Updated from its original posting on 2011-11-11
As humans, we’re naturally inclined to avoid boredom. As a matter of fact, mankind has made many drastic technological developments just to address those unavoidable inactive moments in life.
The PlayStation, the iPad, and all sorts of devices were invented to keep us entertained at all times because to some, there’s nothing worse than being bored.
“Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” some say. But did you know that boredom, or when there’s nothing of interest in your surroundings, may actually be good for your trading?
When your mind is being blasted with all sorts of visual, audio, and emotional noise, it’s hard to hear what the markets are saying. Distractions may keep you from being focused on recognizing chart patterns. Or they can negatively affect your ability to process market information and react timely to changing market conditions.
So, while the absence of stimuli may seem dull to you, it gives you an opportunity to reset and put you’re your mind at ease. And when your mind is not distracted, you can become more in tune with the markets.
But the problem is that most traders can’t stand dull moments. If you have ever been bored while trading, then you also know the feeling of frustration that comes with it. You want to feel productive so you look hard for trading-related things to do. I personally know some traders who are like this.
When they get bored, they try to fill the void by overtrading and forcing trades. To get a thrill, they sometimes even end up raising their risk tolerance. Sometimes they win, but in many cases, their account balances take an unnecessary hit.
So, boredom can actually be a good thing, if harnessed properly. The absence of stimuli allows you to put yourself in a serene and peaceful state where you can truly focus on your trading objectives. This should be your ultimate goal as good trading decisions come from a calm and collected mind.
Sometimes, the markets are lively. Other times, they can be quite inactive. In such cases, you’ll have to think of yourself as a spider. Instead of moving around to find prey, the spider simply builds a web and waits patiently for its food to fall into it.
If you’re having a hard time being calm like a spider, then consider doing this simple 3-step exercise whenever you are overwhelmed by stimuli or when you feel the need to get in the zone:
1. Before you begin trading, set 5-10 minutes to get comfortable.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Take deep, rhythmic breaths.
That’s it! Now, that may not seem like much but this exercise has helped a lot of traders, including myself, to slow down and regain focus.
You see, boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The feeling of boredom is just your mind and body telling you that you have everything in place and it’s time for you to be patient and let things come to you.