In ‘A Recommendation..‘, I wrote a brief outline why Dr. Brett Steenbarger’s “The Daily Trading Coach’ was a must read/have. With the book becoming available on March 23rd, I thought it was an opportune time to write a more personal review. I say personal because rather then review the contents of the whole book, I am writing about what I found useful.
As regular readers know, I believe we have unconscious beliefs that will lead us to respond automatically given the appropriate stimuli. The problem with an automatic response is it robs us of choice. The response may or may not be appropriate but unless we are aware, we have no way of making a decision. In short, we need to know what we don’t know we don’t know. I call this ‘my default future‘. Our default future will also be mirrored in our performance until we make the unconscious, conscious.
In Dr Steenbarger’s book, I found a host of material that threw light on how to identify and manage the default future.
Some of the ways that Dr. Steenbarger identifies the unconscious repetitive patterns are:
- Our emotions
- Our self-talk
- The results of our behaviours
For example, let’s say we take a position and it immediately goes against us (as markets are wont to do). If begin to feel ultra anxious, there is probably a default future in play. If I miss the emotional warnings, I can hone in my self-talk; if I miss out on that, my actions will provide clues – e.g. where my behaviour and stated goals clash.
This assumes of course we have written goals, and Dr. Steenbarger has useful information on this topic especially in how goals and emotional efficacy relate.
Our default future is most likely to raise its ugly head when we experience distress. The book distinguishes between stress (healthy) and distress (unhealthy). It is the latter that gives rise to our default future. I found the sections dealing with distress to be the most useful. Dr Steenbarger suggests three solutions to distress:
It would be unfair of me to give the details, it would be best for you to purchase a copy. At US$29.70 on Amazon, it would certainly be great value for money.
By the way, if you are having trouble journaling, The Daily Trading Coach has some great suggestions.