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Making Traders Resilient

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I read a wonderful article in the New Yorker by Maria Konnikova about making people resilient.

The subject of resilience is one close to my heart as I am confronted with it on a daily basis as I watch my daughter and wife suffer with a chronic illness and its devastating impact on their lives and their loved ones. There is so much pop psychology surrounding this buzzword so we will stay focused and hopefully walk away with something positive that will help make a difference to your life and of course your trading.

My 1st formal exposure to the idea of resilience came from reading Viktor Frankl’s 1946 epic Man’s Search for Meaning in which he reflects on the first hand experiences of prisoners in German concentration camps during the Holocaust, he being one of the prisoners. As a prominent Psychiatrist his experiences lead to his founding of the psychology field called logotherapy and its central premise that man can endure the most inhuman circumstances by finding meaning in his suffering.

Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. Frankl offered the thought that for everyone in a dire condition there is someone looking down, a friend, family member, or even God, who would expect not to be disappointed. Frankl concludes from his experience that a prisoner’s psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, but also from the freedom of choice he always has even in severe suffering. The inner hold a prisoner has on his spiritual self relies on having a hope in the future, and that once a prisoner loses that hope, he is doomed.

Two prominent developmental psychologists Norman Garmezy and Emmy Werner did wonderful work in the field of resilience. Dr Werner undertook a major study whereby she tracked the development of 698 children in Hawaii from birth through their 3rd decade of life. She was able to identify kids that were highly likely to display delinquent behaviour but of this group one third were able to overcome their circumstances and become successful members of society. She studied how they were able to rise above their circumstances.

She found that from a young age, resilient children tended to “meet the world on their own terms.” They were autonomous and independent. Perhaps most importantly, the resilient children had what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”: they believed that they, and not their circumstances, affected their achievements.

George Bonnano a clinical psychologist found that the key to resilience is perception. He says, “Events are not traumatic until we experience them as traumatic” so he is empowering us to perceive an event on our terms. Events have the potential for us to experience them as traumatic, but we can rather view them as an opportunity to learn and grow; similar to Frankl who seeks to find meaning in the event.

I think the ideas presented in this post are wonderfully empowering. As traders we are no doubt going to experience “traumatic” events in our trading accounts. However its up to us how we wish to process these events they don’t needed to be felt as traumatic experiences that devastate us as traders. Instead using PsyQuation’s software (launching in May) we can alter our perception and choose to learn more about where we are going wrong with our trading and instead of becoming defeated become resilient.

The Persona Effect Welcome from the CEO