The psychology of manual trading sports

Mercedes Van Essen discusses the psychology of the trader; how the mind can be trained to ensure maximum chance of successful, and profitable trading.

Categories: All Sports, Execution & Getting On, Professional

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Let’s be perfectly honest about it: Trading is often viewed as the domain of gamblers where winning is viewed as pure luck. This is even truer for the area of sports trading, where many an ignorant bystander may completely fail to understand the intricate nature of the game.

For starters, any form of trading whether you bet on currencies, stocks, commodities or sports, is a high performance activity if you intend to be consistently successful at it.

It requires mental acuity, nimbleness and a high degree of calm focus and detachment from the outcome.

In other words: Psychology is over 90% of the game as any seasoned, successful trader will tell you.

Self knowledge opens the door to (trading) mastery. Self mastery is attained through acquiring in depth self knowledge and is the only portal to the holy grail of lasting trading success.

Your trading results are the mirror of your thoughts, feelings and emotions, and those are inevitably a reflection of the past, and not of the present. While you cannot alter the past, you can certainly alter your thoughts feelings and emotions in the present, yet most people are not doing this, repeating instead most of what they did yesterday and the days and weeks before that.

There is a good reason for this: Your innermost emotions are hidden from your conscious awareness.

The mind is a fickle operator, unless it has fixed reference points, clear goals and strict parameters within which to operate. It does not handle uncertainty well, since there cannot be any fixed reference points whenever you are betting on a future outcome where you have no clue as to how exactly it is going to unfold.

To circumvent this problem the mind accumulated many techniques to fool you into a safe heaven. Typical illusions are beliefs that one is lucky, that this next time has to be a winner, or that a new system will improve one’s odds of success.  These, so called distracter implants of course are obfuscations of the truth.

The conscious mind will feed the unaware the illusion that what you are looking at is real and the complete picture. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth:

The mind’s ability to take in information is extremely limited.

It takes in around 25 to 40 bits of information per second, while the entire body matrix, which is the intuitive, non linear side of your mind is capable of taking in millions of pieces of information at the same time.

Since the conditioned part of your brain is obviously unable to compute larger levels of information, the majority of what your mind takes in at any given moment is hidden from your conscious view.

Put differently: 90 % of what you do, think and feel happens without your knowledge.

Your conditioned mind operates very similar to a computer: All is well if all the programs are in the correct order, however, if there is a glitch in the filing system, the computer won’t work too well.

Successful trading of any kind requires from you to make consistently correct decisions with incomplete information about a future outcome. Obviously you need an edge:

The majority of people have no idea that they are effectively operating in a hypnotic sleep state, believing that they are in control of their day to day decisions.

Your best trading edge is to increase your conscious awareness: Expanding your conscious awareness beyond the purely linear functioning of your mind enables you to process more information. Your ability to handle information with calm equanimity, staying out of the emotional roller coaster of the crowd consciousness is your biggest trading edge by far. I am sure you can see why this is so.

When you see beyond the emotions that arise from the conditioned part of your brain your inner chatter slows down. This allows you to see more of the big picture, because you are accessing the mind modalities where creativity and intuition come into play. Creativity and intuitive senses function in a non-linear way not needing fixed reference points. When you operate without the need for fixed reference points you enter into the realm of imagination and infinite possibilities. Here you have access to the zero point field, as it is referred to in the language of quantum physics. The zero point field is also the point from which all manifestation originates, including your trading success, or the lack thereof.

I was always fascinated how we create reality, and studied it since my early twenties. The findings in quantum physics of the past 20 years are ground-breaking and will alter the way we think and operate in years to come, because quantum physics is proving the essence of the teachings from the wisdom traditions:  We are the creators of our reality.

Integrating this understanding and finding effective ways to utilise it to our advantage in trading and in life in general led me to write The Buddhist Trader and several other books on trading psychology and crowd behaviour, viewed through the lens of the quantum and the wisdom traditions.

What I learnt transformed my trading performance.

I stopped working on refining my trading system every time there was a drawdown and worked on improving my knowledge of myself and of universal law instead.  My trading system evolved as a result of what I had learned and experienced. As my knowledge deepened and I began to apply certain universal laws in my own trading my confidence in myself grew, simply because I began for the first time to understand why I had had challenges and what I needed to do to address them.

It is a certain fact that most traders, even those with experience, have reality back to front, believing that tweaking their trading systems will bring them better results, when the answer actually lies within themselves. When you get this and start unlocking your inner potential trading success will come your way.

About Mercedes Van Essen

Mercedes Oestermann van Essen is an active trader, trading psychology coach and the author of The Buddhist Trader and other books on trading psychology available as digital downloads on her website:

The Buddhist Trader book also is available on Amazon.
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