Finding trading success with positive psychology - Interview with Alex Upton

Black Belt Trader with Walter Peters and Alex Upton

Play the podcast:

Full transcript:

Announcer: Sometimes, forex trading can be a wild and wooly place to be but forex trading doesn’t have to be the bad lands for your partner instead hunker down and bend your ear. You will be burning the breeze in no time. Here at the Truth About FX Podcast.

Walter: Welcome! It’s Walter here and we’ve got another presenter. One of my favorite people, Alex Upton, is a private trader. He has spent a lot of time working on psychology of trading, working on his mindset. He is going to share some of his techniques with you in a moment.

He is also a high level athlete. He is a judo athlete and he is going to talk a little bit about how this area of his life actually transitioned him to trading. I think you will find it fascinating and I want to welcome you, Alex. How are you today, Alex?

Alex: I am very well. Thank you, Walter. How are you?

Walter: Great! Alex, just so people get a bit of an idea of your background because I know you spent a lot of time working on your mindset, can you tell us a little bit about why this has come about for you? Where does this come from? This approach?

Alex: Okay. It is probably best if I introduce myself and tell a little bit about how I became a trader. It is strange. When I start up, you think this has got nothing to do with trading but it all comes together in the end.

All my life, my big goal was to be a judo player ever since I was 8 years old. That is what I would call my high priority in life. By that, what I mean is that that was the one thing I would do, anyway. I did not need any motivation to train, to turn up for talks about judo or to go to these competitions.

It was the one thing that I would do no matter what and it was always the constant in my life right from when I was kid, all the way up until my late 20’s, really. I absolutely loved it but I ended up getting injured.

I’ve got quite enough injury which was the end of my career. I can still train people and stuff but I cannot compete anymore. For a little while after that, I felt a little bit lost and soon after that I discovered trading.

At first, you might not see the parallels but when I thought about it, the parallels were right there. Trading is something for me that I do not need any motivation to do. It is something I love. I love to look at the charts, I love to go to the webinars and find out about new systems or whatever.

What I really realized, the big parallel, was if I thought about the best judo course in the world, the olympic champions, of all the hundred techniques that are available to them -- all the throws, the arm, the strangles -- the best guys in the world have maybe five or six techniques that they would use.

They had a knowledge of all the others but it was five or six that they were experts at. I’ve noticed that in all of the traders that I admire, although there are hundreds and hundreds of systems, there’s maybe five or six systems that those top traders will use and rely on.

I’ve got a broad understanding of many system but it’s those five or six that make sense to those and also, another way I can compare it is the training. The judo training, I now compare that to forex testing.

It’s necessary and it is enjoyable. You can find out new things about yourself and you’ll also find that you have these coaches coming from other judo coach. They will show their techniques. That technique might not be for you but you might take something from it, just one little thing and add it to your portfolio.

Again, that is the same with me watching trading webinars or reading trading books. I do not copy systems completely, there might be one little thing.

For example, the Two E system. One of the exit strategy is you wait for the six a.m. to change direction. Now, I do not trade the Two E system as it is taught but I used that little tiny bit of strategy in one of my systems. I find it fascinating how we can piece things together to find our own way as a trader.

Walter: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I think you are being a little bit modest because I know you’ve trained with the Olympic team, right? You know some of them and you’ve been a training partner of some of these Olympic judoist, right?

Alex: Yeah. That was a long time ago, a few years from now. I’ve spoken to you about this before and I never quite got far as I wanted to but I was training partners for some of those guys. That was good fun, really good.

Walter: So, talk a little bit about this idea because I think you are right. This is something that I actually encourage in traders, is to piece together these elements of what you were exposed to as a trader. Piece them together and sort of in patchwork style and make something out of your own.

I think that it is one of the most common things you hear from successful traders that this is exactly what they do. You almost never hear a successful traders say “Yeah, I just basically learned what he did and I just copied it. I just do exactly what he taught me”. It just does not happen that way, does it? So, talk a little bit about that.

Alex: Exactly. As I said, really, when I first learned to trade, the guy in the UK taught me some basic strategies which was great. They worked for him, he was very successful in trading but at first, you have that bull: “If I would just do what he does then everything will be okay”.

Of course, your own personality and your own beliefs in the markets come into play. Then I started looking at the way you do support and resistance. That resonates with me. I started using that but alongside these other systems I was using.

Eventually, all these things morph together to give me my own personal systems now. At one point, I was trying to learn too much. I was reading everything, I was reading about Gahn, reading about Spirals and it wasn’t until some of you guys said to me “You do not need to do too much, just concentrate on those few things and do them well”.

Again, I can compare that to those judo days. I didn’t need to do these flamboyant wonderful techniques to be successful. I just needed to do a few techniques and do them well. It served me well.

Walter: So, right now as you trade, that is basically what you need. Have few pet systems that you use and you just repeatedly execute those systems, is that right?

Alex: Absolutely, yes. In the live accounts, that is exactly what it is. Like I say to training and the forex tester, that is where I play around with one or two other things if I have an idea.

When I see something on the board and I think “I like the sound of that”, I’ll have a look at those and have it play on forex tester. If there is anything in it then I’ll move it onto either small forex testing account or the demo account.

Walter: You’ve made the transition from judo and I suppose you still train, right?

Alex: Yes. I cannot compete anymore because I had a broken leg. I can never get to that same peak level but I still train physically and I’m involved.

Walter: It is fascinating to me because I know a lot of successful traders who have that background, like a military or a high athletic background. They were high levels because it seems to translate in terms of the discipline that it takes to achieve consistent profits.

It is one of those things that I think comes with that regimented... You get that in military, you get that when you are training and you try to get to that next level. I find that in a lot of traders who have that background, it is just easier to transition.

Alex: Sure. I used to think it was because I was competitive. I do have a competitive element but the more I think about it, the more I think it is down to self-improvement. Always wanting to better myself.

The result come off of that and that is exactly the same thing that I’ve seen in trading. That is what I want to speak about, really, at the event. How I’ve come to realize some of these things psychologically, as well.

From some of the stuff that that you’ve taught me and I’ve also done some work with the Dr. Martini from the “Secret” and one of his facilitators here in the UK. It’s really opened my mind to how the conscious mind or the sub conscious mind may be holding you back or even taking you in the wrong direction.

I find these stuff fascinating and I’ve been working on few techniques that have really paid dividends for me.

Walter: Sometimes people have a catalyst. Something happens in your life and that is why you get to that point where you say “Okay, that’s it. I am not going to do this anymore”. For example, in trading.

Almost every trader can point to a point where they can finger that point and say “That is what I learned, I am not going to take too much risk anymore. That was it. That was my breaking point” or whatever.

Is there something that you’ve found that sort of sent you off in this direction or you’re always been drawn to this mindset?

Alex: There’s always been a part of me that had some a little bit of faith in mindset. For years and years, I’ve had them on peripherals. These books like the “Law of Attraction”, “The Success Principles” and “The Secret” but it wasn’t until I have an “Aha!” moment when I did your “Get What You Trade For” course that I’ve kind of realized what these books and processes and principles were getting at.

That was chipping away at those subconscious beliefs. I remember you described beliefs as you can always picture it as a spider web. We’ve got those beliefs -- that our core beliefs -- that are quite close to us which are like the web that is quite close to the middle of the spider’s web but, out far away, you’ve got this web anchored and we have no idea where those beliefs have come from.

They often come from our childhood. When I first heard that over the years, whenever I’ve heard a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist talk about “We’ve got to go back to your childhood beliefs to resolve a problem” I always used to think that, naively, that people must’ve traumatic childhood or something awful had happened.

Of course, it is not that at all. If I can give you an example of something I’ve seen in my own son. My 10 year old son, Sam -- and he is a bright kid -- in July, at the end of the school year, he gets his school’s report card. 

We’re looking through that and he’s done okay in most subjects but in Math, he is a little bit behind. In particular, it was fraction. He was having real problem with fractions. I thought “Well, no problem. We’ve got six weeks. I am on a holiday now, I’ll sit down with him throughout the summer and go through fractions and it’ll be okay by September when he goes back to school”. 

So, we sat down and studied, going through some basic fractions with him and I realized it just wasn’t sinking in at all. He was getting frustrated. I was getting frustrated. I thought “What am I going to do here?” 

I did what we all do in this day and age. I sat him in his violin and I went on in Google to search “how to teach 10 year old child fractions”. There’s a number of sites come up and one of them was a neuroscience site. I was drawn to that and so I clicked on it. 

What it stated was that “the child’s brain is just about mature enough to understand fractions, that around 10 years old. If, for whatever reasons, his brain is not quite mature enough, he is going to really, really struggle and therefore in six months time, you could probably sit down with him and teach him fractions to be no problem at all but he has been taught at a time when he cannot understand it.” 

He says to me “Dad, I cannot do fractions” and I could almost see that belief there. A belief there forming so from now on he is always been trying to avoid fractions. It is almost like setting up his ultraviolet. 

The funny thing was I told my wife this and she said “Yeah, I cannot do fractions”. Here, you’ve got a lady who runs her own business and she speaks a couple of languages but she has a belief. She cannot do fractions so she is just avoiding them her whole life. 

I find it fascinating to see that belief almost manifesting in front of my eyes. It is great because now we can address it. We can teach him again in a few months and hopefully he’ll pick up with no problem. 

Walter: So true. It’s the old, learned, helplessness study where they put the dog right in the cage and they run electric shock through the cage and first the dog moves around, moves around and then finally gives up. He just lies down and takes the electric shock. 

The dog has learned to be helpless and never knows, never realizes, that if the dog just strolls over to the side of the cage, there’s no electrical current over there and he’d be fine. 

Alex: Exactly. 

Walter: Yeah, but it is so true. We are just locked into that mindset, don’t we? 

Alex: Yeah, and then over time, that guides us our whole life. I found that thing fascinating and I remember you do the trick to get to the subconscious to bubble up to the surface. 

I recently learned another one. I’d like to share this with you because I know the subconscious mind can almost be resistant and stop us from our wants and desire. It can also guide us to them and this one is quite scary one. 

Someone do this to me the other day and it shocked me. Then she asked me and said “Do not think about it too much, but at what age are you going to die?” I thought about it for a few seconds and I just came out with 75. 

She said “Within your subconscious, that is what you think. I do not know why you’ve got those beliefs. Maybe that is the average of the age that people died in your family or whatever but because you have that belief, you are inadvertently heading towards that. You are working towards that number”. 

I just bear that in mind and I find that fascinating and eye-opening as well. She said to me she said the same thing and she asked her mother the question. Her mother didn’t have a number. Her mother said “I am not going to die until you get married”. If you think about that, this lady then had absolutely no incensus to get married. 

Walter: To get married, exactly. 

Alex: Again, it can shape communities and families as well with these beliefs so I find that fascinating also.

Walter: That is interesting because you hear a lot about when people are talking about subconscious, they talk about in sort of a negative way. As if you have this pile of negative, destructive beliefs that are in your subconscious but that is not necessarily true.

Subconscious is just outside of your consciousness. You might have other things like you say, they are pushing you. It is not all negative. I know a lot of people think in terms of negative but it is not. It is definitely true that it is just outside of awareness.

Outside of awareness means you are not aware of it, does not mean that it is necessarily bad or not going to help you out in the long run. It could just be something that is driving you, that you just cannot put your finger on it so that is why we work on.

What else do you want to share? That is fascinating and thanks for sharing that technique. Hopefully the listeners have something to think about now.

Alex: Yeah. It is scary when you first do that and I am working towards that. I might need to change that one if I want to live a little bit longer. There we go, but that is probably the next point I want to speak about.

Some of the techniques that I have used in order to chip away that self-limiting subconscious beliefs, things that I believe are holding me back. One of the easiest things to do is affirmations. I heard an interview with the guy called “Scott Adams”. Have you heard of Scott Adams?

Walter: Yeah. Is that the Dilbert guy?

Alex: Yeah, you got it. There was a podcast and I was listening to him. He was talking about affirmations and I’ve got the quote, it is just a little quote, he wrote a paper on it. You can google it and find it there.

He wrote “The idea behind affirmations is that you simply write down your goals 15 times a day and somehow, as if by magic, coincidences start to build until you achieve your objective against all odds. Affirmation is a simple sentence such as: I, Scott Adams, I am a syndicated cartoonist.” That is one that he actually used.

He goes on to say “Prior to my Dilbert success, I used affirmations on a string of hugely unlikely goals that all materialized in ways that seemed miraculous”. I find that fascinating.

That is a technique I’ve been using for couple of years but I also want to think about why this works. Things happened as if by magic but, of course, I do not believe it is magic. What I think it is you are priming your subconscious to look out for coincidences.

This is quite a common one and you’ll notice being a father. I do not know if this has happened to you but I remember when my wife first became pregnant, somebody said to me “You’re going to notice pregnant people everywhere” and it is true. Did it ever happen to you?

Walter: Yeah.

Alex: Yeah because you’ve got pregnancy on the mind. Now, my children are a bit older, I do not really notice pregnant people anymore but I remember going through that phase. I’ve seen pregnant people and babies absolutely everywhere.

I believe affirmations prime your mind so if you are saying things that you would like in life and state it in the present, you are going to start recognizing these coincidences and opportunities.

Another way I can compare it to is like a scary film. If you watch a horror film, all of the sudden you’ve seen the film, you do not then want to go out and walk in the woods because you are looking out for monsters and ghosts and ghoulies or whatever is here like tweaks, snaps from far away or whatever, again because in that moment you’re prime to look out for these monsters but really, of course, nothing anything more than there was yesterday.

It is just that you, in your mind, are looking out for these things. I feel by writing down the new goals and dreams and desires, you are putting yourself in a situation where you are more open to see them.

Walter: Yeah, absolutely. It is like you are priming yourself, aren’t you? For example, we know from research in psychology -- I don’t know if you have heard this episode but in one of the podcast we talked about this in 2Traders Podcast.

When you go the doctor and the doctor says “Okay, sorry we’ve got bad news. You are going to have to go in for surgery. It is not getting any better. You are going to notice these lumps getting bigger and bigger and if we do not take it out, you are going to die within a year” or whatever.

They will tell you things like that. What’s fascinating to me is this study on the doctors and we know that if the doctor believes the patient will survive -- say cancer patients -- the doctor believes that the patient will survive, those patients largely survives.

If the doctor does not believe the patients are going to survive then they do not survive. It has nothing to do with the patient’s belief. To me, that is a very similar thread as what we are talking about here with affirmations.

Alex: Yeah, exactly. I also think there is something exactly in that because like I say, getting back to the books, the ask-and-it-is-given and those kind of books. Like I said, I’ve been aware of them for years and it is almost the fact that you validated them to me.

I respect you as the Psychologist so therefore that gave it more credence in it. You see what I am saying? Exactly the same thing because you believe in it, I believe in it.

Walter: Yeah.

Alex: It is not just like I picked it up on my own because I’ve got that validation. I believe, you believed in it as well.

Walter: Yeah. And, the same thing goes for the traders whose wife does not believe that trading is ever going to work for him. The wife believes that in trading he is never going to make money. “It’s never going to work for you, why waste your time.” Even if she does not actually say anything but he knows what she believes, that is the exact same thing.

Some traders I know are in that unfortunate position as well, it works both ways. It is something that people, they think “It is all about my system, it is about me executing and sticking to rules in my risk management” and all that but there is a little bit more to it because we can be like you say. We can be pushing ourselves in certain directions and we are not even aware of that.

Like you say, when you talked about when you are going to die. You could be... Everything you’re doing is honing in on that and basically making that happen just as the doctor’s beliefs help you to basically confirm.

Alex: Exactly.

Walter: His belief and his prognosis. I mean, it is amazing, really. What are some of the things that you have been working on? Like, how do you approach this stand?

Alex: Another thing that I’ve been working on with is -- I do not know if this is a proper time but I just stumbled across it. There is something called “liminal space”. Does that mean anything about you?

Walter: You’ve mentioned it. I saw it in one of your emails but I do not know exactly what it means to you.

Alex: I do not know if it is the actual proper term but I heard someone speaking about it and it fascinated me. I’ve looked it up. What they say, liminal space is when you are out of your comfort zone, you are working at slightly higher level. Your real brain works at a slightly quicker and more efficient levels.

One example of that would be professional comedian. Quite often, they’ll go on stage and they’ll have the whole routine written and they know what they are going to say. They might come up a with a joke on stage that they have no idea where it was coming from because their brain is just working a little bit quicker.

The same thing. You’ll probably know this kind of story when you hear, say somebody, gets attacked by a shark. I think there was a story about someone in South Africa or it could’ve been Australia. Another attack by a shark, you would have heard this that your whole life flashes before your eyes.

That is an absolute extreme. You are searching for an answer and I think this guy, he’s seen somewhere on the discovery channel years and years ago. If you drive your thumb into the shark’s eyes it will let go, and it happened.

That would be liminal space, it’s absolute peak. The most extreme of either of the scene is when I was a young stud. I was involved in a car accident and the car left the road and went to the far east. 

I remember everything just slow down around me and I was making decisions, it must’ve only been 2 or 3 seconds before the car came to a halt. I was making decisions in such a short period of time. I can remember it to this day that the branches and the leaves coming by. 

I find that fascinating as well and that is why these last few years, I’ve tried to put myself in situations that are out of my comfort zones to try and bring that to the surface. For example, public speaking thing for me is a little bit out of my comfort zone. 

Again, we can talk about the conscious mind and the subconscious mind and when somebody first asked me if I wanted to speak at their event, I was just chatting to them like you and I now about this stuff and he said “Why don’t you come and speak at our event?” 

My conscious mind was saying “Yes, that is what you want to do, you know you want to do that kind of thing.” But, my subconscious was saying to me “Oh, who’s going to be there? You do not know if you are good enough for this. You are going to mess up onstage” and all these things. 

Once I realized there was a difference between subconscious mind and the conscious mind, I can then make the decisions. “Hang on, this is what I want to do”. Then, when I learned about the liminal space thing as well, I could therefore think “Well, when I am up there, I am going probably to the forum the best I can” and it is funny it worked out that way. 

It is great. Whenever now I get these opportunities, like you offered me this opportunity, I do not want thinking “Oh, who is going to be there?” I am going to hear what I’ve got to say but I’ve got to go with my conscious mind and my conscious thought and have faith in this kind of liminal space that I will perform to good standing when I am up there. 

Walter: Yeah. And, you showed me what you’ve presented before and I think that you’ve nailed it here. I think this is one of those things that most people will find if you allow yourself to stretch just a little bit and pushes off just a little bit. I found in my own life that the most, the largest leaps I’ve made in life, have often come when I am just slightly outside of the comfort area. 

A lot of traders, a lot of us, are quite introverted and trading can be quite lonely. I am one of those people who spent a lot of time happy to be hanging out at home with a book or whatever. 

I’ve done things like that, like move to a different country. When I first moved to Australia, I did something. Like every week, I would make it a point to go to a different area of the city and learn about that area. Just spend time there not because I want to live there or because I knew anyone there, it’s because I just wanted to get to know it.

These things that I feel like just doing the norm, the easy thing would be to go home, curl up on the couch with a book and read and fall asleep or, go see a friend, go to a movie with somebody or go to dinner or whatever. But, instead, I was doing these things every week where I would make the point to just go someplace weird that I didn’t know anything about and just try and learn about it. 

Same thing with going to countries. If it wasn’t for surfing, I probably would’ve ever even have a reason to get a passport. Surfing was something that exploded boundaries. I totally explored countries just because it was something that... Surfing helped me get to that spot. 

I think there is a lot to this idea. In some ways, though, it is just like anything else. There’s balance. You could make the case that people who are really high on what they call “the go-system” in psychology. 

They are always seeking out. They want to climb Mt. Everest, they want to surf the 100 foot wave, they want to hold their breath for 3 and a half minutes underwater, they want to drive fast or whatever. They are on that, they are not just outside their comfort area. They are just adrenaline junkies, base jumpers, that sort of thing. 

For the average person, this idea is very powerful because just pushing yourself that much further and then when you come away from it then you go “Wow, that actually went quite well!” Because you are on edge, because you are testing that joke that you never floated before in front of people onstage, because you’ve done that one thing that felt a little bit weird, a little bit uncomfortable. And then, that builds your confidence, doesn’t it? 

Alex: Absolutely. You are right in saying that because as traders, sometimes it can be a lonely life. You are just there on your own, you may not have or maybe you lose a little bit of those social skills sometimes. 

It is important to make an effort to go to meetups and things like that. When you had the one in London earlier in the year and I attended up, of course, I didn’t actually know anyone there. The comfort zone would just be to stay at home but I really wanted to go. 

This whole all of that little bit of nerves before you go to an event like that where you do not know anybody else but I haven’t been there then it’s fantastic. I’ve made some really good friends and I am so pleased that I went. 

Walter: Absolutely, yeah! I’ll share a story. Just today, I went to a lunch that some of my friends are putting on. Basically, people from the US over here in Australia, they were having like this thanksgiving dinner today. 

It wasn’t on thanksgiving, it is not a holiday in Australia. People kind of vaguely know about it or whatever but it is just a big US holiday. We have a bunch of few Americans and people, their spouses and things like that and friends and family, so it is a big event.

It is a big luncheon and what was interesting was someone was asking me “So, how did you meet your wife?” We had to admit that we’ve met at like a speed dating thing. The speed dating event that was put on by the newspaper. 

The newspaper paper paid for us to go on these dates as long as they’ve got to write about it and they made this big article about our first date. What was interesting was there were two other couples that said the same thing and said, “We’ve met on the speed dating too”. 

That was something that I would normally never... In fact, the night that I met my wife, it was raining, it was pouring down. It was an awful cold winter night and I almost thought I don’t want go to outside, it’s so bad.

Of course, I went and things changed for me and all that but what’s interesting is that so many other people were saying the same thing like “I did it and I’ve met my wife” and “Hey, I did it and met my husband.” It wasn’t something that I would normally do. 

 One woman, she was saying “Yeah, I’ve met my husband here at the speed dating. That was the only speed dating thing I’ve ever gone to all my life”. 

Alex: Yeah. It was incredible, isn’t it? 

Walter: It is amazing, yeah. 

Alex: Just from that one event... I hope you don’t mind me bringing this up because I think I heard you say this once that you’d almost written an affirmation on the kind of person you’d like to stay with all you life as well. Had you not? 

Walter: Yeah, I wrote it all down. I wrote everything down because I was at that point where I was like “You know what? I just want to get married, I am going to find her.” I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have any good prospects. 

Exactly! wrote it all down and then this has happened a few times. I wrote it all down and then I started getting dreams of this person, like this face. It wasn’t like until later after and I’ve put everything down that I wanted in my partner. 

And then, later on in life, after I’ve met her I realized that was the same smile that I had seen in my dreams. It was my wife’s smile and I thought “Wow, that’s amazing that it’ll actually happened in that way,” but that was my intent. 

There’s one way to look at this and say it’s so magical and mystical where you are creating this idea after it happens to try and fit it but, no. Actually, I’ve written that down. I said this is who I am looking for and tick all the boxes and it all came true. 

Alex: A friend of mine, he was a fireman and he is a lovely guy. He is still single and he is in his 40’s now. He keeps going to events, to dates like this and he is “I just cannot find the right person”. 

So, I asked him, “What are you looking for?” And, he is just waiting to be swept off of his feet. I said that very thing to him. If you write down what you are looking for, it is going to be much more evident if she ever appears whereas, he is just going to go and without knowing what he wants. 

He does not know whether he wants someone who’s been in a relationship or has children from a previous relationship. He does not know any of that. He just turn it up and thinking “I want someone who is just going to ‘wow’ me in it” and that’s that. 

He doesn’t even know what she might even look like or what she does for a living or anything like that. I find that incredible. 

It is interesting because if you think about it, if you take that idea in your plate to other areas of life, you think if someone was a trader, would they sit down? If you could ask a trader “What is your goal in terms of the year? Is there a percentage that you would be happy with, that you are aiming for?”

Most traders could probably tell you that but you are not going to hear a lot of traders go “I do not know, I just want to make some money”. They’ve usually got some projections and ideas.

They go “Well, I am trying to avoid a drawdowns at 15% and I’ve worked that out. I would be really happy with about this”. They’d normally not going to say “I do not know. As long as I make some money, it is all good” and yet in other areas of life, we do not approach it that way.

Alex: Probably. If we get back to what I was going to talk about at the event, the final thing I’ve gone through affirmations -- and I’d like to talk about one or two other techniques at the event.

One of the techniques that I am thinking of talking about is based on this idea by Nassim Taleb. He wrote fabulous books as you know: “The Black Swan”; “Fooled By Randomness”; and one or two others; “Antifragile,” as well. I think that’s one -- very early ones -- but I haven’t read that one.

One of the things he says -- I cannot remember if it’s from the “Fooled By Randomness” or “The Black Swan” -- when we are talking about coincidences, he said “...The best place to be in order to find a coincidence in your life, that is going to help you achieve your goals is to live in the big city where you are going to meet more people and have more opportunity”.

That makes perfect sense. However, in “Fooled by Randomness” -- I think was written in the early 2000 -- what we’ve come to recognize now is the world is a much smaller place. I have friends online in South Africa, all of Europe, Australia. My community now is not just on my own town or city.

It is global and what I like to work on is a couple of techniques to show your world, to show your global community, what your goals are. From doing that, you are much more likely to bump into other people that maybe have the same goal or the same ideas and the same thought processes and you were in it together. I’ve got some ideas on that. So, that is one of the things that I want to run through at the event.

Walter: Yeah, that sounds fascinating. I am looking forward to that. Just thinking in terms of holistically in your life, Alex, what would say that from your approach -- so taking your approach that you have for working on your mindset, working on your goals then trying to set yourself up, for success -- what are some of the things that have surprised you?

For example, I can never think of you and not think of the story that you told about your wife and how you were using some of these techniques that are seemed like one of the side effects was that of your wife’s business was taking off.

Alex: Yeah. 

Walter: It was meant for you and yet it was bleeding over to her but what are some of the things that’ll surprise you? Or, maybe you want to talk a little bit about that? 

Alex: That is exactly right. I studied using the subliminals, the “inner talks” stuff. I set up our beds, one’s bigger side than is on the other side. You hear waves in the night and hidden within those waves are messages about prosperity, abundance, success. You can get them on anything on health but we were listening to these success subliminal and Jodi didn’t really know what was going on. 

She is a supportive wife. She is happy to go along with it so she was just kind of falling asleep to these kind of sounds in the background. It was incredible. All of a sudden, her sales -- and I am not just talking they went up a little bit. She was doubling her sales and then eventually quadrupling those sales. 

I found that, I do not know, is it a coincidence? But it just all seemed to happen at around the same time, maybe her subconscious, because she wasn’t really aware of what was going on. She was even more susceptible to it than me who is kind of knew the underlying thread was within those messages. 

That was fantastic and it was worth really well and now she does know what’s there so we are on those every night. 

Walter: That is great. That’s one surprising thing is that it seems quite pervasive that when you’re using these subliminals that you’ve found that even your wife, she was just kind of like caught in a friendly fire so to speak. That is great. 

Is there anything else that is surprising us? I suppose that you think “Wow, I wouldn’t have thought that”. Like, it surprised me that I was able to write down a list of things in the wife that I wanted to meet and that I met her. 

It was a little bit surprising even though it was the expectation. I don’t know. Probe into deep recesses of my subconscious, I would’ve said “Yeah, it’s definitely going to happen” but that was what I intended. 

What are some of the things that you found to be a bit surprising? 

Alex: Another thing which brings it before and makes a lot of sense for me is because I tried these things on all of my children as well, they kind of like they’ll get anything. Again, children do not have those big psychological blockers. 

One of my sons, he’s very much into football or soccer and he was doing really well. He plays at a local pub but he was having a problem. He’ll get on goal, he did a miss or go over the bar or whatever. I spoke to him about it and said “What was going through your mind when this happens.

“I am saying to myself, dad, ‘don’t miss, don’t miss’.” And, of course, the dominant thought there is “miss”, isn’t it? So, we changed it and we started writing it. He’s only 8 years old so he studied and write affirmations every morning before he went to his football tournaments.

His affirmations was, I think it was something like, “I easily score goals, I usually score through one goal.” He would write that down fifteen times. It’s in his little handwriting in the morning before we went to football and it was funny.

The very first time he did it, we went to a tournament so they have a lot of games to this tournament. It is an all day event thing and I could not believe my eyes. He was top score. They gave him a little prize, a golden boots, at the end of the tournament.

It was just almost like every time he had an opportunity on goal, it went in. To see something happen that quickly was a real eye opener and gave me so much faith and that these things do have legs. They really can work.

Walter: Yeah. I know some people look at this and they think and the skeptic comes out but it is amazing to see when it actually happens, isn’t? What does he say now? Does he point to that? If you ask him or what is he attributed to?

Alex: I do not know, I am not even prompting him. He writes now. My second son is nine next week, actually, and I do not even have to say anything on a morning much now. He would just get up and he writes his affirmations for the day so it is great.

Walter: Wow, that is great! That is excellent. It’s so fascinating when you see it actually happening in the flesh. It is like he has a starting point then, afterwards -- I don’t know. It is like magic.

Alex: Yeah, it is. That just gives me faith in everything. I can see that happen and I cannot deny that. It is almost like a switch. It is great.

Walter: That is excellent. Is there anything else you would like to leave us with, Alex? I know you are going to share with us your techniques and what you’ve found to be most useful in terms of mindset tools for traders at the event which is going to be great. I am looking forward to it but, is there anything else you want to leave the listeners before we go?

Alex: Maybe one more thing. Now, we are speaking about sports. I picked up something from an old basketball coach, Tony Robbins. I did an interview with him many, many years ago when it was done. 

I think Tony Robbins was in his 20’s, that was how long the interview was. I heard this recently and this is something else that I can compare both to sports and to trading. One of the things this guy used to say to his team -- and he is one of the top basketball coaches in the college basketball in the US. 

I think he won something like eighteen out of twenty seasons in a row and, in college, that is quite remarkable because it changes the team every year. It is not the same team. 

Walter: Yeah. Was it John Wooden? 

Alex: I think he was. 

Walter: John Wooden, yeah. 

Alex: Yeah. One of the things he would say to his team is “...The only way you can come off that court or that pitch a winner is if you’ve given it your everything and you’ve played by the rules. The scores are irrelevant. You just need to come off that pitch. You can win -- like I say to my son -- the game for now but still you can come out a loser if you haven’t given your everything or you can lose the game for now but you can come out a winner because you know you couldn’t have done any more.” 

I can relate that to trading as well because in trading, we are not going to win every trade. All we can do is play by the rules, stick to our money management, and do the best we can. 

We talked about this before, Walter, about ramification. You just play the game and play it by the rules. You can be proud of yourself if you’ll stick to those rules and given it everything you can but not done something silly trying to fall back a loss. 

Walter: Yup, that is the key. Absolutely, that’s it! That’s a spot on. For the listeners here, the take home message here really is that if you had to say what is the one thing that you’ve got to make sure that you are doing? It’s that. You are absolutely, 100% focusing on giving it your best and playing according to the system that you set up. 

That’s it. All the other stuff does not matter. Unfortunately, we are almost too smart for it as traders, as people, because we know what happened last time. We know what happened to so and so. We know those other traders who’s making all these money on the GBP/JPY and missed the signal. 

We know that “The last time I did this, my stop loss was hit so maybe this time I’ll move the stop loss a little bit farther out.” We all have the reasons and the rationale for changing it when what we really need to do is just execute. You’re absolutely right.

Alright, Alex, we will see you at the event and I am so excited to hear more about your mindset. This is something that I know you’ve worked on a lot so you’ve got a lot to share. It is one of those things that I think it is great because it is going to apply for everyone.

Everyone can use these things as now, it is not just for trading. It will bleed into other areas of your life. I found that using some of these techniques helps you not only in your trading but in your relationships.

It helps with your family life and it can help with your kids, as you’ve shared. These things are great. Thank you so much, Alex. I really appreciate it.

Alex: Yeah, absolutely!

Walter: We’ll see you there.

Alex: Thank you.

Trading foreign exchange on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to invest in foreign exchange you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.