Talk to Yourself
Yesterday, Jack went over to his best friend Tom's house to look at his new Porsche Turbo. Jack has wanted a Porsche since he was a teenager but could never afford one. Four years ago he taught Tom how to trade. Tom's been doing great ever since. Each year he has made greater and greater profits, even during bear markets. Jack can't help but envy Tom's success, yet at the same time, he berates himself for failing to do as well. He thinks, "What am I doing wrong? I taught this guy how to trade. How can he be doing so much better than I am? It just isn't fair. I should just give up." Have you ever felt like Jack? You look at your friends and can't believe how much better they are doing. Soon, you're so upset that you can't face another trading day. You may make a solid $200 on a trade, but think, "I'll never reach my financial goals at this rate." When you are so consumed with envy that you're beating yourself up for failing to meet your performance standards, it's time to take action.
The reactions to certain events can seem to come out of nowhere. We can be happy and content one minute, and suddenly disappointed when faced with a setback. It can happen quickly, instantly without thinking. It's important to get back on track when this happens, however. Although it may seem that our emotions happen automatically, they don't. We quickly think things through, and it's our thoughts that lie behind our emotions. For example, when we are envious of what others have, and feel disappointed with our lives, it is all because we believe that we should succeed. We believe that we should be doing as well as others. We believe that it is our right to do well. We feel entitled and disappointed by life when we discover that we are not living up to our expectations. It's natural to feel this way. In today's culture, the virtues of ambition and success are touted with almost every commercial, every movie, and page after page of print ads. If you work hard, you deserve wealth, fame, and respect.
It would be nice if life always worked that way, but it doesn't. In the trading realm especially, sometimes our hard work pays off, but many times it does not. When you feel envy, or disappointment, it's useful to pull out a list of sayings that changes your perspective and restores your enthusiasm and mental edge. What are some of these statements? Consider some of our favorites: "Run your own race. Don't let your net worth determine your self-worth. Focus on the process, not the prize." Say these and other positive affirmations out loud to yourself. We've written articles on each of these slogans. In summary, "run your own race," refers to the idea that comparisons to others are unproductive. Everyone has his or her own resources and talents. Some people start out ahead in ways that you are unaware of, so if they do better than you, there is no reason to think that you are doing poorly; they are merely doing better than you because they have more resources. You don't have to compete with others. All you have to do is run your own race.