I believe that trading success is 90% attributable to your attitude and your mindset for success. If you doubt that you can do it, your Subconscious Mind and your RAS (Reticular Activating System) will ensure that the deal never gets done. Conversely, if you believe that success is imminent and every fiber in your body is aligned with you growing your account, then it will happen.
Because of my belief in this mindset, (and I’ve seen it happen with my own transformation) I’ve studied people and groups that have made it their business to achieve the seemingly impossible. And one group that I keep coming back to again and again are special forces groups like the US Navy Seals. The seals have gotten a lot of publicity over the last decade, but really I could be referring to any elite special operations group, like the US Army Rangers, The Green Berets, The British SAS, Russian Spetsnaz, or Israeli Mossad. Just to make it through any of these initial training camps you have to overcome your own preconceived limitations of what is possible. The biggest limitation to success in any venture is always in your mind.
Hopefully you can see the parallels to successful trading, where believing in your eventual success is 100% necessary. So let’s see how the US Navy Seals deal with this in their legendary BUD/S training that has an 80% attrition rate. With a starting class size of 80, you might only have 15 candidates left by graduation. And these are probably similar odds to those that successfully trade a small account without any disciplined approach.
First off, if you are a SEAL candidate, you know that a great deal of the training is just mental and physical harassment, trying to induce doubt in your mindset. Only the true believers who have NO OTHER PATH open to them will make it through. Can you see the analogy to trading a small account here? If you let yourself off the hook, and say to yourself, “well, maybe this really isn’t that important to me” then your subconscious mind will see to it that you pursue that alternate path, instead of the hard one that you originally said that you wanted.
At any point in their training, a brass bell is never more than a short walk away from seal candidates. To end the abuse, all that a candidate has to do is to get up, announce that he is done, and ring the bell three times. They’re given a nice warm blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and they’re immediately whisked away from the area, never to be seen again. The pain is over, temporarily.
But ringing the bell forever ends their quest of being a seal, the best of the best. They have decided right then and there that they are willing to settle, to accept less than their best. They have a plan B that’s less painful and they’re going to follow it.
And I want you to commit right now that no matter how many times you have to circle back and regroup, never ring the bell when it comes to trading your small account. Most of the time, a committed trader who has trouble getting somewhere with a small account is doing so because they’re losing patience, or trading too many things, or never really did find their “one thing.” I spent a lot of subject matter in my recent “Trading a Small Account” program providing students with an organized approach so that they can keep their progress on rails and not lose their way.
If you get sidetracked, just regroup, recalibrate your approach, reload, and get after it again. Never ring the bell. Doc Severson
P.S. I’ve attached what I believe to be one of the very best college commencement speeches, conducted by Admiral William McRaven. You’ll see the obvious tie-in if you watch this video, easily worth the 20 minute investment.