Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Do You Ever Feel Lost?

Sometimes, when I come to the computer in order to update the blog, I suffer a 'mental blank'. The reason is that there is only so many topics I can touch on in direct relation to trading. When I write a blog post, I like it to have feeling behind it and know that I am giving advice I know to be true and useful, rather than just filling the page with words for the sake of it.

So with that in mind, I am going to start wandering off the trading path now and again.

Today, I am going to start with a post on something that followed me through a lot of my younger years:

Feeling Lost

I truly believe that everyone, at some point in their life, feels lost. It doesn't necessarily mean you are unemployed and hiding under your duvet because you don't know what you want to do with your life. People in jobs - careers even - are just as likely to feel lost. It's a sense of not knowing what lies ahead, usually with a good mix of fear and belief that whatever is ahead, it won't be good.

This was very prevelant for me just after I moved back from Canada. I had gone over there for a year to 'find myself'. But in reality, for me at least, that statement could have been quite easily translated into 'I was running away'. Because I had felt lost before I left for Canada, and the hope was that something would change when I got over there. However it didn't. What I found was that, moving country I could change my surroundings, friends and experiences, and that was great, but the main character of my story - me - couldn't be escaped quite so easily.

Once I got home, that sense of 'feeling lost' was still there, heavy on my shoulders. The best way I can describe it is that I was always irritated and on edge, but I could never put my finger on the exact reason why. I harboured a belief that I should be doing more, achieving more, striving for better. Everyone around me seemed to be finishing University and stepping into careers, looking to buy their first home. In my eyes, they were 'succeeding' at the life map.

It actually got worse for a while after I suffered a fairly bad injury to my shoulder. I had to have an operation and it really impacted me mentally. I lost a lot of strength in the arm and it meant that a lot of the things I had been able to do before, or had the option of doing before, were suddenly removed. I had always kept myself physically fit, so being told that the shoulder would never be the same again and wouldn't be strong really impacted me. I had been looking at joining the Royal Marines at that time, and the injury basically wiped the option off the table.

It was really through chance that I then discovered trading and found I had a real passion for it. That gave me drive in the sense of a career, but it isn't really the main topic of this post. I want to focus on that essence of 'feeling lost'.

I'm sure some of you reading this know the feeling. Perhaps you're feeling it right now.

The first thing to realise, is that you are in no way unique or alone in what you are feeling. I have just shown you that I felt it for a very long period, and in fact it still creeps in from time to time, even now.

So you're saying, 'Great, other people feel this way. That doesn't really help me though, does it? Get on with it!'

How do deal with it? That feeling that nothing is quite right, that you're lost and don't see a good path ahead of you?

Well let's look at what you're doing at the times when it's at its worst -

- You are projecting your future, imagining what is going to happen/not happen.

Both are causing the problem in a big way.

Have you ever heard the saying 'live in the now'? I am sure you have. But the issue with statements like that is that for me at least, they are very airy, are slapped on memes, read, smiled at and then forgotten as you progress through your day. But it holds the key to helping you with this issue.

What are you doing when you project your future and feel lost? Just stop and think about it for a moment.

You're making up stories. You're imagining things. And you're doing it in a negative way.

Why is that important? Because it is all nonesense! At the very best it is a guess. You have absolutely no idea with any real certainty what is going to happen one year, five years, ten years into your future. Life changes and so do you. The very idea that you know what is going to happen is ridiculous. Did you have any idea that Donald Trump would be the President of the US five years ago? I sure didn't!

When you're feeling lost, you need to refocus your mind away from the 'imaginings' and into the real world. And the truth about the real world is that you only know what has happened, and what is currently happening. You have no ability to change what has already happened, so what does that leave you with?

Living in the now.

Whenever you feel lost, try this:

Instead of worrying about what lies ahead, and assuring yourself that the world is going to come crumbling down around you, ask yourself two questions -

1) What would my future self thank me for doing right now?
2) What am I grateful for right now?

Both of these questions pull you back to what you can control and where you are now. They do not rely on fantasy.

1) As soon as that sense of dread and worry appears, make yourself active. Work on something that you think will benefit you. It can be anything at all. Sit down and spend an hour learning coding. Start the German course you wanted to do. Make yourself study for an hour.

What this does is it focuses your mind on something complex. That draws you away from your wandering throughts and onto something concrete and useful. And let's say your worry about the future is failing your exams... Well, studying now is going to be appreciated by your future self a lot more than biting your nails and crying about how tough things are.

2) Realise that no matter how bad you think it is, there is always something to be grateful for. Again, it can be anything at all.

You have a roof over your head. Perhaps a year ago you never imagined you would be able to support yourself and pay bills.

You have a dog who makes you smile and is always happy to see you.

You just had the perfect cup of tea!

Literally, anything that you can think of that you can be appreciative of. Focus on it. Take your mind away from the negative and onto a positive.

What you will find is that by doing this, you are training yourself to refocus away from that worry and lost feeling. You are also turning that negative into something productive.

I won't lie and say that it is a quick fix, or a full proof fix overall. But I can promise you that it will help.

Stop using so much energy on worry. Allow yourself to live in the now. You didn't see a man with a yellow wig running the White House, so you can't see your future with any certainty either. Be OK with that. Understand that feeling lost is normal, but it is also not an accurate depiction of your life. All you know is 'now'. Deal with that, and the rest will take care of itself.

As always, I hope you found that useful!

James Orr

1 comment:

  1. I can totally identify with this James, mindfulness is a very good technique of calming your mind and body, when you master it ( it does take time ) you see things with much more clarity. I know some see it as "airy Fairy" as you put it! Lol but I can testify that it truly works, looking inwards is the key to living happy outwards......