You must do the things you think you cannot do.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dreaming Big

Several times this week I listened to the audio book of Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella. Just about every piece of advice he gives pertains to trading. As Sandy stated in the comment section a couple days ago, many comparisons arise between trading and any solo performance-based activity, even life itself.

Dr. Rotella starts the book off strong with what he considers the most important aspect among those who excel to their heights: dreams. He states, "A person with great dreams can achieve great things. A person with small dreams, or a person without the confidence to pursue his or her dreams, has consigned himself or herself to a life of frustration and mediocrity."

At the heart of everything Dr. Rotella works on with patients resides dreams. Dreams that excite people from when they wake up until they go to sleep (and perhaps in their dreams as well) give people life. A want to do great things and to improve can propel even the lesser talented person further than anyone would expect. Without this drive, Dr. Rotella argues, people will not reach their heights.

Of course, to merely have a dream will get you nowhere. You have to act on those dreams and build those dreams. However, the dream will make the work not only bearable but enjoyable--it'll give you a point of meaning and a joy. While others may put in a weekend of golf practice, you're also putting or chipping after work. While they take breaks, golf itself is a break. It has become a joy and a challenge.

As you practice you begin to develop habits. In order to succeed you need to develop habits that encourage trust. Trust is at the heart of success. You need to make that putt enough that you have no emotions blocking your ability to perform. Trust means you allow yourself to do what you need to do. Fear will cause you to second guess, or change your swing (tactic) multiple times mid-game, thus reducing your potency.

Trust leads to focus. And an ability to focus allows one to perform at the heights of his or her abilities. He speaks of players who have similar talents, but who consistently place higher or lower in tournament play. Those who seem to lose their talent tend to constantly question their abilities. Internally they lose trust and when that occurs, they falter.

Furthermore, when the pressure heightens many people begin to focus on what could go wrong to the detriment of all that could go right. Dr. Rotella speaks of players whose fear of hitting a ball into the water or forest leads them to do exactly that. Conversely, those who focus on a healthy target do much better. As he states, "Negative thoughts are almost 100% effective."

One of my favorite stories he presents has to do with a young golfer rooming with another golfer. Each day they come back and the first golfer says how much he loves the grass they played on today. The other hates it, cannot stand how coarse it is. The next day the first golfer states that he loves the grass again. This drives the second player, who again dislikes the grass, to address the contradiction; today's grass being smooth. The first golfer says something like, "I always love whatever grass I play on."

The same attitude will be a great boon to any trader looking to reach for his or her heights in the markets. Love the challenges that the current market presents you.

And most of all, have a dream that will propel you to achieve greater and greater competency each day.


  1. Tks for the article Anon. Just my thoughts on this, using business/trading analogy. A workable business/idea have to come first. With that comes the confidence to dream big. And from there, action to take based on the conceived or tested idea/system.

  2. The bigger our dreams are, the more we have to work harder.

  3. Just read this, you'll be fine...


  4. Thnx for the comment TT and FFXD.

    L&W, I kinda had a feeling you'd post something like that :) I'll have to pick it up. Obviously, positive thinking isn't going to do much on its own.