Saturday I was invited to take part in a panel discussion at the Financial Trading Summit in London’s May Fair Hotel, organised by a UK online broker and spread betting firm; it was well attended and judged a success. I went early because I especially wanted to listen to Catherine Stott’s presentation entitled Trader Mind-set Trading.
With a degree in psychology, a trained clinical hypnotherapist, and a book published by Harriman House in January this year (Hypno Trading), she sounded interesting – talking on a topic I know absolutely nothing about. Too tempting.
She bounded on stage promising not to use too much ‘woo-woo’ jargon – something to woo the sceptics, I think. However, she did warn us that we were to take part in some simple experiments and our co-operation was essential. We had been warned! And sure enough, hundreds of grown men and women happily closed their eyes to take part in a visualisation exercise, practised some simple breathing techniques, a three minute mindfulness one, rounded off with a stab at self-hypnosis.
If you’re starting to poo-poo all of this, I’ll just remind that these techniques have been used extensively with top athletes, Olympic Team GB, and Andy Murray, no less. It’s about changing one’s behaviour, emotional set-up, and psychological stance through understanding where we are coming from and training for positive outcomes; allowing oneself to be curious, keeping calm, and avoiding inappropriate behaviours.
She also told us that the brain is a muscle and must be exercised regularly and like all the other ones in our body needs correct water, rest and nutrition. As an early-bird technical analyst I certainly know that approaching my barrage of charts with a hangover or after I’ve been on holiday for a fortnight is more difficult than usual.
While her talk was aimed at those seeking to day trade their money, elements of what she was saying could be useful in our work too. For example, being willing to open one’s mind to new techniques, realising that our view on a financial instrument may not hold true, and applying careful consideration to writing up our analysis. That while rigour is excellent, at times flair and imagination, throwing out the rule book, can be better. Keeping calm and carrying on – always.