Lessons my Dog Taught me about Trading
LESSONS MY DOG TAUGHT ME ABOUT TRADING
Ashley again! Owner of the OG Real Life Tra-dog Highland: one of the happiest dogs in the world. You might have heard him in the background of some of the videos. He likes attention ;) We all know that dogs are mans *cough cough* and ladies best friends (Sorry cat people).
Having a dog has taught me so many lessons in life and many of them have changed how I trade. If you are a new trader, I hope you find these enriching!
Routine is Good.
When you first get a dog, establishing a routine is literally one of the MOST important things you can do to ensure it is going to do well. I have worked with a dog rescue here in Nashville for over 7 years, and one of the biggest reasons that dogs will be brought back is because the owners donâ€™t follow a routine and end up with a dog that canâ€™t seem to get it together. â€˜Certaintyâ€™ is one of the 6 basic human needs. And that goes for dogs too. Think about it, letâ€™s say you never feed your dog at the same time. The dog could get stressed out with the uncertainty causing stress, which can then cause the dog to become restless and eventually rip up that shiny new sofa. For Highland that means wake up, let him out to go to the bathroom, breakfast, play and cuddle, I work (he sits next to me, or does his own thing), bathroom break, walk/hike/workout, dinner, bathroom, playtime, cuddles before bed, bathroom, sleep when in the bedroom.
Establish a routine that works for your goals. Whether than means going to bed at around 10pm so that you can get 8 hours of sleep to scan for stocks in the morning. Or getting up early to go on a walk to clear your brain before the markets. Make no mistake, little things, I mean one LITTLE thing can have a big impact on your trading.
For myself, I will typically go to bed around 11pm so that I am able to wake up by seven (8 hours of sleep woo!), make myself a hearty breakfast (egg, parmesan cheese, avocado, on a toasted english muffin, plus a cup of green tea), saving me enough time to scan for stocks between 8 and 8:30am. On Saturdays I spend the first hour of the day reading a book. For my crypto trades, I spend Sunday afternoon going over possible swing trades and to check on my positions. Just that 1 hour every Sunday can get my mind prepared for the week ahead. I feel in control.
Here is my challenge! Get a piece of paper and write down just 3 things that you want to put into your routine everyday.
Go to sleep by 11pm
Wake up at 6 am and read a motivational book for 30 minutes
Workout for 1 hour after work.
Read for 1 hour before bed
Wake up at 5:30 am and go for a morning walk with the dog
Make breakfast for the family
Then follow this for 1 week. See how amazing and accomplished you feel. It will make your day feel more in control. Trust me it will change so much!
2. Reward good behaviors
Who doesnâ€™t love treats. I mean come on. There is nothing cuter than asking a dog that question and watching them wiggle uncontrollably like you just told them they won the lottery. Rewarding yourself is important, but often overlooked and forgotten. Itâ€™s reinforcement of a behavior. Like a puppy when everything is new, a new trader needs to reward themselves too to train themselves what good behavior looks like. When a puppy starts using the bathroom outside, you give them a biscuit to show they did something positive. The puppy instills in their mind that this action = something good will happen. It soon starts to do this habit more easily and voluntarily until one day it is second nature.
This same thing should be with our trading! Start rewarding yourselves more often when you do something right. You will feel great when you do it, and crave more! Before you know it, those simple rewards will turn you into a trade habit machine! So if you make 2 R because you didnâ€™t move your stop prematurely, reward yourself! Go to dinner, have a girls or bro night, buy that new home weight set that you have been wanting! Teach yourself that success comes to those who follow good habits!
3. Patience will get you far.
If you ever have the chance to see Highland try to catch a small animal, you will notice that he has the patience of a saint. He is a retriever which means that he is pre-dispositioned to waiting for the things that he wants. When we first got a backyard, Highland would get overexcited when he would see squirrels come to the fence. He would immediately run after them and chase them off. But he realized something quick. If you WAIT until they come to the bird feeder in the middle of the yard, you have almost 4 seconds before they get back to the fence. Therefore, a greater chance of catching one. ;) Now, he will crouch on the porch behind the planter and wait. You can literally watch his body quiver as he uses ALL the self control he can muster. But when he sees that squirrel jump on the feeder, he launches himself into the yard. I will say, he hasnâ€™t caught a squirrel yet, but heâ€™s gotten pretty dang close.
For trading, you will learn the ins and outs of what make you profitable. We did a poll about 4 months ago that asked, â€œWhat do you most struggle with in your trading?â€ One of the most overwhelming answers was, PATIENCE. I know one of the problems I struggle with is getting into a trade too early and moving my stops too soon. I think I know what the stock is going to do, and I get in prematurely, which most of the time gets me stopped out quickly only to work 5 minutes later. Many of my trading woes have been fixed by just stopping and waiting for just a little bit longer. My dog taught me about the power of self control. Pretty cool!
4. Get away from the computer!
This is just a general rule for most of us in the 21st century. But take time to get away from the computer! As a trader, it is SO easy to get stuck in front of the computer screen for hours at a time. Especially if you are caught up in the adrenaline of the trading world. Take it from your own body! There is a reason your head and eyes will start to hurt after staring at the screen too long. Go outside. Do something different for an hour. It will refocus your brain and give you a sense of refreshment. When I used to work at the bank, I would do my best work, right after I came back from vacation! I felt refreshed, confident, happy, and on top of the world! So donâ€™t forget to take â€œmini-vacationsâ€ from the screen. Take some time to go for a walk at a local park, play a pick up game of basketball, treat yourself to a lunch out on a patio. It will do amazing things for you psyche!
One of my favorite things to do with Highland is go on walk/hikes. He has always loved being outdoors and exploring. Learn from a dog. If you keep a dog indoors for too long, whether it be raining, or you being too busy, you will see cabin fever kick in real quick. Exercise your brain with scenery and variety!
5. Be Optimistic. Be Happy. Be Giving.
If you are a dog owner, then you know this already. But my favorite thing about Highland, and just about all dogs in general is just their sheer outlook on the world. Go up to any dog and they will react like it is the best thing that could ever happen. What if we went into each day like this. Without any negative thoughts. Just look the day straight in the face and say this is literally going to be the best day of my life.
Imagine that type of energy being poured into your trading and how that would change your life. Not only would your stress level go down, but I am a firm believer that the energy you give off in life is mirrored back to you. Set your trades with a positive attitude. And even if you do get stopped out, keep a happy and open mind.
And donâ€™t forget to be generous. We all know that if dogs were humans, they would just give everything away. They are so loving and selfless, even if they have been hurt in the past. Be generous with your energy. Most of us when asked, say that if they had more money they would give it away to family, friends, and others. That type of selflessness is contagious. A happy mind is a successful mind.
I hope you enjoyed the article! If you have any questions about trading, or even dogs, let me know. ;) You rock!