Being in the zone



Reading time:

5 minutes

Late last year I got into cryptocurrencies and now I’m a bit obsessed. But that’s another story.

Since getting into crypto I’ve been learning about the markets, what “trading the stock market” means and looks like. I’ve watched wolf of wall street before, everything in it was believable, but now I really get why it’s so thrilling to trade the markets.

It’s commonly said that only 10% (or was it 1? Basically a very small amount) of traders are successful, the rest lose money. So I’ve decided that I want to be a good trader. I’ve been reading books and learning heaps about technical analysis and fundamental analysis.

I’ve been very focused on learning technical analysis, thinking that I need to understand the markets better to improve. However, I keep hearing from professional or good traders that the most important thing about trading is risk management and psychology. That didn’t sound appealing and exciting to me, so I focused on technical analysis first.

Now I’ve picked up the book, Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas, thinking it was gonna teach me more technical analysis strategies. But it’s actually all about the 3rd dimension: Mental Analysis.

Not finished reading yet, but uh, mind blown.

I decided to write this blog post immediately after reading one of the paragraphs about being in the zone. What stuck out to me was that the book said it was easier for beginners to get into the zone if they won their first trade. Before making their first trade, they have no idea of how “scary” the market is. They make a trade, and it’s successful. Now they have even less fear of the market, they make trades with a carefree attitude. They win their second trade. Having this carefree attitude, without fear of making a mistake, is being in the zone. They will keep this attitude until they make their first lost, because it’s impossible to win every time. Now, the novice trader has lost that carefree attitude, and begins to develop of fear of the markets, a fear of making a mistake.

Reading this immediately reminded me of my softball days. When I was in secondary 3 (15 years old), there was period where I was sucking badly. I couldn’t get into the zone when batting. Going up to bat, especially during competitions was scary as hell. I couldn’t get my timing right and kept missing the ball. To the stage where my coach had to say, “when the ball passes this point, swing”. And I got some hits from that advice after.

me at bat
focus on the process. not the outcome. credit: Vera

But that made me think how did I end up like this? To be scared to get up to bat? I’ve been playing softball for 2+ years at that point. And I distinctly remember when I was in secondary 1, just started developing my softball skills, total noob, with some natural talent and ball sense (according to my coach), our seniors were having a friendly match amongst one another while we juniors were training on the side. Then my coach asked if I would like to try batting, like for real: standing at home plate, in the batter’s box, staring down at the pitcher, and hitting her ball.

I was so excited. My first time at bat in a game. I stood in the batter’s box, no fear, just excitement to hit a ball coming towards me quickly at full distance, not the t-ball stand, or a toss up (yawn, lol). I made good contact with the ball, it went to outfield, a bit poppish, but it was exhilarating!

Back to 15 year old me, reminiscing about how when I was a total beginner I had no fear to go up to bat. Why have things changed? Then I thought, when I was a beginner, I didn’t know what fear was. I didn’t know it was actually challenging to hit a pitcher’s ball. I didn’t know that it was thing. As I grew to understand the game more, train more, and experience my first strike out, that’s probably when fear set in. The fear of striking out, the fear of letting the team down, not performing to the best of my abilities. It’s easy to be awesome during training, with no pressure, but it’s hard to replicate the same mindset, and hence result in games. This is why my coach Jo always reminded us to train like we’re competing, and compete like we’re training. And coach Zhang always said, between two teams of same skill level, who both want to win, the team who wins is the one with a stronger mindset.

me batting
did I miss??? credit: Vera

I was excited to blog about this because reading about it from another source showed me that my hypothesis – why I sucked as I trained more (not always) – was probably spot on. Perhaps this is the mechanism behind beginner’s luck – no fear + law of attraction.

Side note:
It’s funny how lessons always recycle themselves. I swear almost everything I’ve been learning about zen buddhism and stoicism always has a link back to what coach Jo and coach Zhang have always tried to drill into our minds since young. Now, even for trading cryptocurrencies, these are core lessons.

Coach wasn’t just teaching techniques, she was constantly teaching about mindset and life lessons. Now when I look back at all the rules she had (that didn’t always make sense but you don’t ever question her methods or else run 10 rounds, or scream to her that you’re sorry from across the field and don’t stop until she’s satisfied), some were really subtle but man I get it now. It’s like re-watching old kids shows as an adult and seeing more and understanding the subtleties and realising that it’s actually a cartoon for adults (too). Maybe I should do a post on her rules one day for fun. Anyway, I’m really blessed and grateful to have such awesome teachers at a young age. And young D didn’t know how to appreciate it then, but I’m sure it was all part of coach’s plan.


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3 responses to “Being in the zone”

  1. CHUIHOON TOH Avatar

    严师出高徒 A strict teacher develops great students. I’m sure your coaches will feel very rewarded and happy to know that their efforts are appreciated and bearing fruits of wisdom.

  2. ageekinjapan Avatar

    Keep writing blogposts! I just discovered your blog and I love it 🙂

    1. Dahlia Foo Avatar

      Hi, thanks for stopping by! It’s much appreciated. And also thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

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