Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 1 September 2016

How do you Speak to Yourself?

Reading Time - 5 Minutes

How do you speak to yourself? On a day to day basis.

First of all, I don’t mean the sort of walking down the street, having a full on conversation with yourself or your imaginary friend type of talking to yourself. If that’s what you’re doing, I don’t think my blog is going to be much help to you… your imaginary friend may just love it though!

Perhaps a better way to phrase this question is – how do you treat yourself?

This is so important in life in general, not merely trading. I truly believe that how you treat yourself, how you talk to yourself, will have an immense impact on the life you lead. Because you are you, and there’s no one you trust more than yourself.

Just think about it for a moment. Because a lot of people let their self-belief and their inner talk have a detrimental affect on their life. Are you your own worst enemy?

Now think about some of the people you really admire and respect – it may be Bill Gates, Muhammad Ali or Richard Branson. How do you imagine they talk to themselves? Is it in line with how you speak to yourself? If not, the disconnect is likely where a lot of the issues you face are coming from.

New age bull**it, I hear you say. Well, I don’t think so. Our brain is essentially a large sponge, which sucks up information and stores it for later use. It doesn’t have a filter whereby you can pick and choose the things that it remembers – just think about the last time you had an annoying song stuck in your head. Now imagine bombarding that sponge with negativity, day after day, consistently and with a poisonous power. The negativity is coming from within and there is nowhere for it to go and so it is stored, over and over again, on repeat until the voice gains so much strength that you begin to believe it is actually you who is speaking.

Do you think that is going to influence your day-to-day life? Will it affect you when you’re in a trade and the market starts to move against you?

‘You’re a loser, I told you that you can’t do this.’
‘Another mistake. What else did you expect?’
‘Why don’t you just give up? This clearly isn’t for you.’

Sound familiar?

I should add here that I am in no way perfect. That negativity creeps in on me at times as well. The way I talk to myself drops down to the equivalent of two drunken Scottish guys arguing. I don’t believe you can have 100% positivity. In fact, I think that would be an oxymoron. How can positivity exist unless there is negativity to measure it against?

So I’m not perfect, but I do work my ass off to make sure that the majority of the time, my internal talk is positive and in line with the goals I set for myself. Rather than trading, I’ll take another quick example for you – writing. When I first started sending my work out, I was bombarded with formalised rejection letters. It would have been easy to let that rejection swamp me and just give up. But I didn’t – I continued doing what I was doing, pushing through, and hey-ho, acceptances began to appear. I actually was in the position of having my short stories accepted more than once, and had to choose who I preferred to go with.

Now the way I did this is much more important than the example itself. And it really is quite simple – I prepared for the negativity. I expected it and so I was able to build defences before it even arrived.

How did I do this? Well for writing, I firstly made damn sure my work was good. I wrote every single day, for at least an hour, for years. I looked over my work, judged it, corrected it, adapted. If you don't work at your craft and toward your goals, if you don't focus on improving what you're doing, then there is no way you will succeed.

After that – and this is the important bit – I looked at other people’s shortcomings and failures.

That doesn’t sound very ‘positive’, does it? But I wasn’t revelling in their failure. Instead I looked at some of the authors I really admired – Stephen King, JK Rowling, Jim Butcher – and I researched the early days of their writing; before they were shiny and polished and famous. I looked to see how they fared. And guess what? Their early writing careers were FILLED with rejection. I should point out that this was also the way I figured out I needed to write for an hour a day at a minimum. Because it’s what they all did.

Now jump back to the rejection letters rolling in. Instead of being disheartened and swamped by negative talk, I was able to brush it off. ‘This is all part of the process. If it happened to Stephen King, it was bound to happen to me. But he kept going and that’s what I need to do. No, I’m not a failure, I’m not useless and I shouldn’t give up. If anything, I know that I am on the right path.’

When you do this – research the hardship and then prepare for it – you remove the ability to self-hate. You do this because you know what you are going through is normal. You’ve already researched the bumpy path that you need to take.
Reframe the negativity that comes your way. If you lose a trade through a mistake – ''That’s ok. Every trader on the planet has done the same, especially as a beginner. The important point is that they worked to correct the mistakes, and that’s what I need to do now.''

You can do this for literally anything – Trading, Writing, Parenting, Learning to Drive, Starting a business etc.

For me, the keys to success live in the cracks of successful people, residing right there in their failures and early careers.

I hope you’ve all had a great trading week!


  1. Once again I totally agree, we seem to have the same philosophy. Attitude Is Everything and What To Say When You Talk To Yourself are great books to read. :)

    1. Thanks Jane. I agree completely. I also believe likeminded people gravitate toward one another, hence I seem to meet lots of similar thinkiers through Decisive Trading :-)