clarity, of that you need to know what that is to begin with is really important. Then i think. If you are able to. Match your. Trading. Approach. To to your own personal, strengths and who you are as a person. It makes discipline, easier so if you're trading, in a way that's not aligned, with your strengths and who you are as a person. Then. If, essentially, you're trying to be someone you're not so you've got to work really hard. So, that makes it harder to be disciplined because you're trying to be something that you're not so, i think in the early, stages, it's going to find a process, hopefully with some kind of edge. Suits you as a person, that's the starting, point, within that process, preparation. Research, evaluate, you know analysis, how do i get ready. Are some of the basics, of that of that discipline. Execution.
Understanding. About you know when you're, executing. What's helpful, or not helpful for you is really important kind of where's where's the risk for you is it emotions that show up is it thoughts and so on so knowing yourself you know kind of knowing whether. Those crucial, spots are where you're likely to maybe make a bad decision, and why and then you're doing the work. To it to address those areas is really important, um evaluation. Analysis, i think is a really key part of kind of overall, discipline, so kind of. Reflection, again. For some people it's five minutes a day for other people it's an hour at the weekend but you know i think having some reflective, process. Um, is really key but i think discipline. There's kind of the trading, part then there's also at the personal level you know if you're. If your life's really busy. And you're trying to do everything in the markets, as well. Um. You might just be tired and fatigued. Or or stressed because life is busy so then it's hard to be disciplined. So you know kind of creating an environment, that allows you to have the energy and the focus. To also be disciplined, is very important. As well so it's um and and some people by nature. Are much more disciplined, than others so kind of again this is where building it into your trading framework. Is really important, so that's good to mention because there are plenty of people that think they're disciplined, but it's just that they don't have the right conditions, to be disciplined, they don't have the right, amount of sleep or the right environment. And. That makes them to think that they're not disciplined but in fact they just learn about the environment. Yeah and i think you know. It's it's a tricky one just because. There's a number of factors involved which is. You've got to have the motivation. To do what needs to be done, i always say to people if you're not doing what you. Think you should be doing, what are you doing, instead. I think it's a really important question because you know we're, making choices, all the time right you know we're either getting into the trade or not getting into the trade we're either doing the, analysis, or we're not doing the analysis but if i'm not doing my analysis. What am i doing with my time. Instead because that might just reflect, actually. There's other things in life that are also really important, and if i'm trying to fit trading into my life. Then it's a balancing, of all the things that are important, to me that i've got to try and manage. And i've only got limited, time and i've only got limited energy so how do i balance, that all out, into an effective, way, uh which is really important. I think you know just energy, is key to discipline. If people are fatigued. The research, is pretty clear that you know when we're tired and fatigued. Um, we don't have the same level of self-control, as we would normally have. Um, self-control.
Is A high order, um brain, function. And it requires energy, and when we're low in energy we just don't have the capacity. To manage, ourselves, as well so we're much more likely to you know not put the effort. All the time or have the ability to restrain, ourselves, so. At the basic level probably physiologically. You know being energized. Or not being too fatigued, or too stressed. Is critical. For being, disciplined, and there may be no sense of purpose, goals, you know those things can kind of get a little bit of extra commitment, and i think you know also thinking about you know why you're doing why it's important. And who you want to be, you know the values. Um, can be good ways to kind of leverage commitment such that discipline, is is for me it's. It's easy when we're energized, and it's easy when we're motivated, and it's easy when we are. Confident, and when we're happy. But we're not like that all the time. So it's what can we tap into that, enables, us to take action. Even when it is difficult to do that you know maybe we're tired, or, we're free you know we're a bit stressed, or a bit anxious, but we're going to do it anyway. And i think that's where you know the purpose, and the values, and the mission maybe that deeper level part of the mental framework becomes really important. What are some of the habits, you think, most traders should have to be able to perform at their best. Again everyone's going to be different. Even you know when i'm working with clients we try and define, individually. What performing, at your best even means what that looks like for the individual, and that will determine, to a degree then obviously what those habits, are but i think you know. Some of the basic ones are there needs to be some way of preparing. And preparation, would have a technical. Tactic. Component, to it as well as a, mentally emotional component, so how do i kind of get ready at the market, level but also at the me level uh so i'm ready then i think you know in evaluation, or analysis, that should be a key habit, again in some form, traders have, again it suits them and their style. I'm, as you know a big fan of things like mindfulness, type practices, i think that kind of um.
Awareness. Practice. Is really key and that could be anywhere between. 10 and 20 minutes a day depending on the individual. Or, more, but i think you know there's a lot to be gained from that. More recently i've done quite a lot of work with clients around kind of breath work type practices, so that again could be a, similar, or alternative, practice, to do a journal that maybe isn't part of the normal trading reflection, but maybe it's just a chance to you know get thoughts and feelings, down and and and to look at. Um. Is helpful for a lot of people in, in some way um, as well. Then i think you know just things like um, having a, daily, or weekly, or even monthly but uh, a focus for learning something like a learning focus something to work on so when i was working with the newer traders, i'd often walk around the trading floor i'm just asking you know what are you working on right now and sometimes they just be going well i'm just i'm just trading trying to make money i'm going yeah i understand that but alongside, that what are you working on how are you trying to become a better trader. So i think you know it's a really good practice and i try and encourage it in lots of my clients is to think about you know over the course of it could be the quarter, to the month or the week you know what, something you could do to become a better trader. And then how can you action that each day and that's a really good habit i i love the idea of kind of this ongoing, development and we're always working to be better. Because markets, evolve, and change as you know, uh we need to keep updating ourselves. So, so it's actually critical. We made a like a big poster, of about a hundred, different, exercises. To. Know watch your podcast. Read an article, speak to an experienced, trader. And so on and then he said to me you should be doing one thing from your list every day, and some tasks might take. A minute and some might take an hour but every day try and do, something. From that list. So you feel that in some way you're becoming a better trader, in a kind of a proactive, way. Do you feel like meditation. Or breath work is there a best time in the day to do it or you can do it pretty much anytime. At in the evening or in the morning or whatever and it doesn't make a difference, i think the best time, or the answer i would i would give, is the time when you can be most consistent, with it because i think. The challenge, for people is the consistency. Of the practice you know you'll get the gains. Breath work meditation. Exercise, whatever it is, the gains, come. Through consistency. And so it's finding. The, time of day, when you're going to be most consistent, which, for summer might be first thing in the morning, others lunch time some it could be in the evening, i've not seen any research, that shows specifically. A better and or worse time there might be some. Better or worse times based on the effect that you were trying to get. But for me consistency. Is the key, that's the challenge for most people when they take on meditation. Mindfulness. Breath work whatever it is is doing it regularly so i think that's the biggest barrier. Let's make it as easy as possible, to overcome that barrier, and get the consistency. First and again, even time frame you know start small, three minutes four minutes five minutes. Build up over time make it easy to get into it build the habit. And then you can always extend beyond that, and that's good, after a meditation like a few different times, and. What things were for me was like mostly afternoon. But, i also see a benefit of doing it before starting straight in the morning that's why i was not sure about it but, i think both times work really well so, and again like we said before with learning it's good, for me this is all about, self-experimentation. So it's good to try, different times of the day, different lengths. Different types of meditation. Try lots of things out and then, you'll start to find out what works and it um i think you know sometimes, we, almost looking for the answer too quickly, and i think you know we we miss out on, the joy, but also the value, in the experimenting. And the testing and the trying, and the narrowing down and when when we look at behavior, change. Uh which is what performance, improvement really is, i always frame that around, self-experimentation. You know we're going to do an experiment, let's, let's test it we've got an idea if we try this behavior. It might impact your trading in this way okay great that's our hypothesis. Let's design an experiment, let's test it we'll get some feedback we'll see how it goes and you know, then we'll adapt it or refine it if we need to but it's all about this kind of i guess a bit of. A bit of playfulness, you know not getting too clingy we've got to solve it right away in a certain way but being open to different possibilities.
Definitely, Super important. So, you're working on a new course right now that you're going to be launching soon actually a live training so, i want to give you some time to tell people what it's about and, who it's for and, how i can help people, to be able to get better, at trading, it's a new course it's launching, um, october. This year so 2020. And. It's it's different, because, it's. The first, time i've run a course, for non-um. Institutional. Professional, traders for for many many many years. And it's come really because every year i get asked by. Um, individuals, for coaching, or by or by groups for. Program, training programs i just, don't really have the time to do it and also this year's been a bit different with kovid 19 and coronavirus. So. I've been at home a lot more so, um. And. In fact actually the demand's been higher so. Yeah so we're going to launch the course. And the goal really is to help people to, obviously develop the trading psychology, specifically, so it's kind of uh mental framework and mental skills that's going to be the main focus, uh seven, sessions, of about an hour, and then some some q a uh beyond that as well um all, delivered, live. Via by webinar. And, that'll roll over about a six week period, then we'll have a pause for about a month and then, about four weeks later we're gonna have like a little q a catch up check in on progress, and share some successes, and so on so so in total eight sessions. Um. And, for my side really what i wanted to offer people was a chance, to. Work on a very sort of mindset, specific, program. A chance for me to share some of the the knowledge, and the the insights, that i've been lucky to gain from. Working with some phenomenal, traders from from all over the world, different institutions. And and to share with the people who come on the course just some of the techniques. And the approaches. That i use with those clients. So they can try them out for themselves, as well and then between the sessions we're gonna have something you know follow-up activities. It'd be a journal, some some workbook and exercises. So we try and make it pretty immersive, i think in the q and a sessions i was really keen to do the q a session so that people can have a chance to ask questions, obviously we can't do one-to-one, coaching because it's going to be in a group but people can ask questions hopefully i can try and give some advice or guidance in real time but like we're doing now you know in in this podcast, and yeah do something a little bit different for people so that that that's the goal so yeah and then i'll say it will run, mid of october through to end of november. And then the the, q a session will be at the end i'll probably probably end of december, early january, next year so uh that that's the plan as it is at the moment. Awesome so i'm putting a link below in the description, for that uh program for sure. I think you're good at what you do for certain people that want to be able to. Master mundy the, psychological, mindsets out of trading and physiology, as well we are going to be able to. Learn a lot from you for sure that's awesome, yeah and it will be um we're going to launch it under the website, the web address will be um, www.
Dot Then it'd be trade at your best, dot com so people are looking for it that's where they'll find it so, website's not up yet but it'll be up pretty soon so, excellent. So steve is there one last advice we'd like to leave people with they need less talk or something you want people to kind of maybe work on next few months, i would say for me and it's been a theme of our conversation. I'm gonna come back down to, the goal, i think if people can really focus on the goal of trading, is to get better at trading. And to make it a learning, focused, mastery, activity. I think for a lot of people that can really. Make a big difference to the experience they have in the market saying it's all about. Developing, your competence. On the path from beginner, through to kind of expert. Keep evolving, looking to get better, you've got to work on the craft the skills, the knowledge the strategy, you've got to work on your mindset, you've got to be mindful of also what's going on in the body as well, and just you know, keep do to get better at making decisions, under conditions of uncertainty. If you keep that as a core focus. That's been pretty helpful for people excellent steve it was a really good interview and i really appreciate the advice to give, people myself and the listeners as well, and hope to catch up with you soon you're welcome and thanks for inviting me back appreciate. It. You.