I’m convinced that meditation is an integral part of my own success in trading and after completing “The Intention Experiment” I now know a little of the science behind why. With all of the information that we must digests as traders to try and gain a competitive advantage, it’s equally important to become great sorters of what we expose ourselves to. Information overload is very real in this day and age as more software programs, websites, and social media outlets compete for our time. Anxiety and stress are the byproducts of not knowing how to utilize all this information best in our trading.
The concept of “peak attention” has been discovered by the author, Lynne McTaggart as being the first important step that all traders must achieve before they can trade at a high level of “concentrated focus”. One way to enter this focused state of peak attention is through meditation. According to Mike Bellafiore from SMB trading, “one of the criteria used in most prop firms’ recruiting matrix is a calm disposition”. It’s impossible to have this sort of mental makeup if one doesn’t have a clear daily plan to relax and reset the mind on a consistent basis.
I think most people’s apprehension about meditating is whether they are doing it right, finding the time, or even if they think they can sit there for 5 or 10 minutes without doing anything…or worse yet…not thinking about anything. Who really thinks about nothing when we’re all trying to figure out ways to multi-task in the most efficiently manner? I believe there have been studies done that nobody can really do two things at a time and succeed at both of them. So why do we still try to accomplish more when it sacrifices the quality of both?
Concentrated attention appears to enlarge certain mechanisms of perception, while tuning out “noise.” Daniel Goodman, author of Emotional Intelligence, carried out research showing that the cortices of meditators “speed up,” but get cut off from the limbic emotional center. With practice, he concluded, anyone can carry out this “switching-off” process, without an overlay of emotion or meaning. During this process, all of the power of the brain is free to focus on a single thought: an awareness of what is happening at the present moment. ~ Lynne McTaggart, The Intention Experiment
A couple of ways to avoid being overwhelmed during trading is through off market hour research and preparation, a mechanical system, combined with an exact plan of hour you are going to trade your plan. I have a checklist at my desk of the exact criteria that I need to see happen when one of my trade alerts fire. Between Skype, responding to emails, and various other distractions to my trading, when I get an alert I stop everything, go through my checklist as not to overlook anything (which takes seconds), and make my trade decision. The fact that I’m clear on what I have to do, drop everything, and focus on the task at hand, it helps me make a more informed decision.
Here are a few more benefits that one can achieve through constant, daily meditation:
- …become aware of unconscious process, and to remain exquisitely sensitive to external stimuli.
- …appears to integrate emotional and cognitive processes.
- …increases not only our ability to receive intuitive information, but also our conscious awareness of it.
~Lynne McTaggart, The Intention Experiment
To bring this back into how meditation can help you in your trading and my inspiration on writing this post, is that as one meditates, it has the ability to increase the brains powers of observation, which can “allow in more information, even the kind that is received intuitively”. That is a serious statement when you sit back and think about the implications in trading and to any problem that you may be having. Thomas Edison used to combine one simple form of meditiation to receive an answer intuitivelyto solve some of his hardest challenges. I believe anytime we can get out of the way our ourselves and allow our subconscious to help guide us, we are putting ourselves in a position to succeed