Spirituality has traditionally been a taboo topic among traders. Many successful traders I've met or know of have a spiritual practice, but wouldn't talk about it openly.
I feel that this is because trading has traditionally been a very male dominated profession where feelings are thought of as weak or a liability.
However, depending on which study you read, as much as 90% of new traders ultimately fail to become consistently profitable.
Therefore, there's something clearly wrong with the old model.
All problems in trading stem from a separation from your soul.
That may sound like a ridiculous statement right now. But if you stick with me, I'll show you exactly why this statement is true.
There's probably a tiny part of you that agrees with me, but the rest of you is very skeptical.
I understand, that's totally normal. You don't have to believe me right now.
Let's explore spirituality in trading and why I feel it's vital to your long term success as a trader.
The 3 Human Elements of Trading
There are basically 3 elements within ourselves that we have to engage to become a successful trader.
Understanding these elements will allow you consciously improve in these areas.
If you don't know about them, then how can you work on them?
Makes sense right?
Alright, so here they are and how they influence your success as a trader.
Left Brain Awareness
Our left brain handles cognitive functions and deals with logic.
This is where we usually start when we are learning any new skill.
In trading, this means learning how to:
- Execute the rules of a trading strategy
- Enter trades
- Calculate risk
- Analyze your results
- Optimize your strategy
Unfortunately, this is where most new traders get stuck. They think that trading is only about numbers and trading systems.
This is why online content focused on trading systems is so popular.
Most people who are new to trading think that all they need is a good trading strategy.
Then they get stuck on the Trading Silodrome, going from trading strategy to trading strategy.
If they don't quit, then they eventually realize that they also have to be aware of their emotions and mental programming.
That's when they start focusing on right brain awareness.
Right Brain Awareness
The right side of our brains has been shown to be responsible for processing emotions and intuition.
In other words, this is where much of the “psychology” of trading happens.
You could have the most profitable trading strategy in the world, but if you cannot control your emotions, then you won't be able to execute it successfully.
Traders who are not aware of their emotions will do things like revenge trade, take too much risk and get into the downward spiral of catastrophic thinking.
When traders master the emotional aspect of trading, that's usually when they become profitable.
If you want to see my favorite trading psychology books of all-time, I've listed them here.
It's not about shutting out your emotions, but being aware of them and not overreacting to them.
But this is hard work.
Many people don't want to face their psychological barriers and work on them.
Unfortunately, that's why trading psychology content is not popular on the internet.
However, even after a trader finds profitability, there's usually one more awareness that they have to deal with.
Whole Being Awareness
This is something that I've seen very few people talk about in trading. I'll be talking about this a lot more in the future, so be sure to bookmark this site or sign up for the email list if you want to learn more.
In this third level, we want to get out of our brains and focus on our entire being.
This awareness combines the functions of the two sides of our brains and awareness of a third element, our spirit or soul.
Without spirituality, it's hard to find meaning in our lives and in trading.
So let's take a look at what spirituality is, the benefits, and how you can start to cultivate spirituality in your life.
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is the belief in and connection to the part of yourself that is divine. That part is often referred to as the soul.
In more practical terms, it's about getting in touch with who you are at a core level and figuring out what brings you joy.
When you break it down, this is the common thread between all of the world's religions and spiritual practices.
Many people equate spirituality with religion.
Religion certainly includes spirituality, but there is much more to spirituality than any one religion.
So regardless if you believe in a particular religion or not, I invite you to leave any of your preconcieved ideas of spirituality at the door.
Just like there are many different trading strategies, there are many different forms of spirituality.
There isn't one method that will work for everyone.
All that matters is that you find the one that works best for you.
The way I see it, whatever you believe in right now is perfect. Use that as the starting point to explore.
You may change your mind, or you may not.
Simply stay open to the idea that spirituality is an important part of life and trading.
The impact of spirituality on trading may not be apparent now, but I'll show you why that matters way more than any trading strategy or trading psychology tip.
How Spirituality Relates to Trading
The topic of spirituality usually comes up when a trader has become consistently profitable.
Once they are free from financial worry, they ask things like:
- What's next?
- Is trading making me happy?
- Why are certain things outside of trading having a big impact on my trading?
- Is there more to trading than just making money?
- What activities do I find fulfilling?
- How do I make a positive impact on the world?
If a trader doesn't answer these questions, then they can lose interest in trading, or worse…burn out.
The bottom line is that you either need to find meaning in the activity of trading itself, or in the activities that trading allows you to do.
In the words of Brian Gerard Schafer:
“The meaning of life is to have fun. The purpose of life is to share that fun with as many people as possible.”
For example, you may not think that trading is the funnest thing in the world, but you love that trading provides you the income and free time to engage in your real passion, kite surfing.
Why wait until you're a successful trader to start asking these questions?
But if you don't have a deep connection to your soul, you might not know what you truly find fun.
If you want to become successful long-term in trading, find out what's important to you while you're learning to trade.
For a lot of people, that's not as easy as it sounds.
Unfortunately, for most of us, the connection to our soul and what we find fun has been bashed out of us.
We are forced to go to school for 12+ years and study what other people think we should learn.
I think that I can speak for most people when I say that I found school boring and a colossal waste of time.
Imagine if you only studied what you were interested in.
That would have been amazing!
Then we work at jobs where we are just doing other people's busy work. Again, we were not allowed to pursue what we find fun.
On top of that, we are bombarded with marketing messages and other people's opinions in our social media feeds that further separate us from our own inner voice.
Spirituality helps us quiet the noise and reconnect to that part of us that likes to have fun and helps us realign our passions with how we make a living.
The Positive Impact of Spirituality
When we have more meaning and fulfillment in our lives, that takes pressure off our trading and gives us more energy.
Have you ever been so interested in an activity that you forgot what time it was?
That's what is fun to you.
For some, that might be the act of trading itself.
Others might prefer other activities and simply see trading as a means to an end.
Either way, doing something that you love is invigorating and stress relieving. It makes life more exciting.
When you trade in a relaxed state, that gives you the best chance of trading well.
How to Get Started
If you already have a spiritual practice, then that's great.
Even if you don't, that's fine too.
Start where you are right now.
Meditation can help you quiet your mind and relax your body.
If you don't do it already, I highly recommend it.
Many spiritual teachers say that it's the doorway to our inner self.
Once you're relaxed and free from most of the distracting thoughts that go through your head every day, you'll start to get in touch with who you are and what you really want.
You'll be aware when your emotions are running wild. You can identify areas where you need to learn more.
Here's a quick introduction on how to get started with mediation.
But meditation is just one of the things that you can do to explore your spirituality.
You can also try…
The key is to start with something that makes sense to you and go from there.
Spirituality is the missing piece when it comes to becoming a successful trader.
You might not be aware that you need it at the current stage of your trading journey.
But eventually, you'll have to answer some key questions that will bring you to the core of who you are and what you really want.
So it's best to start this work as soon as possible.
Having a spiritual practice and connecting with the deepest parts of you is the best way to become a great trader, have fun in life, and not have any regrets when it's time to check out.
P.S. – If you want to get really deep into spirituality and find out what I've done, read this.