Every time Dino gets ahead as a trader, he sabotages his efforts. It comes about in many ways. He may feel guilty for getting ahead, and so distraught over his success that he doesn't pay attention to market conditions. This leads to a few bad trades, wiping out a month's worth of profits in a day. Other times he may seemingly forget to stick with his trading plan, which results in a significant setback. Then there are those times when he gets so ambitious that he abandons risk limits and strives for a return on his trades that is impossible to realize. He ends up mounting huge losses. He can't figure out why he would allow such mistakes to happen. He knows better but seems powerless to prevent his unconscious need toward self-sabotage to get the better of him.
Not everybody has a need to sabotage his or her efforts. Some people feel they deserve success, work assiduously to achieve success, and relish every victory. But other people let deep-seated, unresolved conflicts sabotage their best efforts. In her book, "Self-Sabotage: How to Stop It and Soar to Success," Martha Baldwin outlines the profile of a self-saboteur. Do you fit the profile?
According to Baldwin, a self-saboteur is motivated by fear, sorrow, hurt, isolation, abandonment, and anger, which often arise from the belief that it is vital to please others at the expense of one's own personal needs. The message the self-saboteur heard as a child and still lives by as an adult is, "Don't be who you are." The self-saboteur is afraid of fighting against his or her parents' wishes that were to completely satisfy their needs at the expense of his or her own. The mission of the self-saboteur is to thwart all efforts at success and independence. By staying inept and dependent, the self-saboteur will never threaten his or her parents and remain an innocuous, non-threatening do-nothing. Parental messages remain with the self-saboteur throughout his or her life. Self-saboteurs allow a part of themselves to criticize them. A cynical, fearful voice takes over, especially during stressful times. Rather than spurning the person to take action and make things happen, the voice tells them, "You're no good, you can't do this. You'll never be successful at anything."
Trading is a tough business. You don't need to sabotage your efforts; the markets will do that for you. If you let your hidden motives for self-sabotage take over during critical moments of trading, you are bound to make trading errors. Don't let self-sabotaging tendencies get the better of you. Be aware of your tendencies to give yourself pessimistic messages. Deep down, you may think, "I can't really be a success, so I might as well not try." There are many ways to avoid trying your best. You can neglect disciplined action, such as failing to make and follow a trading plan, or forgetting to monitor a trade and failing to see that the market has moved against you. Even apparently active efforts to win can be manifestations of self-sabotage. For example, you may decide to make a covert plan to fail. You may think, "I'll raise my standards and trade on a larger scale." On the surface, this looks like a strong drive to succeed, and it may reflect ambition, but only if you have the skills to make it become reality.
Don't sabotage your efforts. Acknowledge your tendency to thwart your efforts, especially when you feel stressed out. The best antidote to self-sabotage is to set realistic goals. When you set realistic goals, you will accomplish them and feel good about what you have done. And with these feelings of accomplishment will come an optimistic view of the future. There's no reason to get a swelled head or to trade impulsively. If you set specific, realistic goals, you will trade like a winner and quell the self-saboteur that lurks deep in your psyche.