How You Can Transform Anxiety Into Trader Growth

insight psychology Sep 01, 2017

If you’re struggling to continue growing as a trader or simply don’t feel like you’re achieving everything you’re capable of, understanding some lessons from psychology could help you to make a change. Making use of a simple psychological technique can lead you to take advantage of your full potential. With the right mindset, you can transform the anxiety that’s been holding you back into a key source of growth, in everything from your trading career to your personal life.

The first step is to figure out exactly what it is that makes you nervous, uneasy, or uncomfortable. A good way to do this is to identify the situations that you tend to avoid. Because anxiety causes psychological pain, your mind will naturally try to keep you from experiencing it. Think about it – the easiest route for you to take is usually one that doesn’t make you feel nervous, stressed, or uneasy at all.

Now let’s consider this in terms of trading psychology. When you trade, you probably feel uncomfortable when you take trade on a larger scale and thus take on more risk. For example, if you notice that you have been performing well in a variety of market conditions and want to raise your success by capitalising more on your trading edge, a natural step would be to increase your trading size. However, making bigger trades also means you’ll regularly face higher profit and loss swings – which can be quite nerve-wracking. Many traders avoid decisions that might lead to higher profits, simply because these decisions make them a little uneasy.

Often, people decide to take the comfortable, safe path because this feels like a responsible decision that will lead to predictable results. However, if you always make only safe decisions, your responsible decisions are probably actually holding you back from doing your best. According to a 1908 psychological study, we perform best when our stress levels are slightly elevated – in other words, to achieve optimal trader growth you actually may need to experience some anxiety.

The truth is, your fears are actually the key towards achieving personal and professional growth. Of course, each person needs to find their own optimal anxiety level – what helps one person grow may paralyse someone else. If you embrace what makes you nervous and manage to achieve a state of controlled anxiety, that means you’re pushing your boundaries and breaking out of your comfort zone. The process of pushing your limits is an uncomfortable challenge, but it’s critical for self-improvement.

Just think about it – we usually try to stay away from the things that make us uncomfortable, but usually discomfort comes up in the areas where we have the highest growth potential. So take some time to identify the situations that make you nervous, that make you uneasy, or that make you uncomfortable – and figure out what challenges you’ve been unconsciously pushing away. If you confront those fears, you will be able to broaden your horizons, perform better, and ultimately achieve trader growth.

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