Market Masters: Expanding Your Trading Horizons

trading analysisby Mercenary Trader      Trading, in and of itself, is a life-altering task. It is not possible to trade well without having other parts of your life impacted in a major way… often for the better, but also requiring sacrifice. (Does anything truly good come without sacrifice?)

Time, energy and mental resilience — three important resources wholly separate from financial capital — have to be harvested and invested in any intelligent trading process.

This is why one’s best odds of trading success come with a holistic upgrade to life management on the whole…

There is the challenge of positive pressure — something we have deliberately created for ourselves.

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coal and diamond picYou’ve probably heard the old adage about how to turn a lump of coal into a diamond. The key ingredient is intense pressure, applied over time. No consistent pressure, no ultimate transformation.

(Or alternatively, as Thich Nhat Hanh has taught: “No mud, no lotus.”)

We’ve gotten pretty good at applying pressure to ourselves. It’s the only way to evolve.

In fact, if we had to choose a broad-based operational motto, it would be two words: “Winners evolve.”

There are exceptions to this rule — crocodiles haven’t changed in 50 million years — but for the vast majority of species, including homo sapiens tradus maximus, it holds true.

The idea here is that, by setting challenges for ourselves at the margin of performance, we are forced to expand creatively. That’s why we are ridiculously ambitious in certain areas.

It’s not just “biting off more than we can chew,” but “seeing what we can do”… what unexpected insights and necessity-driven creative breakthroughs positive pressure will facilitate…

How do you get to the next level? By pushing the limits of the current one

This exploring at the margins is where incremental performance gains come from: Observation, experimentation, feedback. Contemplate and repeat. Get more clarity with each turn of the wheel.

You can do the same thing on your own journey. Creative problem solving stretches the mind. Positive pressure serves up the problems to be solved… which are perhaps more accurately cast as “opportunities to unlock.”

In terms of goals there is a sweet spot. You want to be modestly intimidated by the scope of the challenge you set for yourself – “How in the world will I pull that off?” – but also confident you can do it if you truly push hard enough.

Expanding the Circle

Another way to think about this is to imagine your comfort zone as a bright blue circle — like a spotlight or a giant hula hoop that surrounds you at all times. The broader your skill set and competence level, the bigger the diameter of your circle.

bright blue circleIn trying to expand your comfort zone — exerting positive pressure in pursuit of ambitious goals — you want aim for a spot far enough beyond the current perimeter to really make you stretch. (Strrrreeetttchh…)

This invites the possibility, even the strong likelihood, of repeated failure… but only on a temporary basis. If you picked the right goal, success will come through persistence, creativity, and tenacity… and your circle will expand. Your comfort zone, and competence level, will cover that much more ground.

Then you can pick a new incremental goal, and do it again…

This is an incredibly important concept for success in trading – or more accurately for success in life! Because you really can’t separate the two. The one feeds the other, and vice versa as strength in life leads to better focus and rapid evolution in trading… And the lessons gained from trading are directly applied to so many other areas of life.

Here’s to your expanding trading horizons!

Mike McD – Mercenary Trader

About Mercenary Trader:  With many years of industry experience, ‘Jack Sparrow’ and ‘Mike McDermott’ formed a community of “ruthless profiteers” at  Through their website, they offer active investing insights and unique strategies to profit in today’s marketplace. Follow ‘Mike McDermott’ on StockTwits: @MercenaryMike   Twitter: @MercenaryMike

Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of any other person or entity.