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zdo

An Untitled Rant About ‘Trading Psychology’

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Preface: This post and thread may be a waste of all our time! … Because those that get it don’t need to hear it and those that don’t get it aren’t going to get it from reading this or anything else!

ie but for a few, this post and thread really is stupid

… and also ‘not getting it’ doesn’t imply stupidity... ie ‘get it’ is more an accomplished ‘getting out of the way’ than it is ‘improved’ or new thinking and beliefs etc.

and fyi, This content might stand on its own (as well as any of my content stands on its own :doh:) but many points made in this post are responses to SUIYA’s observations and positions in the (now aging) posts starting at http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/forex/15854-norman-welz-developing-trader-s-brain-2.html#post176122

ie this thread… same conversation, different pub…

 

anyways here goes almost a rant…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excepting one or two, every post I have ever seen on the topic of ‘psychological’ – even those by our gurus who tell you us not to concern ourselves with psychology at all – is made “in the service of” maintaining and improving ‘cerebral cortex’ control ‘downward’

This control ‘downward’ is accomplished via two broad strategies.

 

Broadly, one strategy is characterized by fleeing (and, to a certain extent, relinquishing on) any impediments to progress presented to the ‘cerebral cortex’ from below. Very briefly - strategy one is ostensibly anti – psychological. You can find it represented by an off –topic- ish post or two in virtually every psychology thread on the planet spraying the ‘you really have no need for trading psychology’ meme. These posts are often marked by intellectual arrogance. But if ever get a chance to relate to the actual people behind these posts, it may seem at first they are choosing to relinquish… but if you press at all, their fleeing will be revealed.

Basically, Strategy One is- Don’t fix it. Flee it.

Keep any and all content from those ‘sub’ cerebral regions out. Isolate from and/or deny it. Man up and squash down any budding awareness of your own myriad reaction patterns with renewed focus on finding and/or developing an edge… there is where the promised land is to be found.

However, the underlying paradigm still pervades! The trader utilizing strategy one is still doing whatever is necessary to maintain and improve ‘cerebral cortex’ control ‘downward’ .

 

Broadly- and Not nearly so briefly - strategy two is characterized by attacking (and, to a certain extent, embracing) with the tools available to the ‘cerebral cortex’ [with that term, herein I’m using a brain based, not necessarily a purely psychological, nomenclature– feel free to substitute other labeling structures for the processes if you need. These social science fields are even more jargon laden than trading is :) ] .

 

Do these three things.

http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/forex/15854-norman-welz-developing-trader-s-brain-2.html#post176489

Not picking on SUIYA personally at all … we could just as easily refer to the one of the thousands of other ‘trading plan, stick to it, etc’ posts (like at http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/markets/16000-when-quit.html#post177476, etc)…more just referring to that conversation as it has unfolded… and

 

If you’re having trouble doing these three things, then (trading) psychology directs us to temporarily do other things to control and calm the limbic, hind, and entero brains so you can get back to doing those three things. The paradigm implies that we just need to keep searching for ways to improve on minimizing the effects of ANY content that keeps traders from doing those three things. Identify where you lack control ‘downward’ then find or develop a technique to ‘fix’ that lack of control… The broad goal of ‘trading psychology’ are to find ‘scientific’ ways to drive ‘everyone’ to proficiency ( / or at least ‘anyone’ in that great 80% who will work) . You might have to redo your ‘mindset’, your emotional ‘control’, your ‘panic and less’ triggers – but you will have to do whatever it takes to get those ‘sub’ brains under control…

 

and, virtually every ‘trading psychology’ post ( excepting some of those from ‘noobs with a problem and near the end of their rope’ ), implies or attempts to imply that we are right at the cusp of it… ie re those three things, we’re so close we really only have to ‘just do it’ … but if that were true, trading would not have such a high turnover / failure rate.

Actually, from my perspective at least, only a tiny percentage starts at or works their way to the cusp of ‘consistent success’. 80% are quite far away from the cusp … they couldn’t ‘just do it’ even if they had round the clock mega support from a whole frikn team of professionals.

 

That whole thread and, in particular, the closing question in SUIYA’s post ” what specific behaviour modification or training do you think can be used, or should be discussed.?”

at http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/forex/15854-norman-welz-developing-trader-s-brain-4.html#post176789 showcases the depth and power of the ‘in the service of’ the cerebral control paradigm,

 

Almost anywhere you turn, from ‘controlled’ research to the really soft pop psycho contributions, either explicitly or just ‘laying’ under the surface, the remedies by way of all the techniques is to give the ‘cerebral cortex’ more control – even if it’s only more control over “thinking you have more control over things than you really do”.

 

(SUIYA, I couldn’t access the BBC video link at http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/forex/15854-norman-welz-developing-trader-s-brain-3.html#post176535'>http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/forex/15854-norman-welz-developing-trader-s-brain-3.html#post176535 so I’ll just rashly ‘project’ and react…here goes ) Even ‘Neuroscience’ with its tradition of distrust for ‘psychology’ with its ‘new’ brain plasticity tricks, stochastic dynamics, fractal development of grooves and ridges falls in line with the paradigm – the orientation is still to do whatever it takes to get the stuff below the ‘cerebral cortex’ under control…

 

Show me one modern self or assisted help ‘modality’ that isn’t under the spell of this paradigm… (show me one I can’t twist around to make it look like it’s under the spell of the paradigm ;) – ie if you don’t 'get it', nothing I can say here can really help you see it…)

… while staying close to ‘neurological’ terminology, here’s some half hearted, in my best plain english, attempts towards seeing how the paradigm ‘structures’ problems …

For problems located in /manifested from the cerebral cortex, one plain English label is ‘worries’, typically thinking marked by recurring or looping-like processes that includes 'thoughts' that would be better off excluded and lack of access to thoughts that should be included, etc.

For problems ‘located’ in /manifested from the limbic system , let’s use anxiety as a plain English, catch all label for this aspect

For problems ‘located’ in /manifested from hindbrain based physical reactions, for plain English, let’s use the word ‘strain’ (I’m reserving the word stress for broader uses.)

 

Whether it’s difficulty keeping on track with doing those three trading things or some family dysfunction on Dr. Phil, or whatever, we tend to make our problems ‘located’ in / defined by one of these three – worries, anxiety, or strain – and we tend to try to up-regulate learning ‘mechanisms’ to better adapt to our approbative or affirmative interactions with the environment, yada fkn yada fix it - so the ‘top’ is not disturbed in any way… so it can get about the business of trading and living a happy life (dukka notwithstanding ;) )

 

…meanwhile - I think even though we’re ‘modern’ and in (the ;) )possession of strong egos, all but the real crazies have joined a matrix y borg that considers nothing else than ‘control downward’ in its ‘psychological’ (and psychiatric, etc.) paradigms.

 

No matter from which plain English category a problem is best illustrated, and no matter whether a modality specializes on just one of them or throws a myriad of techniques at a problem, a trading or general therapist believes that it is best to guide the thoughts so that any biometrics (from below) wouldn’t suddenly go off the chart. Be careful, don’t push too hard…

 

For worries, no matter how in depth the therapy work, no matter which model or techniques, no matter if the work is self or ‘program’ directed(like positscience, etc), the therapand is looking for enough ‘neuroplasticity’ progress to at least change the ‘mindset’ etc etc … to wrest control back from those ‘sub’ brain influences.

For anxieties – find a therapist who specializes in emotional (brain) issues and rebalancing … do safe place imagery interrupts… relaxation response training … gradual imagery of an upcoming ‘threat’ … throw in learning to meditate … basically increase your EQ (the mind can heal the heart… yada yada)

For strains (ranging from daily tension to major hormonal dumps) - do some cardio and strength training … do yoga … do biofeedback…

For any and all issues – behavior mod your ‘discipline’ … do some NLP… some hypnosis (or some dehypnosis ;) ) ...do brain wave entrainment… make a brain power plan… tweak your diet … add some nootropics …

…if there’s one way, there are 10000 ways… I can’t list them all.

Also, most of the ways mentioned above are ‘pop’ oriented… I hardly mention any of the multitude of more ‘clinical trial’ and high tech approaches…

( and,btw, Csikszentmihalyi’s flow work challenges the paradigm to a degree. He was blessed with insights into the ‘what’ – but, beyond suggesting a distinctive ‘different attituding’ approach, (that unfortunately still relies on ‘cerebral cortex’ control ) he really offers little in the way of ‘how’ )

 

The eternal hope offered by the paradigm via ANY modality - If you do a lot of ‘practice’ at your prescribed modality, ANY loss of control on the brains ‘below’ the cerebral can be overcome, and then you can get on with the business of seamlessly doing those three trading things… yada dafkn yadada

 

(again, SUIYA, I couldn’t access the BBC video link at http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/forex/15854-norman-welz-developing-trader-s-brain-3.html#post176535 so I’ll just ‘project’ and react…but most likely they did pay more due to the whole, the other ‘brains’ at work… and then dealt with some description of how if brains have difficulty resolving signal in noise conditions, they just change time constants. etc etc, …and then branched out to some of the supplemental things neuroscience is finding and contributing to getting everything under cerebral control ) … but

 

Reality check!

Attaining authentic, reliably ‘stable’, new neural plasticity requires rehearsals with challenges. Rehearsals must progressively ratchet up to 400 to 500 accurate ‘answers’ per hour! Lasting plasticity changes in the brains takes months of practice. That many! That much! The training has to be designed to target accuracy and speed. Just as importantly, the ‘with challenges’ part means the challenges have to really matter to the brains! It has to be “serious” and important…

Again - without rehearsals plus challenges, no new authentic ‘plasticity’ develops

(to be a little bit mean to some of the common assumptions about this

“It takes a tiny fraction of a second to ‘change your mind’. It takes less time than that for it to change back” :razz: )

 

Attaining authentic, reliably ‘stable’, new plasticity requires aggressive individual, specific, intervention. Every trader / patient actually brings his own sets of diffuse brain ‘damages’. Science is no where near making making ANY modality universal and universally appealing…

 

Attaining authentic, reliably ‘stable’, new plasticity is controlled by ‘sustained motivation’ (not reliant on the it must be important to the brains elements mentioned above, btw)… it is imperative that one consciously and conscientiously practices… and not just plain practice … but practice to get better.

 

(The Csikszentmihalyi 'way' demonstrates how few will actually and repetitively stick to the levels of deliberate practice required - whether a great coach, psychologist, mentor is present or not…

ie researchers’ don’t know, ‘they’ don’t even have a clue why the few who are motivated to practice don't have Intention Deficit Disorder, actually how much truly deliberative practice they are ‘compulsed’ to endure)

 

I’m not optimistic that you or anyone else is going to pull it off!

In straight bhvr mod terms, please please show us a way a ‘trading” (or any other kind of) psychologist’ can ‘guide’ and ‘assist’ a trader to do all of those requirements.

Here’s how I experience the paradigm - collectively we have essentially swung towards the limits of excursion of ‘psycho influences physio’ … “mind over matter” … and accompanying illusions… and again, one key marker to both these strategies and all their emergent specialties for ‘fixing’ issues – all of them are done ‘in the service of’ ‘cerebral cortex’ control ‘downward’.

 

With Strategy one or Strategy two - The reality is you could spoon feed the 80% cohort with proven systems and most of them still do not have a chance in hell of surviving, let alone thriving, at trading...

All the face to face and online sessions, blogs, articles, and threads are filled with prescribed ways to apply Strategy one and shut these ‘distractions’ / obstacles out of awareness.

All the face to face and online sessions, blogs, articles, and threads are also filled with millions of different tips and prescribed ways to apply Strategy two ...

if either had even a slight chance of really working then I'd say keep 'funding the research', but ...

 

...

 

The content above is a flawed and incomplete handling of a pervasive social conditioning that blinds both helpers and therapands to all seeking of change in the service of cerebral control. I don’t dare suggest turning the paradigm on its head. That would trigger too many literal misunderstandings about reversals and directions. If you are still trying to figure out how to succeed at strategy one or two, then keep ‘trying’ – you may be one of those that has to exhaust and collapse before you’re ready to …

Edited by zdo

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well duhhhh - of course!

 

this should get rant of the year. :)

 

 

..............

I might be wayyyyy off the mark here - what i get from your rant as a summary (this is how my brain works)

 

.....you think you are either born with a traders mind OR you need to erase what is there already (some life changing event or epiphany maybe), simply following tricks/tips/techniques will not fundamentally alter the brain enough to become a successful traders brain....

 

................is this correct - if not could you summarise in three sentences or less for the audience????

 

(This feels like a talk show whereby we are chatting about things and the others are watching - which is cool. Audience participation is overrated anyways :missy:)

FWIW the BBC link actually shows how easy it is to distract and change/improve the mind.......if it is permanent who knows.

 

Lets the games begin! ..... and I really hope we can all learn something from this - even if its that there is no answer. :)

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I too had trouble in viewing the link to the BBC program, it can be found on you tube:

 

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2L0t-EN2Yo]BBC Documentary - Horizon: The Creative Brain How Insight Works - YouTube[/ame]

 

Fascinating subject... I found it especially interesting the role that the frontal lobe plays in creative thinking. Ill have yo give it some thought, but seems there is something useful there for traders.

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Zdo - in one of those 3 am insights (usually forgotten within 30secs of waking), i woke up and thought a different take on your rant.....is your argument/rant maybe based on....

 

.... not that the trader mindset is born with the trader, but the tools and the idea of changing by supressing/blocking/controling the brain is the wrong way to go.....instead we should be trying to use tools that unlock and release the power of the brain.....ties in with how can we get increased flow, to be in the zone........so instead of the current paradigm of ‘giving 'cerebral cortex’ more control - we reverse this and relinquish control....??????

 

(I have ideas on this take of it - but prefer your clarification on the dumbed down intent of the rant)

If you dont have a point to the rant then thats cool too....often rants are just that - pointless, thought provoking, thought ordering opinions with no real point....much like life. :)

Edited by SIUYA

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I too had trouble in viewing the link to the BBC program, it can be found on you tube:

 

BBC Documentary - Horizon: The Creative Brain How Insight Works - YouTube

 

Fascinating subject... I found it especially interesting the role that the frontal lobe plays in creative thinking. Ill have yo give it some thought, but seems there is something useful there for traders.

Cool clip!

 

How would creativity help in trading?

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Cool clip!

 

How would creativity help in trading?

 

I think creativity might not help in the actual trading part....but it can certainly help in the thinking outside the box when developing a strategy/idea/system and how to test it.

 

More importantly I think that it shows how little we know about how the brain works and how susceptible it is, and how easy it is to modify behavior even if we dont know it is happening.....

Creativity is such an illusive beast (or has been) and yet maybe its not, maybe its simply a matter of connecting the various elements of the brain....the more connections the more creative, it can be improved and trained.

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Cool clip!

 

How would creativity help in trading?

 

As I said: "I need to give it more thought". I'm not quite there yet, so I'm just talking off the top of my head (so to speak).

 

If you recall the segment that spoke to improvisation... the jazz musician. The musician seems to be able to damp down the activity in the part of the brain (frontal lobe) that wants to be precise, to be correct, to not do the wrong thing. For a musician to become accomplished in the trade, there must be (seems to me) a high functioning level of frontal lobe activity. The dedication, the hours of practice, the desire to get it right... to play perfectly... all frontal lobe. If I as a trader could find that same switch that allows the musician to improvise... would my trading be more free flowing? Would that be a good thing? Don't know; seems that it may be.

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As I said: "I need to give it more thought". I'm not quite there yet, so I'm just talking off the top of my head (so to speak).

 

If you recall the segment that spoke to improvisation... the jazz musician. The musician seems to be able to damp down the activity in the part of the brain (frontal lobe) that wants to be precise, to be correct, to not do the wrong thing. For a musician to become accomplished in the trade, there must be (seems to me) a high functioning level of frontal lobe activity. The dedication, the hours of practice, the desire to get it right... to play perfectly... all frontal lobe. If I as a trader could find that same switch that allows the musician to improvise... would my trading be more free flowing? Would that be a good thing? Don't know; seems that it may be.

 

I don't know how many of you are/were musicians or can/used to play an instrument but i used to be one.And i can tell the layman that improvisation is not the magical thing it appears to be to the audience from the point of view of it's construction.

Simply stated,improvisation is writing in the same way writing a song is writing.So in terms of using a different part of the brain..........no.

I would suggest that allowing your trading to be "more free flowing" has nothing to do with improvisation or using a different part of the brain.Free flowing trades can only be the result of (perceived) free flowing opportunities.

The musician isn't using a "switch" to improvise.

For trading,adaptation (to changing conditions) might be more applicable than improvisation.

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SUIYA,

 

That rant was not the end. This will (maybe) go ‘somewhere’ for‘someone’. Instead of switching over to ‘talking head Q&A interview’ style, I had planned to continue from the end of the ‘rant’ on to alternatives - with about the same quantity of material as in the first post. But I'm taking on two atypical commitments this spring, so it may take a while to find time to write it up in a way that will really benefit at least one ‘someone’ ...

 

…also, don’t be surprised if I jump to a new thread again… the ("creative", etc.) noise isn’t bad (or good or even far far off topic), but it is noise… and sometimes the best way to deal with it is to just pack up the gear and go play in a different joint… what a fkn prima donna…:haha: right?

 

Your 3 am insight is …

 

zdo

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( I think I've made some suggestions about this before...)

 

Mini rant... That

The Healthy Trader is a subforum of the

Trading Psychology forum is a perfect example of

how the paradigm of seeking

'cerebral cortex control downward' pervades and rules...

surrepticitiously the structure is set up to reinforce it...

and members will reactively step up to defend it...

 

:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...

With just these 3 Free reports you could be trading by day's end

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I don't know how many of you are/were musicians or can/used to play an instrument but i used to be one.And i can tell the layman that improvisation is not the magical thing it appears to be to the audience from the point of view of it's construction.

Simply stated,improvisation is writing in the same way writing a song is writing.So in terms of using a different part of the brain..........no.

I would suggest that allowing your trading to be "more free flowing" has nothing to do with improvisation or using a different part of the brain.Free flowing trades can only be the result of (perceived) free flowing opportunities.

The musician isn't using a "switch" to improvise.

For trading,adaptation (to changing conditions) might be more applicable than improvisation.

 

True enough, but I wouldn't dismiss the thought so readily. One can see this time and again, when reading through posts... "we are our own worst enemy".

 

Now, I'm not a musician, so I must consider your opinion as valid (to a point), but it seems to me that improvisation is not like the act of writing. Both are expressive and creative ventures, but the former is more a free flow that comes from years of study and knowing (feeling) how music is structured... something that flows from the underlying music structure (speaking of jazz improvisation)... it always returns to the original theme. Writing is something that comes from past knowledge and inspiration, it is not expressly "in the moment"...no need to return to the original theme... one can stop and back up, and do it over.

 

So, possibly... if you will allow... a trading plan is like a tune, and the way in which it is executed is improvisation (in the moment), but it must return (conform)to the original theme.

 

Look... analogies to music or anything outside of trading is problematic. I just found it interesting that a musician is able to allow a different part of the brain to take control (or give up control) during a free flowing conversation.

 

Of use to trading... I'd say it's worth further consideration.

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Looking forward to further installments Zdo.....and no there is no prima donna in it compared to some threads. :)

 

Based on my 3am insight/interpretation - (which might have been more a different interpretation of what you are thinking rather than an insight) then i would think the idea of a healthy trader mind is a good sub thread......

 

As for tools (and really off topic ideas/analogies) - the rabid defense of the current tools (the 3 pillars, the 3 free reports, the 3 things that most traders are advised to do but simply dont) - maybe the defense is because the tools are not used, and are more an excuse to portray a self image....and the idea that you can be trading by the end of the day - even when new traders are reminded to read the rest of the instructions - this takes time, effort, thought. There are no templates.

 

Have you ever seen a rabidly defended tool (eg; a hammer, golf club, fishing rod) that sits in the shed unused apart from the occasional DIY, but it is defended like a long lost brother, yet left in the shed gathering dust......as opposed to really understanding and bonding with that hammer, sleeping with it and caressing it, and using that hammer for all manner of creative (just to tie that in) uses.

 

Looking forward to more rants.....and ideas of possible new tools and solutions.

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Looking forward to further installments Zdo.....and no there is no prima donna in it compared to some threads. :)

 

Looking forward to more rants.....and ideas of possible new tools and solutions.

 

Me too. I'll do my part to keep the "noise" to a low level. Interesting stuff to consider... please continue.

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SUI, Before I go for the weekend… just wanted to let you know I haven’t forgotten about this topic

I’ve been very busy… and even if I weren’t busy, I don’t know how far past

 

Screen.vbHourglass

the next installment would be

… Although it will have utility for only a very limited few, I do want it to be of quality for them… (instead of more rant, etc… maybe I will have to rant - again - about what it isnt’ before I can get to ‘what it isz’… 'english' for outside accepted paradigms is difficult for me, etc.)

 

so when? don't know...

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I thought this might be an interesting place to stick this....

This is an exert from an interview regards violence and athesism/relgion

(Dont get caught up in the religion debate - focus half way down when the question about Yanagi Ryuken comes up)

What Martial Arts Have to Do With Atheism - Graeme Wood - The Atlantic

Also covered here...

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-pleasures-of-drowning

 

 

I found the part about delusions interesting and thought it could be well applied to trading.

 

(for those interested check out Yanagi Ryuken and the no touch knockout....as this is a bit off topic for this thread but got me thinking about it)

 

 

Basically - its amazing what we can beleive in when we want.

 

How then can this be positively applied to trading....or is this part of the problem tool box?

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Still off topic...

 

This brings to mind the recent conviction of James McCormick. The "low life" made millions selling fake bomb detectors around the world. The bomb detectors were based on nothing more than a novelty golf ball finder... these things wouldn't find a golf ball either (a word to the gullible).

 

I found it interesting that among those who had used the worthless device, had actually devised scenarios for what would cause the device to fail... down to the operator's use of after shave lotion.

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posts like these most recent two amaze me and remind me

1 how widely humans’ beliefs can diverge from reality - and we still somehow survive

And

2 how widely our beliefs can diverge from others’ beliefs - and we still survive somehow

 

 

Update on the content I’m working on… I have been too busy to even think about it. I know - excuses, excuses

As I mentioned earlier, I have two atypical projects going this spring. In trading, working with a programmer/partner to finish up an automation project to capture more of the action btwn 2 and 8 AM ET… it’s actually partially implemented now but I’m still spending just as much time with it and my offshore programmer as I was during raw development :).

 

Also, I finally talked my wife into moving back out to the farm so I’m self contracting a new building – a ‘barn’ (outside) / office (inside)… so after a slightly shortened day trading session, I feel compelled to go out there and check on ( micro-manage to exasperation ;) ) the subs and labor almost every afternoon … and several days a week I stay until dark working too … pulled rough electrical and cabling this week… Throw in tennis league and contract play and I’m slam booked daylight to dark….Also, will be shutting down for 6 weeks instead of 4 this year and that’s coming up in less than a month…plus on the actual material itself, I’m struggling in certain parts with coming up with english for traders/those who don’t ypically run close to a ‘physical culture’ (like myself, btw)…

…so, someday… haven’t forgotten…

 

Have a great weekend all.

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