Upgrading to New Trading Behaviors

How to build a better brain for better trading.

A better brain makes more money.
Upgrading your brain for better performance.

Today's post is by Richard Friesen, CEO of Mind Muscle for Traders. Richard works with financial professionals and independent traders to increase their consistent profits using neuroscience. His online courses and intensive trading boot camps are well-known throughout the trading community.

This is Part 2 of a series.

With modern neuroscience we are learning more and more about how our brain works.

We can now replace the concept of “discipline” with more effective tools. In the first module in the online course, “Mind Muscles for Traders” we introduced the concept of NEMES or neuro meta structures. NEMES automate complex behaviors and respond subconsciously.  They are also many times faster than our conscious brain. Without NEMES we could not handle the complexity of life with just our consciousness thought.

Our brains were built to support survival while we were hunting and foraging on the savannahs. However, these brain patterns and processes may no longer serve us as traders, but they still fire off the same reactions. They are fired with the same rapidity as the NEMES that make life possible.

Neurons that “fire together, wire together.” What this means is that neural circuits that are used over and over again create complex actions that can be triggered by a single “trigger.” Thus we find ourselves making the same trading mistakes over and over again.

So, how do you replace old NEMES that no longer serve you with new intentional behaviors that get us to our trading goals?

Just like building the NEMES that no longer serve you, which were created step at a time, you can create new neural circuits intentionally. When new neural circuits are intentionally created, we call these Mind Muscles.

Mind Muscles are built with simulations that build successful behaviors one step at a time. Each step excites a new neural connection, that when repeated, expands new neural circuits that can be triggered instead of the old ones that no longer serve.

Everything hinges on the moment of decision…which way are the neural circuits going to fire? That is why we concentrate on that exact moment in simulations and exercises that create behaviors that serve you better.

How many of you would want to be in an airplane with an engine failure and the pilot needs to get out the manual to know what to do? How better that would feel if he had successfully completed the engine out exercise 100 times in a simulator! At first, the engine out procedures felt awkward to the pilot, but now he automatically goes through his routine.

When you give yourself trading simulations to create new behaviors they may also feel a bit awkward at first. The creation of new neural pathways is interpreted as discomfort.  This is why most people go back to what is familiar. But if you understand what is going on, you can experience these sensations, not as discomfort but as pleasure. Like going to a workout at the gym and feeling sore after, you know you are building new physical muscles.

At Mind Muscles Academy you know you are building new successful trading behaviors.

Break down a new desired trading behavior into the steps necessary to execute it. Then in a sim account or in a game, start with step one until it becomes routine. Then step two...three...and so forth. Since the brain will want to go back to more comfortable behaviors, it is great to have a friend or coach give you support during this process.

So, you understand that to improve your trading results you need to change your trader’s state of mind, which impacts your behaviors. To change your behaviors, you need to create and use new neural circuits. To use new neural circuits, or Mind Muscles, you will experience a period of tension that can be a positive experience knowing you are building new behaviors. Repeating the new behaviors will create new triggers for the new behaviors.

The new behaviors then can lead to your trading goals...increasing consistent profits with your new trader’s state of mind.

Richard can be contacted at rich@mindmuscles.com

Photo Credits: John Lund/Blend Images​/Getty Images