Overcoming Bad Traits When Trading Binary Options
Identifying with a Long Journey
While some traders build an identity around false expertise, there are others who do the opposite. Imagine that Mark has been involved in binary options trading for four years now. During that time, he has been incredibly serious and devoted to learning everything he can. He has read dozens of trading books, watched more webinars than he can count, and has tested and achieved strong results for half a dozen systems.
But no matter how far he manages to move along the road toward live trading, something always seems to break down along the way. Usually this happens when he gets to the demo phase. Maybe some unpredictable factor throws off his trading, or maybe he just is not happy with his results. He has achieved an 82% win ratio, but he has a friend using the same system who has achieved 87%. Nothing is ever good enough for this guy.
If you were to ask Mark why he is unwilling to make that last leap into real trading with real money, he might respond with something like this: “I will only trade when I am really ready. I am not going to be one of those guys who throw their money away because they are not patient and committed enough to hang in there and really become experts. I am in this for the long haul.”
Mark then points to all the traders he has known who have failed over the years, all because they dove in before they were ready. Some of these may have been false experts like Joe. Mark is determined not to be like them.
This actually may sound like a pretty good argument, but Mark is still justifying a behavior which is not profiting him. The reality is that he has the skills, knowledge, and (in all other respects) the psychology he needs to move forward. He even has the bankroll, but he is just not willing to cross the line into turning a hypothetical career into a real one. If he could, he is one of those students who would have attended college forever had someone paid him to do it—and not because he loves learning. He is simply avoiding the future.
There are so many reasons why Mark may be holding back it is impossible to run through them all. But one reason may be that he likes this identity he has crafted for himself as a kind of student or seeker. There is a mantle of nobility that he associates with his eternal quest. Where others do not have what it takes to stick to it and seek the highest, he does.
Ironically, for Mark to achieve the highest, he will have to switch from being a seeker to becoming a finder. He will have to release the identity which has become so comfortable. Doing so may even make him worry that he is one of those traders—the ones he has pointed to as failures. Perhaps Mark previously jumped into some other occupation with the same blind enthusiasm that they display, and it cost him dearly. Maybe in those failed traders he sees a mirror of his past, and he is scared of it becoming his future. No matter what, it is something he will have to let go of to become a profitable binary trader.
Identifying as a Loser
While we generally identify at least in some way with something we think of as a positive, sometimes people can become so utterly downtrodden that they are scared even to let go of negative identities.
Imagine a binary options trader named Trish. Trish has made a lot of mistakes as a trader, and many of them have cost her money. She is not a bad trader; she has many aspects of trading down pat, and she actually has a great deal of promise. She has a hard time believing that, though, and tends to hyper-focus on her losses while ignoring her wins. She jokes to other traders in her frustration that she is “simply a screw-up.” Only she is not really joking; she believes it.
Other traders may wonder why Trish’s self-esteem is so bad, and may not understand why she identifies only with her losing trades and attributes, and not with her wins. What they do not know is that Trish was raised by emotionally abusive parents who subtly but persistently criticized everything she did growing up. Trish ingrained the belief that she “is a screw-up” at a very deep level, and was set on a track to sabotage her own success.
Trish will never become a winning trader so long as she clings to this identity. She may or may not be aware of it or how it was created, but as long as she believes that she is destined for failure, she will continue to repeat the behaviors that cost her money. The worst thing about this type of belief is that it provides its own steady stream of fuel. Each loss only provides Trish with more evidence that her parents were right. She may even come to believe she is such a loser she does not even deserve to win.
Learn to Disown or Reframe the Traits That Are Holding You Back
So what can you do if you realize that there are character traits that are persistently holding you back from achieving binary options success? I have seen so many articles advise something like, “Just let go of your fear,” or “Leave your pride behind,” but it is rarely that simple. Traits and emotions like these do not emerge from a vacuum. They often connect to other events in our lives, and they are built on a structural framework of beliefs.
I think the first important thing to do is stop justifying these beliefs and protecting these identities. Let’s consider our example traders. With each of them, there is a clash between belief and reality.
Joe the risk-taker may love the idea of living on the edge and making money doing it, but the identity he wants to embody is a myth. There are no consistently successful traders who gamble wildly and throw themselves headlong into unnecessary risk.
Greg the expert refuses to give up on his belief that he knows the markets, even though he does not. His expertise exists nowhere outside his head; his false identity is costing him money.
Sally the fearful trader has a complex belief system. Her identity incorporates many positive traits, such as responsibility, patience, and determination. These traits are out of balance however because they are tied intimately to a worldview where the deck is stacked against her. She believes she is protecting her positive traits, but really, she is protecting her belief in her continuing misfortune. And because she identifies with that fear and refuses to relinquish it, it continues to hold her back. The identity she believes is sparing her from misfortune is actually creating it.
Mark the seeker likewise identifies with positive traits which on their own should serve as assets. But he too has woven them into a complex identity that does not entirely reflect reality. He is so cared of becoming an irresponsible trader that he overcompensates and refuses to trade at all. For him it feels safer to excel as a kind of eternal novice than to fail as a live trader. He refuses to trust in his very real expertise. He may be identifying with some past where he dove into another occupation too quickly and failed. Either way, he is not acknowledging the present.
Trish the self-saboteur identifies with her childhood trauma, which has shaped a distorted view of herself and the world. She believes she is destined to failure and deserves to fail, and as a result, she sabotages her own trading. Other traders wonder why she cannot recognize her own skills or win consistently when she has everything she needs to succeed.
As you can see, none of these identities are authentic. None of them reflects the truth of the trader or the situation. All of them have some basis, but all of them are leading to lost money and opportunity.
No person really wants to fail. All of us want to succeed, make money, and be happy—even Trish, when you subtract the lies she has ingrained. So what should these traders do to move forward? They need to not only let go of their fear, pride, hesitation, and other negative behaviors and traits, but also the elaborate frameworks of false belief and identity which are feeding into them.
I remember reading an article on trading once where someone made a brilliant observation:
We talk about becoming a trader, but we often forget what the process of becoming really means. Right now, if you are just starting out, you are not yet a successful binary options trader. That is a future identity, one that does not belong to you yet.
To become that person, to take on that new identity, you will need to be ready to sacrifice something old in its place. The person you are now is not a successful trader, not just because you have not gone through the motions of becoming one, but because you have not yet cultivated the traits you need to succeed.
But the reality is that the end-goal identity of successful trader may very well be more authentic than the identity you are carrying now, especially if your current identity is what is holding you back. If we all want to be happy, but the traits you identify with now are causing you to fail, how can they be the truth of who you are?
So stop protecting the traits that are preventing you from embodying the best version of yourself. Reframe and balance your positive traits. Relinquish your negative ones, as well as the negative beliefs that twist your positive traits against you.
Realize that who you are is not determined by your past or by other people. It is okay to admit some of the thoughts inside your head came from others and ultimately have nothing to do with you. Let them go. It may feel like the end of the world in the beginning, but really it is the beginning.
Who you really are is determined by what you want, and what you are willing to do to get it. We all want to be profitable and happy. You have what it takes. Change is scary, especially when it shakes up your very self-perception, but if you are letting go of a false identity that drags you down for a true one that helps you achieve your dreams of trading success, that is a great investment.