The Hard Work of Discipline
Discipline is hard work. It’s not just hard, it’s grueling.
Consider the plight of extreme discipline:
College students who spend all their waking hours in the library studying to graduate at the top of their class. Professional athletes who practice for hours and make sacrifices to ensure they perform at their best. Medical residents who get little sleep in order to hone their skills.
In their everyday lives, most people don’t demonstrate unwavering dedication and discipline exemplary of people who perform at their peak, so it’s not surprising that many would-be traders struggle to maintain self-control and to follow their trading plans. It’s hard, grueling and just plain boring.
We live in an instant gratification world of people seeking shortcuts to massive success, yet many never attain. We are dealing with a new breed of millennium babies who spend more time texting or playing video games then learning self control or discipline.
It’s more common to see people show a lack of discipline than extreme self control. Driving is one example where people demonstrate less self-control than is optimal. Few people follow the rules or drive defensively. Drivers frequently drive too fast, fail to slow down to allow others to change lanes or make a turn safely, or even allow pedestrians to cross the street while in the crosswalk.
It’s surprising how many people fail to show self-control and speed with gasoline as high as it has been in the past year! On the other hand, it’s not surprising, since most people don’t see the necessity for self-control and discipline.
There are endless examples of how discipline is just not respected in modern society.
Most of the fast foods we eat today are inconsistent with home grown foods in garden, for example. Who has time to grow a garden in today’s world?
People gain more weight than is optimal and risk their health due to a lack of self-control. In addition, spending is a problem for many. Indeed, had people voluntarily decided that they should purchase houses they could actually afford, the United States would be in a little less financial trouble (that is, if no one wanted to take a risky home mortgage, banks could not have taken on the risks; it takes two to tango).
Unfortunately, discipline requires hard work and it’s boring.
Discipline isn’t fun, but it is vital for success. Why do people fail when trying to show self control?
People never set real goals on a consistent basis, fail to monitor their behavior, and have difficulty mustering the psychological strength to maintain control.
First, when trying to trade with discipline, it is essential to set clearly defined goals.
Make a clear profit objective and stick to it. If you know what to do and when to do it, you can more easily enter and exit a trade. But if you have conflicts in terms of how much you want to make, you will act with indecision. You will tend to trade by the seat of your pants, and will increase your propensity to act on impulse.
Second, it is also necessary to monitor your behavior. Pay close attention to your behavior. Traders need to learn superb concentration, discipline, desire, motivation, and satisfaction to attain massive achievement Just as with showing a lack of discipline when driving, when you are distracted and allow your attention to wander from the task at hand, you will have difficulty maintaining self control and sticking with your trading plan.
Finally, self control takes psychological energy. It’s important to view your ability to maintain discipline as similar to a muscle. Like an actual muscle, it’s necessary to build up stamina.
Maintaining control takes psychological energy, and humans have a limited amount of psychological energy. When the limits are reached, maintaining discipline is a challenge. The best solution is to build up as much psychological energy as possible, which will in turn allow you to maintain self-control. It is vital to get plenty of rest and relaxation.
When you’re tired, the available psychological energy you can devote to trading is restricted. You will have great difficulty controlling emotions and impulses. By getting the proper amount of rest, you’ll have enough energy stored up to combat pessimism, stay focused, and maintain self-control.
Many traders have difficulty trading with discipline. It’s tempting to trade impulsively and live with the consequences. But the consistent winning trader is the disciplined trader.
By taking steps to build your self-control skills, you’ll trade with the proper mental edge and increase your odds of success.
Self discipline is not something you acquire. It is something you work consistently on daily becoming a habit for life.
A man in debt is so far a slave.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
Forex Joe — Lead Analyst – OUFX Trader