How Is Your Head?

When I picked a career in trading, I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  The next thing I decided to do was invest in startups.  That’s not easy either.  Are their two tougher things to do in life successfully than trade or do startups?

I am not sure there are.

Being in these occupations screw with your head.  We try to act like robots.  We try to be influenced and follow data.  Instead of listening to our “gut”, we try to create all kinds of algorithms to help guide decisions.  But, we are human.  It’s impossible to keep emotion out of things.

Brad Feld has written a lot about depression.  I have known a lot of traders that have committed suicide.  Lately, there has been a spate of suicides in the financial industry for some reason.  It is not uncommon to have emotions begin to rule your life.

What do you do when you start to get emotional?  First, don’t try and “control” it.  Don’t suppress it.  Understand that feeling emotions of anger, hurt, fear, joy are totally a part of everything.  Then, talk about it.  Have a conversation with yourself about it.   Write it down-or verbalize what you are feeling.  It will help you deal with it intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

Being in entrepreneurship is really hard.  Trading your own money is really hard.  When we aren’t successful, our competitive juices flow even harder.  Our response sometimes is to put in long hours, and look at charts and data.  Instead, sometimes it’s better to get away.  Take a walk.  Go work on an exercise machine.  Change your scenery.  Provide an outlet for all that emotional energy that is building up inside you.

Many times, underperforming isn’t about the execution, but about what is inside the head of the person executing.

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