Be – Do – Have: Your way out of a rut
By David Hobart
Many traders and portfolio managers experience prolonged periods of insanity throughout their careers. That is, doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different outcomes. The experience of being in a rut can be mentally and emotionally draining, making the challenge of getting out of it seem all the more daunting. What is logical in moments like these however, is that something needs to change, but knowing where to start can make all the difference. Before looking at strategy or process, I will often help traders to first uncover any unconscious thoughts that are getting in the way of their objectives. It is often unproductive ways of being caused by wrong mindedness that lead to persistent ruts.
The past dictates your future
The experience of being in a rut leaves you with the sense that it doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t seem to change what you get. It’s as though the past keeps recurring and you have no control over your future.
To illustrate, I’ll use a simplistic example of how a rut might occur. We often see the order of things in life as something like this … “If only I could raise another $1m for my business, I would ramp up my marketing efforts and be so much more confident in my future”. Or put more simply, if I had this, I would do that, and then would be something.
In this way of thinking, the past is always in front of us. “If only I could raise another $1m…”. With that thought comes an experience of lack, of not enough, of where I have been rather than where I want to be going. I am projecting more of my past onto my future. Can you see that in order to raise the extra $1m, one would have to be more confident? Raising money when confident is so much easier than raising money out of need. In this case, our minds keep pushing the $1m further from our grasp simply by postponing what it is we need (confidence) in order to attain it. This perpetuates our state of lack and holds us in a rut. Arggh. Dissatisfaction.
Try this instead:
- Imagine you have the extra $1m. How do you feel? Confident. Great, then be confident now. Declare to yourself your confidence. Feel it in your bones.
- Act in a manner that is consistent with you being confident. If your actions are incongruent with how you have declared yourself to be, then you will feel dissatisfaction and continue to experience your past projected onto your future.
- The have will then take care of itself.
Notice the reversal. Our minds think backwards; have – do – be. To begin to transform your world, try it the other way around; be – do – have.
About David Hobart
David has been a trader and portfolio manager since 1994. He has managed teams of traders for global investment banks and hedge funds including BT, Macquarie, ABN Amro and Blue Sky Alternative Investments. He has worked with numerous traders and portfolio managers as a trading coach/performance consultant. For a detailed review of David’s CV, please see his LinkedIn profile.
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