Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 8 March 2018

That Voice in Your Head Isn't You

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In this blog post I want to step back from the subject of trading somewhat. I want to get a bit more personal, although everything in the blog can just as easily be attached to trading, as well as anything else you are going through in life.

It is a personal insight into me, and something I haven’t shared with a lot of people. But hopefully, by doing so on here, it can help others who go through the same situations.

I am talking about the voice in your head. The one that wants to pull you down, force you to the ground and hold you there. That voice that chirps up and assures you that you aren’t worth a damn, that life is too big for you and everything you do will either fail, or in short order fall apart.

For some people, that voice barely ever speaks up. But for others, it can and does play a big part in their life. It can be the dominating force, if you let it. That voice followed me through most of my youth, and still at times it comes roaring back, shoving its way forward until it is front and centre on the stage of my mind, a lone-concert with no apparent exit in sight.

The problem with that voice is that is comes from within us. And because of that, we believe that it is us. We readily believe the things that it tells us, because it frames them in such a way that it is very difficult not to. We reason that it is simply our summary of the situation at hand. It appears when we are already low and our defences are compromised. It vaults the wall you have built around it and comes slamming down on you greater than any hurricane.

What happens for a lot of people, is that they continue to allow that voice to chip away at them. It picks the battles and continues to attack when those defences are down. Over time, it completely breaks down the wall around it that was holding it in check. And what it does is it starts building a wall around you, until it is the dominant force in your head. Until it has convinced you totally and completely that it is you.

And what happens? It locks you into a very narrow path of life. You lose the belief in yourself and the drive to do better. Your head feels like a weight and you struggle through the days of your life. You do not try to achieve new things, because you believe – no, you know – that you will fail. Mistakes are magnified so large in your head that you fear making them so much that you never try again. Life becomes a mundane march. Around you are windows through which you can see those who do not appear to be afflicted by this voice. But you cannot reach them, nor understand how they do it.

That voice will ruin your life. It will flay the very skin from you, over and over again. It does this because that is how it feeds. It needs to stay in control, and the only way to do that is to make sure that you are weak enough to listen to what it has to say.

But that voice is not you.

It is not you.

It is a grouping of all of your fears and negativity that has been allowed to snowball.

It isn’t an easy thing to deal with. In fact, it is probably the hardest thing that I have ever experienced. It held me back from doing so many things when I was younger. But worse than that, so much worse, is the quality of life it leaves you with. Life is tough enough without your head being bombarded with negativity, the culprit living inside your own head, no rent being paid.

So, what can you do about it?

Well, the first and most important thing that I ever did was to make a distinction between that voice in my head and me. By coming to understand that it is not you, but merely a grouping together of negativity, you can start to separate yourself from it.

Look at it this way: If you knew someone who was in an abusive relationship, would you speak up and try to help them? What if you were at work and your boss was verbally abusing you daily? Would you just continue to work the hours and decide that it was just a part of life you had to accept?

Of course, you wouldn’t. So, why would you accept that sort of treatment from inside your own head? You are allowing that voice to treat you in the exact same manner that you would reject and rally against if it was coming from an external source. Do you understand how little sense that makes?

You live with you and you alone. As I mentioned, life is tough enough without that home being full of negativity and hatred. Your internal voice should be there to help and encourage you, not hold you down.

So, the first thing to do is to realise that the voice is NOT YOU. The next time you find your head becoming a mess of negativity, identify it and detach from it. Imagine that voice as a person, standing in front of you in the room. Really spend time building the picture of it as a physical body. And then have that person say the words that the voice is whispering in your ear.

By doing this, you start to see yourself not as the voice in your head, but as someone separate. And you come to realise that you are in fact under attack.

Now, the next stage. Every time that voices chirps up, externalise it into the physical body. But don’t just make it into a person in front of you. Imagine the voice coming at you from someone who you don’t respect. Make them ridiculous. Really have some fun with it. The more ridiculous, the better.

Maybe you imagine it as a high pitched whine coming from an overweight troll sitting at his computer; perhaps you want the voice to come at you from someone who is six inches tall with their fists bunched in anger, throwing a tantrum and screaming the words at you in a pathetic display from the floor; maybe you see a skinny, frail and frightened person trying to project their fears onto you, so ridiculous it makes you want to laugh. The possibilities are limitless. But make sure you spend some time constructing the body for this voice. Make it ridiculous and someone you don’t fear or respect, make it someone you find ridiculous.

The next time you find yourself being pulled down by that voice, throw it outside of you and into the externalised body. The more you do this, the easier it will become. When life seems to be getting on top of you, listen to it from the screeching, six-inch tall tantrum throwing person on your desk. Understand that it is not you. See the fear driven display for what it really is.

What this does is it allows you to think. To rationally think. It allows you to make decisions based on what you want, not what you fear. And each time you do it, you become stronger and it gets a little easier. The wall starts being rebuilt around that voice, higher this time, so high and so strong that even President Trump would be proud of you.

Keep moving forward and don’t let anyone – especially yourself – hold you back.

James Orr

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